University Health and Safety

University Policy: 07-001 University Health and Safety
Adopted:
Last Revised:
Responsible Executive: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Responsible Office: Environmental Health and Safety
Download the Policy: (PDF)
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1. Policy Statement

1.1. Oregon State University (“university”) is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for faculty, staff, students, visitors, and volunteers. This commitment includes reasonable protections for human health and the environment, mitigating risks of illness or injury, preventing and responding to environmental hazards, preserving university resources and assets, minimizing property losses or damage, and helping to support compliance with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements.

1.2. All members of the university community have a responsibility to help maintain a healthy and safe learning and working environment. This university policy describes the authorities and roles of various units for managing health and safety issues, which includes responsibilities for training, monitoring, prevention, reporting, and accident responses.

1.3. Anyone engaged in university-related activities must exercise personal responsibility and care to prevent injury and illness to themselves and others who may be affected by their acts or omissions. No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with, damage or misuse anything (e.g., safety equipment, tools) that is provided or owned by the university in the interests of health and safety. Individuals are required to have the proper training for the safe operation and use of university facilities, research activities, equipment and supplies, as well as animal handling. Failure to comply with the university safety policies and procedures may result in disciplinary action.

1.4. This university policy supports compliance with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements, including but not limited to those issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Health Authority, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

2. Reason for Policy

2.1. A healthy and safe university environment is fundamental to achieving excellence in teaching, learning, research, and outreach. This university policy seeks to promote the health and safety of the university community and the safe operation of university facilities and activities. It describes occupational health and safety, laboratory and facilities safety, and other areas related to environmental and workplace health and safety.

2.2. This university policy does not cover other areas of health and safety, unless these areas intersect with specific provisions below, including safety of minors; public safety and law enforcement; recreational sports and athletics; suicide prevention and mental health; student health services; or OSU’s efforts to promote a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment free from discrimination and harassment; all of which are overseen by other policies and programs.

3. Scope and Audience

3.1 This university policy applies to all university faculty, staff, students, contractors, visitors, and volunteers operating in an official university capacity or participating in university activities.

4. Definitions

4.1. Health and Safety: For the purposes of this policy, the terms health and safety relate to occupational and environmental health and safety issues. Occupational and environmental health and safety generally entails promoting the physical safety and welfare of employees and preventing and reducing accidents, injuries, emergencies, and health issues in OSU workplaces, along with preventing and reducing any environmental damage that could result from work practices.

5. Responsibilities & Procedures

5.1. General

5.1.1. The university seeks to prevent all workplace injuries and illnesses, environmental hazards, and property losses or damage. While achieving this goal is the responsibility of every member of the university community, the individuals and groups listed in this section have shared responsibility for occupational health and safety.

5.2. OSU’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety (“EH&S”)

5.2.1. EH&S is responsible for overseeing units’ compliance with university policies related to public, occupational, and environmental health and safety at university-owned, -operated, and -controlled sites, and providing a wide range of technical services and leadership. As part of this, EH&S:

a. Conducts health and safety training and provides educational materials, assistance, and training programs for faculty, staff, and student employees;

b. Collects, analyzes, and disseminates data on health and safety at the university and utilizes the data to recommend actions and priorities to university leadership;

c. Develops effective lines of communication for notifications;

d. Conducts monitoring and auditing of health and safety programs;

e. Implements and monitors enforcement of university policies and standards, rules, and procedures through well-publicized compliance guidelines;

f. Responds promptly to detected problems, undertakes corrective action in coordination with relevant campus partners, and escalates matters to senior leadership, as needed and appropriate. In the event of life safety matters, the Director of EH&S or designee has the authority to order the cessation of the activity until the hazardous condition is abated or adequate measures are taken to sufficiently mitigate the risk to the university community and the public;

g. Provides staff support, as necessary, to the committees listed in Section 5.6, and to any other unit requesting technical review; and,

h. Represents the university, in coordination with OGC when necessary, in interactions:

i. Relating to health and safety with external enforcement agencies and other entities in the areas of public health, occupational health, fire safety, and environmental regulations; and,

ii. With local, state, and national agencies and organizations on issues regarding radiation, select agents, food and water, and other public health issues.

5.3. Senior Leadership. The President, Provost, Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts, deans, and directors set a tone and expectations for accountability at the top to create a culture of safety.

5.4. Supervisors and unit-level leadership. Supervisors, including principal investigators, and department chairs are responsible for the safety of work undertaken within their areas, for supporting a culture of health and safety in their units, and for holding their employees accountable for knowing and following health and safety policies. This includes:

5.4.1. Providing oversight of facilities, equipment, and practices to support a safe work and academic environment that complies with applicable federal, state and local laws, and university policies and standards;

5.4.2. Ensuring individuals under their supervision have sufficient authority and support to properly implement health and safety practices, regulations, policies, rules, and procedures;

5.4.3. Maintaining awareness of and following safety plans for all university workplaces, classrooms, laboratories, field work locations, and student life areas;

5.4.4. Ensuring compliance with mandatory health and safety training in their units; and,

5.4.5. Supporting EH&S and units with related responsibilities to monitor adherence to applicable health and safety regulations, policies, rules, and procedures; and,

5.4.6. Establishing priorities and committing resources for the correction of health and safety deficiencies.

5.5. Employees, students, volunteers, and visitors. All faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and visitors are responsible for:

5.5.1. Observing and following health and safety regulations, policies, rules, and procedures;

5.5.2. Participating in mandatory health and safety training, when applicable;

5.5.3. Giving paramount consideration to personal safety and the safety of others at all times while in the work and learning environment, especially when performing assigned tasks; and,

5.5.4. Promptly reporting all safety, health, or environmental hazards, near misses, on-site incidents, and injuries to their supervisor and to the online accident reporting system (see Sec. 6.1).

5.6. Department/Unit Safety Coordinators. Supervisors and department chairs bear full responsibility for the safety of work undertaken in their areas. They are strongly encouraged to appoint a qualified individual as a Safety Coordinator and empower that individual to assist in the day-to-day safety activities within their department or unit. If a safety coordinator is not identified, the Safety Coordinator role will default to the department chair. Safety Coordinators:    

5.6.1. Act as a liaison between their respective department/unit safety advisory committee and EH&S, and campus safety committees when applicable; and,

5.6.2. Disseminate health and safety information to their respective department/unit.

5.7. Safety Committees and Use-Authorization Committees

5.7.1. A number of committees review and make recommendations on general safety matters or within special areas of safety or health concerns related to research or teaching.

a. University Health and Safety Committee. The University Health and Safety Committee is appointed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and administered by EH&S. In accordance with OSHA requirements, the committee serves as the forum for making recommendations to address issues affecting the safety and health of employees. The committee encourages positive safety attitudes and performance among faculty, staff, and students; strives to identify and eliminate hazardous working conditions; and supports and strengthens the mission of EH&S.    

b. Radiation Safety Committee. The Radiation Safety Committee is appointed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and administered by EH&S. The committee is responsible for recommending university policy with respect to radiation safety, establishing rules and procedures needed to implement policies, reviewing the operations of the radiation safety program, and acting as the statutory radiation use review committee required by the State of Oregon radioactive materials license. The committee also serves as the advisory group on laser safety.

c. Chemical Safety Committee. The Chemical Safety Committee is appointed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and administered by EH&S. The committee is responsible for recommending policy, rules, and procedures regarding the use of hazardous chemicals, and reviewing and approving the use of chemical carcinogens and other special hazardous chemicals as required by OSHA or other regulatory agency as applicable.     

d. Institutional Review Board (“IRB”). The IRB is appointed by the Vice President for Research and is administered by the Research Office. This board works with the OSU research community to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects who participate in research, and is responsible for supporting compliance with regulations set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration. 

e. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (“IACUC”). The IACUC is appointed by the Vice President for Research, is administered by the Research Office, and oversees OSU's Animal Care and Use Program, which is established to help ensure the well-being of animals utilized in university activities.

f. Institutional Biosafety Committee (“IBC”). The IBC is appointed by the Vice President for Research and is administered by the Research Office. The committee is responsible for recommending policy and procedures regarding biological safety and is also charged with reviewing research involving recombinant DNA. 

g. Diving Control Board (“DCB”). The DCB is constituted in accordance with the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (“AAUS”) standards and OSHA scientific diving regulations. The Institutional Representative for the DCB is the Associate Vice President for Research Integrity. Per OSHA, the DCB has autonomous control over the university scientific (occupational) diving program including authorization of divers and dive plans, training programs and the maintenance of university and AAUS scientific diving safety standards.

h. Small Boat Advisory Group (“SBAG”). The SBAG is constituted in accordance with Scientific Boating Safety Association (“SBSA”) Boating Safety Program Guidelines. The Institutional Representative for the SBAG is the Associate Vice President for Research Integrity. Per SBSA guidelines, the SBAG has autonomous authority over the university scientific (occupational) small boat safety program including authorization of boaters and boating work plans, training programs, and the maintenance of university and SBSA scientific small boat safety standards, including motorized and non-motorized boating.

i. The OSU-Cascades Safety Committee. This committee is appointed by the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration and administered by the OSU-Cascades Operations Council in accordance EH&S policy. In accordance with OSHA requirements, the committee serves as the forum for making recommendations to address issues affecting the safety and health of employees. The committee encourages positive safety attitudes and performance among faculty, staff, and students; strives to identify and eliminate hazardous working conditions; and supports and strengthens the mission of EH&S as supported locally by OSU-Cascades Facilities and Operations.    

j. OSU-Cascades Lab and DPT Safety Committees. The Lab Safety Committee is appointed by the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration and administered by the OSU-Cascades Operations Council in accordance EH&S policy. The committee is responsible establishing rules and procedures needed to implement policies, reviewing the operations of the lab safety programs.

k. College/Unit/Department Safety Advisory Committees. It is recommended that each unit have its own safety advisory committee to provide local advice and oversight for their employees. These committees often have representatives on various campus safety or specific use-authorization committees and may include a safety coordinator (see Sec. 5.5). 

5.8. Units and Committees with Related Responsibilities

5.8.1. Insurance and Risk Management Services represents the university in interactions with external insurance agencies and carriers relating to workers' compensation and coordinates the university's return to work program.

5.8.2. The Department(s) of Public Safety in Corvallis and Bend coordinate with appropriate emergency service jurisdictions to promote public safety. The department(s) patrol the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses, responds to fire and medical emergencies as well as non-emergencies, and communicates timely and accurate information about campus crimes and safety issues with the university community.

5.8.3. Emergency Preparedness, within the Department of Public Safety, supports and coordinates the university's systems to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters.

5.8.4. The Research Office oversees research applications and research use-authorizations.

5.8.5. The Immediate Response Group advises the President on strategic decisions related to issues of immediate and pressing concern, including student or employee deaths, threats or acts of violence, pandemics and other public health incidents, major power outages, fire or other potential life safety emergencies, significant accidents occurring anywhere on university property, arrests or protests regarding social/civil issues, crimes or similar incidents, and other significant issues or potential controversies that may require a response from university leadership.

6. Forms and Tools

6.1. Online accident and near miss reporting system: https://oregonstate2-gme-advocate.symplicity.com/public_report/index.php/pid641232?

7. Frequently Asked Questions

7.1. None.

8. Related Information

8.1. University Health & Safety Committee: https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/uhsc

8.2. Environmental Health and Safety: https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/

8.3. Office of Research Integrity: https://research.oregonstate.edu/ori

9. History

9.1. Adopted by OSU: July 16, 2021.

9.2. Last review date: July 16, 2021.

9.3. Next scheduled review date: July 2024.

10. Website

10.1. http://policy.oregonstate.edu/UPSM/07-001_health_safety_policy

11. Contacts

Environmental Health and Safety
541-737-2273
https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/

Research Office
541-737-3467
https://research.oregonstate.edu/