(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1)
The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), Chapter 49.17 RCW, requires all state employers to maintain work practices and work environments which do not endanger the health or safety of employees. Accident prevention and occupational health and safety training programs are also required by the act. To enforce the act, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) issues standards, inspects work areas, and may issue citations and levy fines if the standards are not met. The policy of the University is to achieve compliance with state standards by instituting occupational safety and health programs in all departments and service units. In addition, employees are required to cooperate by using safe work habits so that accidents and job-related illnesses are prevented. Employee rights and responsibilities under WISHA are outlined in WISHA posters which, by law, are located on a number of bulletin boards on campus.
WISHA requires that management establish, supervise, and effectively enforce the following practices:
For the purposes of compliance with WISHA standards and to provide a safe and healthful working environment for employees, the University has assigned responsibility for occupational health and safety as follows:
and DeansThese individuals are responsible
for directing all units within their respective areas
to establish and administer occupational safety and
health programs. Assistance in the grouping of work
areas into organizational units for the purpose of
establishing safety programs is provided by the Environmental
Health and Safety Department (EH&S).
Directors, Chairs, and SupervisorsEach
of these individuals is responsible for safety
performance in their respective units (as referenced
in the Executive Order No. 55).
HeadsThese individuals are advised to designate
one person, plus an alternate, to act as a department
coordinator for health and safety. This individual
is to be responsible for implementing department safety
and health programs and for acting as liaison between
the department and EH&S.
|4)||Assistant Vice President for Facilities ServicesUnder the authority of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities, this individual is responsible for ensuring that structures, associated utilities, and grounds meet applicable standards.|
University safety policy states that faculty and staff are responsible for using required safety equipment, for following safe work practices, and for the safety of other employees and students under their supervision.
WISHA standards require that employees:
EH&S assists departments in identifying safety hazards, developing occupational safety and health programs, reporting fatalities and multiple injuries to L&I, conducting safety inspections and accident investigations, and correcting conditions of noncompliance. It also advises employee groups as to their responsibilities and rights under WISHA. EH&S has been designated as the University's representative in dealing with L&I on matters concerning the act. Questions concerning the act or its implementation should be directed to EH&S, 206-543-7262. See Administrative Policy Statement 10.1, for a description of EH&S services.
All of the University's organizational units are required to plan and implement occupational safety and health programs to ensure that facilities, equipment and supplies, management practices, and operational procedures meet applicable safety and health standards. Note: Department or unit safety and health programs must be documented in a written safety and health plan. Assistance in developing these programs and copies of the state and other occupational safety and health standards can be provided by EH&S. At a minimum, programs should include the following:
Accident investigations must be conducted following accidents that cause serious injuries and have immediate symptoms. For serious accidents, investigation must be conducted by EH&S and include the immediate supervisor of the injured employee, witnesses, an employee representative, and any other person with the special expertise required to evaluate the facts relating to the cause of the accident. The findings of the investigation shall be documented by EH&S. Less serious accidents do not require EH&S's involvement in the investigation, but all accidents must be investigated by the supervisor of the employee(s) involved and findings and corrective action reported on the appropriate University incident/accident report form (see Section 4 of this policy statement).
Hazard identification is critical to establishing effective employee safety and health programs. Employing departments and supervisors must be aware of and identify the potential hazards in work areas under their control. If employees have the potential to be exposed to workplace hazards, specific programs must be in place. EH&S can assist departments in identifying hazards and implementing the appropriate health and safety programs. Following is a list of occupational safety and health concerns which are regulated by WISHA; however, the list is not necessarily conclusive. Any workplace hazard must be identified and corrected, whether a specific regulation exists or not.
compressed gas equipment
hazardous materials incidents
storage, including cranes,
(illumination, ionizing &
floors & wall openings,
WISHA regulations covering these hazards require a variety of protective measures such as specific safety procedures, equipment, and training; medical surveillance; engineering controls; etc. EH&S can provide information needed to comply with these regulations.
To determine whether work areas meet the General Safety and Health Standards and Occupational Health Standards (Chapters 296-24 and 296-62 WAC) established by L&I, departments must conduct regular, thorough inspections to evaluate work conditions and work practices. These inspections should be held at regular intervals to insure continuing compliance with standards; contact EH&S, 206-543-7388, for assistance.
Not in Compliance With WISHAConditions
identified as being out of compliance with
WISHA should receive immediate corrective
action. EH&S will advise departments on ways
to correct specific conditions. Further consultation
with L&I is available to departments needing
assistance in solving specific problems. State
consultants do not issue citations as state
inspectors do when areas are below standards,
but rather advise and recommend corrective
actions. Requests for these services should
be made through EH&S. The L&I representative
will be received by EH&S, and the consultation
will be conducted jointly with an EH&S representative.
|2)||Correction of Noncomplying ConditionsIf a department is unable to correct a condition which is out of compliance due to budget or personnel limitations, the department must submit a report to the appropriate vice president or dean for resolution. The report should include the recommended corrective action and an estimate of the resources needed to implement it.|
Safety orientation is required for all employees. This requirement is met in part by the University's New Employee Orientation Program and in part by the employing department.
Employee Orientation ProgramThe
New Employee Orientation Program covers the
DepartmentThe employing department
provides the following information:
Note: Temporary and hourly employees do not attend the University's New Employee Orientation Program, so employing departments must provide comprehensive safety orientation within the department at the time of their initial assignment; call EH&S, 206-543-7201, for a New Employee Safety Orientation checklist.
To ensure an effective program, employees must be trained in safe work practices. Supervisors are responsible for seeing that these practices are followed. EH&S will assist departments in implementing safety training and education programs upon request.
New EmployeesNew employees should
be thoroughly trained in safe operation of
equipment, and in safe procedures for performing
all duties included in their job assignments
before being permitted to perform on their
Education MeetingsSafety education
meetings should be held periodically in each
organizational unit to reinstruct employees
in safe work practices and to inform employees
of new developments relating to safe operations.
TrainingSpecific training is required
for certain occupations and occupational exposures.
Contact EH&S Training, 206-543-7201,
for assistance in determining employee safety
In certain workplaces it is a requirement that personnel trained in first aid be present. For example, shops, dispersed work crews, and field trips must have first-aid certified employees present during each shift. EH&S will interpret first-aid requirements for organizational units, and can provide qualifying first-aid training upon request.
As specified by WISHA, first-aid kits must be readily accessible and procedures in place to assure that first-aid kit contents are maintained in a serviceable condition; contact EH&S, 206-543-7388, for first-aid kit content requirements.
The University of Washington has implemented an occupational Health and Safety Committee Plan to comply with WISHA regulations and to provide a forum for employee participation in assessing and enhancing workplace health and safety at the University. University health and safety committees are structured along organizational lines and report to the head of the organizational unit. A University-wide health and safety committee, composed of members of the organizational unit committees, provides campuswide consistency and oversight and reports to the director of EH&S. See Administrative Policy Statement 10.11, for a description of the University's Health and Safety Committee Plan.
Each University unit or department must have a bulletin board for posting safety notices and safety educational material. The board must be in a location accessible to all employees (hallway, lunchroom, photocopy room, etc.) and at a minimum must display the posters required by L&I and the University Hazard Communication poster; call EH&S, 206-543-7201, to obtain copies of the required posters.
State standards require designated organizational units to maintain records of all safety activities covering the previous twelve months. These records must be made available to L&I noncompliance personnel at their request. Department records should include:
Every accident, injury, or occupational illness that requires first aid or medical treatment, or that results in time loss must be reported within 24 hours, as follows:
Records of all occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses are maintained on the Medical Centers Information Systems.
The University's Office of Risk Management maintains a log of all reported occupational injuries and illnesses that result in time loss or medical treatment beyond first aid (Workers' Compensation claims) and prepares an annual summary to meet the requirements of L&I. Copies of this summary are also posted in a number of work areas on campus. For more information on Workers' Compensation claims and benefits, contact the Office of Risk Management, 206-543-0183.
Accidents or health hazards resulting in the death, probable death, or hospitalization of an employee or student must be reported immediately to EH&S.
EH&S reports immediately to L&I each accident or health hazard that results in the death of one or more persons, or hospitalization of two or more persons.
All employees are instructed to report to their supervisors, to EH&S, or to the appropriate sector or departmental health and safety committee representative any conditions that they feel are unsafe or unhealthful in their work areas. Unsafe conditions or practices requiring immediate correction must be reported to supervisors. Prompt consideration and replies must be given to employee concerns.
A temporary or permanent variance from a standard may be requested by any organizational unit. Variances must provide safeguards for employees that are equivalent to or greater than those specified in the state regulations. Requests should be directed to EH&S for a determination of technical validity. A request that appears technically valid will be forwarded to the Attorney General's Division for a determination of whether a legal basis for the request exists. EH&S will assist the Attorney General's Division in developing any such variance applications that are produced. Affected employees must be informed of any variance application submitted, and of their right to apply for a hearing on the application.
To enforce state standards L&I conducts compliance inspections, either unscheduled or in response to employee complaints. Advance notice of these inspections is prohibited by law. Compliance inspectors will contact EH&S to identify those activities to be inspected and to obtain an escort. The University departments involved will be notified by EH&S. If an L&I inspector arrives to inspect a department without an EH&S representative, the department should contact EH&S, 206-543-7262, immediately and advise the inspector to await the arrival of the EH&S representative.
The following persons may accompany an L&I inspector throughout an inspection and during the entrance and exit briefings:
L&I issues citations for noncompliance conditions found during inspections. Citations and fines are received by EH&S and forwarded to the responsible University department. Citations must be posted at the location where a violation was noted.
Normally, a citation will specify an abatement period within which the violation must be corrected, and may assess a fine of up to $70,000 for willful or repeat violations. If the violation is not corrected in the specified period, additional fines of up to $7,000 per day may be assessed for as long as the violation continues. In the event of an extreme health or safety hazard, an operation or facility can be shut down immediately.
EH&S will advise departments on ways to correct noncomplying conditions cited by L&I. If a department is unable to correct a condition which is out of compliance due to budget or personnel limitations, a report should be submitted to the appropriate vice president or dean for resolution. The report should include the recommended corrective action and an estimate of the resources needed to implement it.
Responses to L&I by the cited University department must be submitted in accordance with instructions provided by EH&S.
Expenses that result from citations and fines are allocated to University departments by the appropriate dean or vice president, except when such expenses are directly related to a deficiency in a capital facility. Deficiencies in capital facilities will be referred to either Facilities Services or the Capital Projects Office for correction.
A cited University department may request an appeal of a citation. EH&S determines the technical appropriateness of appealing a citation and assists the Attorney General's Division in developing the appeal if it is determined that a valid legal basis exists. Notifications of hearings on appeals will be received and processed by EH&S. Employees may also appeal citations directly to L&I.
If an appeal is submitted, employees must be informed and provided the opportunity to participate in the hearings.
October 1998; RC, January 27, 2014.