University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders


Executive Order


No. 55



University Health and Safety Programs: Policy and Responsibilities



1. Policy
  The University of Washington is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for faculty, staff, students, visitors, and volunteers in all sites owned, operated, or controlled by the University. This commitment includes supporting a culture of health and safety across the University.

2. Responsibilities
A. All University faculty, staff, students, and volunteers are responsible for:
  • Observing and following health and safety regulations, policies, and procedures;

  • Participating in mandatory health and safety training;

  • Promptly reporting to their supervisors all safety and health hazards or violations and on-site incidents, injuries, and environmental illnesses; and

  • Giving due consideration to personal safety and the safety of others while performing assigned tasks.
B. The University President has the ultimate responsibility for health and safety programs for the University. Under the authority delegated by the President, the Provost, the vice presidents and vice provosts, chancellors, deans, directors, chairs and unit supervisors, including faculty supervising academic activities, are responsible for:
  • Reinforcing the importance of health and safety and creating a culture of health and safety in their units;

  • Providing oversight of facilities, equipment, and practices to support a safe work and academic environment;

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

  • Being aware of and following safety plans for all University workplaces, classrooms, laboratories, field work locations, and student life areas;

  • Assuring compliance with mandatory health and safety training in their units;

  • Acting in support of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and units with related responsibilities (see Sections 5 and 6 below) to monitor adherence to applicable health and safety regulations, policies, and procedures; and

  • Establishing priorities and committing resources for correction of health and safety deficiencies.
3. Health and Safety Committees
  University Health and Safety Committees are established to fulfill responsibilities imposed by WAC 296–800–140 (pertaining to accident prevention programs) and WAC 296–800–130 (pertaining to health and safety committees) and University policies to:
  • Review reports of accidents, illnesses, and injuries and determine appropriate mitigation;

  • Work proactively with representative units to ensure health and safety plans are current and mitigate risks; and

  • Bring health and safety issues to the University Wide Health & Safety Committee to advise the EH&S Director regarding health and safety issues (see also Administrative Policy Statement 10.11).
4. Environmental Health and Safety Advisory Board
  The Environmental Health and Safety Advisory Board is appointed by the President to advise the President and the Provost on the implementation of the policy set forth in this order, to recommend such changes as the Board deems desirable, and to serve as a resource and guide to EH&S, the University Health and Safety Committees, and the other units with related responsibilities. As part of these duties, the Board:
  • Reviews University data relevant to environmental health and safety;

  • Identifies and recommends institutional environmental health and safety goals;

  • Advocates for a healthy and safe University environment; and

  • Identifies areas to best integrate and coordinate University functions and efforts that promote health and safety.
5. Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
  EH&S has responsibility for implementation of all University policies related to public, occupational, and environmental health and safety at University-owned, -operated, and -controlled sites, providing a wide range of technical services and leadership. As part of this, EH&S:
  • Assists in the formulation and implementation of written health and safety policies at the University;

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

  • Collects, analyzes, and disseminates appropriate data on health and safety at the University and utilizes these data in recommending priorities and taking actions to promote environmental health and safety;

  • Develops effective lines of communication for notifications;

  • Conducts monitoring and auditing of health and safety programs;

  • Enforces standards through well-publicized compliance guidelines;

  • Responds promptly to detected problems and undertakes corrective action with relevant campus partners. This includes the authority to order immediate cessation of activities that present significant or immediate danger to life, health, or safety;

  • Provides staff support to Health and Safety Committees, the EH&S Advisory Board, and any other unit requesting technical review;

  • Represents the University in interactions 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

  • Serves as a University representative to local, state, and national agencies and organizations on issues regarding radiation, select agents, food and water, and other public health issues.
6. Units and Committees with Related Responsibilities
  A. The Office of Risk Management represents the University in interactions with external agencies and providers relating to workers' compensation and coordinates the University's return to work program.

  B. The UW Police Department enforces criminal and traffic safety laws in order to protect all members of the University community.

  C. The Office of Emergency Management supports and coordinates the University's systems to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters.

  D. Human Resources oversees personnel practices, including providing central support for violence prevention programs.

  E. The Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) identifies long-term goals and standards and monitors University progress toward environmental sustainability goals.

  F. The President's Advisory Committee on Enterprise Risk Management (PACERM) includes members of the executive leadership of the University who prioritize the risk areas for in-depth assessment, discuss key emerging risks, and report to the President annually on the institution's risk map and recommended mitigations.

  G. The Compliance-Operations-Financial Council (COFi) brings together campus experts to identify compliance and risk issues, ensures good information is available to the University community, and recommends ways for interested parties to report problems.

March 30, 1977; March 1981; April 1994; March 8, 2013.


For related information, see:

  • Administrative Policy Statements Section 10, "Environment, Health, Safety and Security"