University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Environmental Health and Safety Services

(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1)

1.  The Environmental Health and Safety Department Mission

The mission of the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is to assure that adequate health and safety programs exist for the protection of all individuals associated with the University of Washington. EH&S works in cooperation with University departments to achieve this goal. Broad categories of concern include:

  • Accident prevention
  • Industrial hygiene and worksite safety
  • Occupational health
  • Fire protection and safety
  • Sanitation
  • Radiation safety
  • Biological safety
  • Chemical safety
  • Hazardous materials disposal

2.  Description of Services Available

A.   Services for Safe Working Conditions, Procedures, and Facilities

1) Health and Safety in the Workplace—Provide advice and interpretation pertaining to the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) requirements. Conduct worksite safety and health inspections, recommend corrective action, and investigate accidents.

2) Accident Reporting—Collect and compile accident and incident reporting data to assist in the identification of accident trends, initiate accident investigations, and ensure the correction of unsafe practices and conditions.

3) Protective Clothing and Equipment—Recommend proper safety clothing and equipment and interpret regulations governing the use of personal protective equipment and clothing to meet safety, health, and regulatory requirements.

4) Diving Safety—Coordinate compliance with the UW Diving Safety Policy. Authorize individuals to dive and audit their procedures and practices to ensure they conform to the standards and limitations established by the Diving Control Committee. No person may dive under University auspices without being certified as qualified to do so by the UW Diving Safety Officer. Detailed policies and procedures are contained in the Diving Safety Manual, which can be obtained by calling 206-543-0465.

5) Pressure Systems Safety—Provide information on safety requirements for pressure vessels and systems. Evaluate proposed installations for compliance with standards and codes. Review safe practices for use, handling, and storage of compressed gas cylinders.

6) Chemical Safety—Provide advice, support, and resources to departments for management of hazardous chemicals, including hazard communication program support, maintenance of a comprehensive Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) collection, and chemical inventory coordination and reporting. Administer the Laboratory Safety Standard relating to occupational exposures to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. More information on chemical safety in laboratories an be found in the Laboratory Safety Manual in most laboratories.

7) Industrial Hygiene—Provide information and monitoring on safe use and control of hazardous chemicals, metals, gases, etc., such as mercury, pesticides, epoxies, silver solder, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, formaldehyde, and methane gas. Provide advice on corrective measures, if indicated. Evaluate work environments to reduce exposure of personnel to toxic and nuisance substances as defined by occupational health standards. Respond to indoor air quality complaints and work with the Physical Plant Department to correct ventilation problems.

8) Fire Safety—Provide information and advice on storage of flammable materials and conduct fire investigations and fire safety inspections. Provide fire protection engineering services for campus construction and renovation activities. (Note: The Physical Plant Department, 206-685-1411, provides maintenance of fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinklers.)

9) Biohazard Control—Provide consultation on the classification, use, and control of disease causing organisms (biohazards). Administer the bloodborne pathogen exposure control program. Authorize use of recombinant DNA materials through the University's Recombinant DNA Committee. Detailed information and policies are contained in the Biohazard Safety Manual, which can be obtained by calling EH&S, 206-543-9510.

10) Radioactive Materials License Administration—Monitor all uses of radioactive materials at the University for compliance with applicable codes and regulations. Coordinate monitoring and record keeping requirements of state and federal regulations. Audit the procedures and practices of individual investigators to ensure they conform to standards and limitations established by the University Radiation Safety Committee. For more information refer to the Radiation Safety Manual.

11) Radioactive Material Shipments—Receive, inspect, and deliver all shipments of radioactive materials to the University. Monitor shipping of all radioactive materials from the University (for more information see the Radiation Safety Manual).

12) Building Construction and Renovation Plan Review—Review design drawings to ensure that safety and health requirements are met.

B.  Services for a Healthful and Safe Environment at the University and in the Surrounding Community

1) Pollution Control—Establish and provide information about guidelines for responding to a pollution incident and for compliance with pollution control requirements.

2) Public Events—Provide advice and interpretation of rules pertaining to public health, sanitation, and life safety requirements for public events on campus.

3) Pest Control—Evaluate problems; advise and maintain surveillance over activity of the University-contracted exterminator.

4) Hazardous Waste Handling and Disposal—Provide information and advice on the packaging, collection, and disposal of hazardous wastes, including chemical, biohazardous, radioactive, and hospital wastes. Provide collection and disposal service for hazardous chemical and radioactive wastes.

C.  Services for the Health and Safety of Individual Employees, Students, and Visitors

1) Food Service Sanitation—Assist University Food Services in complying with Washington State Board of Health regulations. Inspect food service areas. Certify food service workers. Provide information on safe methods and requirements for sale and distribution of food on campus.

2) Occupational Health—Provide physical examinations, vaccinations, and medical surveillance for employees whose occupations involve health hazards. Evaluate effects on individuals of hazards in the workplace.

3) Radiation Personnel Services—Provide bioassay services to detect and control internal exposure to radiation (e.g., exposure by breathing in or swallowing contaminated material). Provide dosimetry services to detect and control external exposure to radiation (e.g., skin exposed to contaminated material). Assist in the development of techniques for reducing exposure of personnel to radiation.

4) Hospital Health Physics—Test hospital diagnostic x-ray machines for accuracy and reliability. Investigate hospital personnel radiation exposures. Develop techniques to reduce patient radiation exposure.

5) Employee Training—Provide training for University employees in the following areas:
  • Health and safety in the workplace
  • First aid and CPR
  • Back protection
  • Fire safety and extinguisher training
  • Biohazard and bloodborne pathogen exposure control
  • Chemical safety in the laboratory
  • Hazard communication
  • Food service sanitation and hygiene
  • Hazardous waste disposal

May 1994.