Policy Information

Date Established: 4/3/2001
Date Last Updated: 4/28/2016
Category: Environment, Health and Safety
Responsible Office: Environment, Health & Safety
Responsible Executive: Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Commitment to Health and Safety in the Working and Learning Environment Policy

Summary

The University at Buffalo seeks to provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment in which members of the university community can achieve their educational, research, outreach, service, and employment goals.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to maintaining a safe, secure, and healthy living, learning, and working environment for all its constituents. Faculty, staff, students, and other members of the university community must conduct university operations in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, as well as university health and safety policies and standards.

Background

This policy affirms the UB commitment to safety and environmental stewardship and outlines safety responsibilities and training requirements to ensure individual and institutional compliance with relevant environmental health and safety laws, regulations, policies, and procedures.

At the university, safety is everyone’s responsibility. All members of the university community should be thoroughly familiar with their safety responsibilities, strive to follow safety practices, act proactively to prevent accidents and injuries, communicate hazards to supervisors, and be prepared for emergencies that may occur in the workplace.

Applicability

This policy applies to all members of the university community including but not limited to faculty, staff, students, volunteers, trainees, supplemental staff employed through contract agencies or outside trade unions, vendors, guests, and visitors.

Definitions

Biohazardous Agent

A microorganism (e.g., bacteria, virus, fungi) capable of causing illness or disease.

Chemical Hazards

An element, compound, or mixture that poses a potential health threat to humans or the environment (e.g., poison, carcinogen, mutagen, asphyxiate, sensitizer, oxidizer, corrosive, explosive, flammable).

Engineering Controls

Controls applied to reduce or manage a hazard including process change, isolation, ventilation, and source modifications.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  

Equipment worn by an individual (e.g., gloves, safety glasses, respirators) that is designed to provide protection from a hazard.  

Radiation  

Energy propagated over distance in the form of electromagnetic waves or by the emission of subatomic particles.

Responsibility

Deans, Directors, Department Heads

  • Ensure departments and units maintain effective programs to meet safety obligations.
  • Review health and safety programs as they relate to departmental activities, including but not limited to, biohazardous agents, chemical hazards, radiation safety, and fire and life safety.
  • Oversee the provision of appropriate safety equipment, adequately designed workspace that provides a safe working environment, and personal protective equipment to allow employees to perform their work safely.
  • Direct individuals, including but not limited to principal investigators, supervisors, regular and temporary employees, visiting professors, and students to obtain required safety training before they work with hazardous chemicals, biohazardous agents, radiation, or physical/mechanical hazards in their working or learning environments.
  • Designate a departmental safety coordinator or departmental safety committee to carry out the departmental health and safety responsibilities.

Principal Investigators and Supervisors

  • Provide a healthy and safe work environment for supervised individuals.
  • Manage facilities and/or laboratories to ensure that activities have minimal impact on the environment and the health and safety of the public.
  • Annually review the Principal Investigator General Responsibilities Related to EH&S checklist.
  • Inform new employees and students about their specific responsibilities related to environmental safety and health procedures, rules, and regulations.
  • Ensure that individuals receive required safety training as defined by their responsibilities.
  • Ensure that required equipment and personal protective devices are provided, maintained, and properly used.
  • Take prompt action when unsafe acts or conditions are reported or observed.
  • Investigate and report all on-the-job accidents, and/or work related health problems promptly; request medical treatment when required.
  • Coordinate or conduct internal inspections, reviews, or audits to ensure safe conditions and compliance with applicable safety and environmental regulations.
  • Provide, acquire, or request resources for necessary health and safety equipment, materials, and facilities.
  • Ensure that employees receive special medical evaluations or biological monitoring when required for their job (e.g., vaccinations, respirator user medical examinations, medical surveillance required by certain regulations).
  • Ensure the authorized and legal receipt, transfer and/or disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Ensure that hazardous materials are properly secured against theft.
  • Be familiar with the UB All Hazard Emergency Plan.
  • Assist and cooperate with EH&S activities.

All Employees

  • Comply with health, safety and environmental standards, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and orders.
  • Report hazardous conditions to their supervisor, EH&S, and/or University Police as appropriate.
  • Wear required personal protective equipment and utilize established engineering controls.
  • Report job-related injuries or illnesses to the supervisor and seek prompt and appropriate medical treatment.
  • Refrain from operating equipment or apparatus, or conducting any procedure, without proper training and authorization or while physically or cognitively unable to do so safely.
  • Use, transfer, and secure hazardous materials appropriately.
  • Require visitors who receive permission to access university facilities to become familiar with and abide by this policy.

Students

  • Comply with health, safety and environmental standards, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and orders.
  • Report hazardous conditions to their supervisor, principal investigator, instructor, EH&S, and/or University Police as appropriate.
  • Wear required personal protective equipment and utilize established engineering controls.
  • Report injuries or illnesses that occur as a result of their university activities to their supervisor, principal investigator, instructor, and/or University Police; seek prompt and appropriate medical treatment.
  • Refrain from operating equipment or apparatus, or conducting any procedure, without proper training and authorization or while physically or cognitively unable to do so safely.
  • Use, transfer, and secure hazardous materials appropriately.

Environment, Health & Safety Services (EH&S)

  • Support and assist all UB individuals with meeting their safety responsibilities.
  • Advise the president, provost, vice presidents, and deans on levels of compliance and risks related to EH&S matters.
  • Develop environment, health and safety standards and policies.
  • Ensure that campus operations are conducted in accordance with recognized standards and best practices (e.g., standards promulgated by the National Fire Protection Association, American National Standards Institute, National Institute for Occupational Safety).
  • Provide guidance and technical advice to the university community in all areas of environmental compliance, safety, and health.
  • Assist in the identification and assessment of actual or potential health and safety hazards; identify applicable regulations, standards, or similar requirements. Inspect campus operations and facilities, student activities, and special events to identify problems, provide code interpretations, and consult with departments to assist in correcting problems. Inspections may be conducted routinely, at the request of a member of the university community, or in response to accidents or other known problems.
  • Intervene to control, reduce, or eliminate any condition or activity that poses a direct or immediate safety threat or illegal discharge to the air, ground, or water. University Police may assist EH&S in meeting this responsibility. Long term resolution or correction of problems is the responsibility of the appropriate dean, director, or department head.
  • Perform routine as well as special health and risk appraisals or investigations when necessary or requested.
  • Assist departmental safety committees in the development of intra-departmental safety programs and participate in health and safety training and education projects.
  • Assist the university community in providing appropriate and necessary health and safety training to staff and students including direct training, train-the-trainer support, and the development of customized or special training programs.
  • Maintain reference materials in support of health and safety training.
  • Review and remain current with applicable safety rules and regulations from federal, state, and local agencies affecting campus operations; assist in the technical interpretation and implementation of these rules and regulations.

University Police

  • Investigate safety issues involving personal safety and security.
  • Respond to any reports of hazards that present an immediate and imminent threat.

Contact Information

Environment, Health & Safety Services
220 Winspear Avenue
Buffalo, NY  14215
Phone: 716-829-3301
Fax:  716-829-2704
Email: EHS@facilities.buffalo.edu

Related Information

Procedures

  • Immediately report to University Police, hazards that present an imminent threat for appropriate emergency action.
  • Report a potentially hazardous condition, occupational health issue, environmental release, or potential violation of a health and safety standard to the appropriate supervisory authority or directly to EH&S in a timely manner.
  • Contact EH&S for any condition that cannot be addressed with internal departmental resources or if there are questions and concerns about safety risk or compliance. EH&S will evaluate the urgency and gravity and prioritize a response. EH&S will investigate suspected safety or health reports and may recommend corrective action. 
Mandatory Committes
Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Review protocols for use of biohazardous materials pursuant to National Institute of Health guidelines
Labor Management Health and Safety Committee Forum for discussion of health and safety issues between labor and management representatives pursuant to bargaining unit agreements
Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) Oversee and review all users and protocols for use of radioactivity in campus labs (exclusive of the Biomedical Research Center (BMRC)) pursuant to DOH and DEC licenses
Mandatory Related Committees
Emergency Oversight Committee Required by SUNY to review and implement the All Hazard Emergency Plan; perform risk assessments, and reduce risks where possible
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Provide oversight of safe and humane use of animals in research
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Provide oversight of human subjects research
Personal Safety Committee SUNY Chancellor mandate to review and remediate issues of personal safety
Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Taskforce Oversee the appropriate use and training of Automatic External Defibrillator devices on UB campus
Non-Mandatory Committees
Building Emergency Planning Committees Develop building fire prevention and evacuation plans
Department of Chemistry Safety Committee/Inspection Promote lab safety in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards
Facilities Indoor Air Quality Committee Coordinate the investigation and remediation of indoor air quality concerns
Facilities Safety Committee Coordinate the investigation and remediation of indoor air quality concerns
School of Engineering Safety Committee/Inspection Program Promote lab safety in accordance with OSHA and EPA standards
Service Providers Committee Plan for safety and security at campus special events

University Documents

History

April 2016
Full review. Revised responsibilities and committees.

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

4/28/2016

Date