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Health and Safety Policy Statement

UConn Health is  committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all activities under the jurisdiction of the University.

The health and safety of all faculty, staff, students and visitors shall be a principle consideration in the planning, operation and conduct of all University activities and programs.  As part of its responsibilities, UConn Health makes safety expertise and services available to all its programs through departments such as Environmental Health and Safety, Police, Facilities Management, and Employee Health Services. Faculty and staff provide oversight of safety and environmental protection activities through committees such as the Institutional Review Board, the Animal Care Committee, Hospital Safety and Disaster Planning Committee, and the Hospital Infection Control Committee. Institutional Safety Policies and Guidelines on special issues outline procedures to be followed by everyone.

The following statements are intended to highlight selected minimum safety principles. All faculty, staff, and students are expected to know and comply with these precepts.

General

  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility and cannot be delegated!
  • All employees are expected to carry out their assignments in a way that prevents injury to themselves and others.
  • Faculty and all employees must set personal examples of safety for their students and other employees. The UConn Health’s Rules of Conduct must be followed.
  • Faculty and staff must be alert to recognizing and resolving potential safety and environmental hazards so that risks for employees, students, volunteers and visitors are identified and reduced or eliminated.
  • Supervisors and employees must establish, follow, and enforce safe practices and procedures.
  • In research, principal investigators have a key role in establishing and enforcing safe practices and procedures.
  • Every individual must know the potential hazards associated with their duties and follow all applicable safety practices and procedures.
  • Disciplinary action up to and including termination may be appropriate for failure to comply with or follow required safety procedures/policies.

Training

  • Mandatory training is a key component of many safety efforts.
  • Management at all levels MUST enforce attendance at appropriate training sessions (Laboratory Safety, Radiation Safety, General Chemical Safety, Universal Precautions, Humane Care and Use of Animals, etc.).
  • Supervisors are responsible for having their employees attend required training.
  • Supervisors/Principal Investigators MUST provide information to their employees and students on the specific hazards associated with their activities and the safety procedures to be followed.

Enforcement

  • Violations of this policy and/or subordinate Health & Safety policies, programs or procedures may result in disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, applicable bargaining agreements and the University Student Conduct Code.

Emergencies

Emergency assistance within UConn Health is summoned by dialing “7777”. Off campus activities would call “911”. Public Safety’s Fire and Police resources will respond to “7777” calls.

Accident/Incident Reporting

  • Employee Health Service will provide for the initial medical management of occupational injuries and illnesses. When Employee Health Service is not open (nights, weekends or holidays) or when the injury may require the resources of the Emergency Department, employees need to report to the Emergency Department.
  • Occupational injuries and illnesses of employees and students must be promptly reported by the employee to both their supervisor and to Human Resources (x4589) regardless of severity. For each employee, Human Resources completes the WC-207 form “Report of Occupational Injury on Disease to An Employee”. Supervisors are responsible for evaluating such reports and taking prompt action.
  • Environmental Health and Safety will review such injury and illness reports, coordinate the incident with the supervisor for their investigation/action, and maintain the Institution’s OSHA log of such incidents.

Hazard Reporting

It is the responsibility of every employee to report unsafe conditions to their supervisor or the supervisor having responsibility for the area. Unsafe conditions not promptly corrected will be reported in writing using the attached form which must also be sent to the appropriate supervisor and Environmental Health and Safety (MC 1514).

Oversight

All activities are encouraged to have their own programs that further emphasize safety and assist in ensuring a safe environment, regulatory compliance, accreditation, etc.  During each employee’s performance evaluation the supervisor needs to consider the individual’s adherence to prescribed safety responsibilities.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

EHS is charged with implementing all University health and safety policies and procedures* in the Biological, Chemical and Radiation health and safety fields. EHS has been authorized by, and is accountable to the University President, Hospital Chief Executive Officer and Senior University Management to identify, assess and enforce this Health and Safety policy and subordinate health and safety regulations, policies and procedures.

EHS is responsible for maintaining a comprehensive program that combines training, consultation, control, and inspection to protect the health and safety of all personnel in the course of University sanctioned activities.  EHS staff provides professional services to measure and evaluate hazards to which the University community may be exposed and ensure compliance with regulations and University policies.  EHS’s responsibilities include:

  • Ensure that all written policies, procedures, and training materials for applicable health and safety regulatory standards are established, current, and available for delivery to appropriate campus groups;
  • Maintain an up-to-date webpage to enhance access to health and safety policies, procedures, technical guidance documents, and compliance assistance information;
  • Facilitate health and safety communications with the University community, and stress the importance of campus wide adherence to appropriate regulations, standards and policies;
  • Provide inspection services to laboratory settings to enhance campus health and safety; and facilitate timely correction  of identified non-compliances through escalating notification and enforcement;
  • Promote EHS’s role as an environmental, health and safety information resource ready to meet the needs of the campus community; and
  • Take appropriate measures (including Stop Work Authority for imminent hazard situations) to maintain acceptable margins of safety and regulatory compliance over all University operations.

Special Topics

  • UConn Health’s Policy for the Control of Employee Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens (OEBP) and Exposure Control Plan prescribes safety procedures that must be followed to reduce the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Guidelines for the Conduct of Activities with Biohazardous Materials at UConn Health are also applicable, especially to laboratory activities.
  • Research involving recombinant DNA molecules must follow the guidelines of the National Institutes of Health referenced below.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are used by manufacturers to provide health and safety information on chemicals and commercial products. SDSs are available to faculty, staff, and students through the Environmental Health and Safety homepage. Questions on SDSs and their interpretation should be referred to supervisors, PIs, and/or Environmental Health and Safety.
  • As a Connecticut State Agency, the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Regulations apply. These regulations are enforced by the CT Department of Labor, CT OSHA. Employees must comply with these regulations. For example:
    • Appropriate equipment guards must be used and maintained.
    • Work with chemicals, as appropriate, may require goggles or goggles and a face shield, gloves and/or an apron. Such protective equipment is available for purchase from the warehouse and will then be provided to the employee at no cost.
    • Employees using respirators for chemical protection must have it selected and fit tested by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). The EHS will also provide the required training and Employee Health Service will provide the required medical certification.
    • Potentially hazardous materials including compressed gases, flammable liquids, chemical reagents, infectious materials will be received and delivered by personnel trained in the potential hazard and appropriate emergency response.
    • Users of potentially hazardous materials will understand the potential hazards and ensure proper storage and labeling. Consistent with operational requirements, users are expected to minimize quantities kept in their area. Materials stored will be kept so as to prevent the contact of incompatibles and protected from breakage that could result from improper storage on unstable or overcrowded shelves.
    • Individuals will comply with established policies for the disposal of their hazardous materials (radioactive materials, chemicals, and regulated medical wastes).

Regulatory Inspections

  • Safety surveys or inspections by outside activities including regulatory agencies will be brought promptly to the attention of the offices indicated below to ensure proper coordination:
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Radiation Safety Office (RSO) Environmental Protection Agency – Environmental Health and Safety
  • OSHA – Research Safety Office, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – Environmental Health and Safety
  • CT Department of Public Safety or CT Fire Marshal’s Officials – Public Safety Office and Facilities Management
  • Building Code or Insurance Carriers – Facilities Management and Public Safety

Established Health Center Safety Policies and Guidelines Include

  • UConn Health Hazard Communication Rule Compliance Policy
  • UConn Health Chemical Hygiene Plan for Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in the Laboratory
  • Guideline for the Conduct of Activities with Biohazardous Materials at UConn Health supplemented by Working Safely with HIV in the Research Laboratory (NIH)
  • Policy for the Control of Employee Occupational Exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens (OEBP) and Exposure Control Plan
  • Regulated Medical Waste Disposal Policy
  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules
  • Chemical and Laboratory Safety Training Policy
  • Guidelines for the Disposal of Chemical Waste
  • Standards for the Handling of Compressed Gases in Cylinders
  • Guidelines for the Laboratory Use of Carcinogens
  • Chemical Hood Policy
  • Policy and Procedures, Permit Required Confined Spaces
  • Policy for the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
  • Information and UConn Health Policies Governing the use of Controlled Substances in Laboratories
  • Small Children and Babies in the Workplace
  • Smoking Policy
  • Rules of Conduct

Focused Subject Matter Safety Committees

A number of safety committees reporting to the Associate Vice President for Research Integrity and Regulatory Affairs under the Vice President for Research have been established that address aspects of health and safety specific to research activities or focused subject matter.   These committees serve as advisory boards and research protocol review boards working in partnership with EHS to fulfill University goals.

Environment of Care Safety Committee

Health & Safety Committee – Union

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Institutional Biosafety Committee

Institutional Review Board

Laser Safety Committee

Radiation Safety Committee

Workers Compensation Health & Safety Committee

 

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