Workplace Safety & Health

Working in a safe and healthful environment can stimulate innovation and creativity and result in increased performance and higher productivity in the workplace.

The University of North Carolina - Asheville has adopted OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines (Federal Register 54(16): 3904-3916, January 26, 1989). These apply to all employees and workplaces under UNCA ownership or lease.

The four elements listed below are key to a successful workplace safety and health program.

  • Management leadership and employee involvement,
  • Worksite analysis,
  • Hazard prevention and control, and
  • Safety and health training.

The first element incorporates University management policies, leadership committment, and employee involvement. The second element is about analyzing and identifying workplace safety and health hazards. The third element is about hazard prevention and control while the fourth element deals with safety and health training and education for employees. 

Having a safe and healthful working environment involves all employees. It is pivotal to have dedication on all levels of employment in order for the University's safety and health program to work. A good safety and health program comes with many advantages which include, but are not limited to:

Benefits:

  • Protects the employees’ well-being
  • Reduces the amount of money paid out which include:
    • Health insurance benefits
    • Workers’ compensation benefits
    • Wages for temporary help

Reduces costs:

  • Lost work hours (days away from work, restricted hours, or job transfer)
  • Time spent training temporary help
  • Programs and services that may suffer due to fewer employees

Basic Philosophy

When considering your safety and health, please remember that:

  • Every incident can be prevented
  • No job is worth getting hurt for
  • Every job will be done safely
  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility
  • Safe work practices must be developed by team leads and front line supervisors
  • Training - Everyone must understand AND meet the requirements
  • Working safely is a Condition of Employment
  • To build ownership in the program, build ownership by involving everyone
  • Audits and investigations will help evaluate the program's performance
  • Using measures to manage the safety and health process help determine success

Download OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines here or visit www.osha.gov.

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Departmental Safety Inspections

1.0  Purpose

Regular safety inspections are an important part of a department's system for managing environmental health and safety. The University requires departments to carry out an inspection at least twice annually and send their results to University Environmental Health and Safety. This policy is the basic requirements and provides a checklist that may be used as a starting point for the inspection.

Regular inspections provide a means for the department to measure safety performance against standards established by University Environmental Health and Safety. They also serve to identify unsafe practices and unsafe conditions and to prevent accidents before they happen. They provide an opportunity to ensure that other, more specific checks have been made at the appropriate intervals (e.g. on fume cupboards, microbiological safety cabinets, fire extinguishers, electrical equipment, pressure systems). They facilitate compliance with the University's policy on environmental health and safety by identifying risks in its operations.

2.0 Scope

This policy applies to employees, staff, faculty, students, contractors, and visitors at the University of North Carolina - Asheville (UNCA).

3.0 Terms and Definitions

 

4.0 Responsibilities

 

5.0 Policy

5.1 Inspection schedule

The University requires departments and institutions to inspect all areas under their control at least twice annually; they must be at least 6 months apart and witihin the academic year or basically once per semester.

Inspection may be carried out by one person (usually the department or the EHS officer) or by a small team that include individuals with specialist knowledge. Team size should be restricted to three or four people. Department Heads are notified of inspection dates and times in advance to facilitate cooperation and collaboration by department employees.

5.2  Inspection report

A written report should be prepared which includes the date and scope of the inspection and the names of those carrying it out. It should include details of any problems identified (their nature, location and severity), the action required to remedy those problems, with an indication of the priority attached to the task, the timescale and the person(s) responsible for remedial action. The report must also detail the arrangements for ensuring that recommendations for remedial action are acted upon.

A copy of the report should be sent to the head of department and the departmental safety committee should make a point of discussing the report at one of its meetings and ensuring that its recommendations have been acted upon. A copy of the inspection report should also be sent to the University Safety Office.

5.3  Inspection checklist

Checklists can be valuable aids to inspection and many departments will already be successfully using one. Those who have not yet made their own may find the appended lists useful as a starting point (they are not intended to be comprehensive and each department should aim to prepare a checklist specific for its own premises and activities). It is important to use any checklist only as an aid; over-reliance on it may constrain the inspection and lead to problems being missed.

University uses OSHA standards against which many of these items may be judged and the relevant ones are noted on the checklist. All departments should have access to these standards on the Internet at www.dol.osha.gov.

5.4  Corrective Actions

All departments are required to carry out a departmental inspection at least twice annually. Corrective action reports must be written and submitted to University Environmental Health and Safety where they are tracked and reported to senior management monthly.

 

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Campus Safety & Security Survey