University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Occupational Health and Safety

Policy Statement

The University of Minnesota (University) is committed to providing a healthy and safe workplace for its community. This policy is intended to ensure that all University employees are informed of the hazards in their workplace and how to minimize risk of harm, and to promote a culture of safety consciousness and accountability that achieves a safe working environment. Additionally, this policy sets the expectation that University employees will comply with all applicable Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations, and applies to all University employees system-wide that work in areas where chemical hazards, biological hazards, and/or physical hazards are present.

OSHA Compliance Management and Responsibility

The Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations is responsible for administering this policy and has the authority to enforce health and safety practices and stop any activities deemed unsafe or non-compliant with applicable OSHA regulations at the University. The Assistant Vice President for University Health and Safety (UHS) or their designees will assist the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations with administering health and safety policies and programs at the University.

University Health and Safety

UHS is responsible for providing leadership, resources, and services to ensure that the University provides a healthy and safe workplace and that applicable regulations, policies, and procedures are being implemented and compliance is met. UHS has several programs in place to assist University employees in complying with health and safety regulations. The following health and safety programs must be followed by all University staff if applicable to the type of work being performed:

UHS is also responsible for representing the University during health and safety regulatory inspections, and acts as the liaison between the regulated department/activity and the regulatory agency.  

Employee Exposure Monitoring

UHS will perform employee exposure monitoring and assessments for hazards (e.g., silica, formaldehyde, noise) to which employees may be exposed. The results of monitoring activities will be used to ensure that appropriate control methods are used to eliminate or minimize employee exposures to hazards and ensure compliance with applicable standards. When additional control measures are required to be implemented, UHS will work with departments to identify and implement controls to reduce employee exposure.

Standard Operating Procedures and Hazard Assessments

Departments and supervisors must ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) and hazard assessments are prepared for all operations involving chemical, biological, and/or physical hazards. UHS provides assistance and resources, including templates for SOPs and hazard assessment, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the department conducting the hazardous activity to create the SOP and hazard assessment. The following resources are available to assist with developing SOPs and hazard assessments:

Health and Safety Training

All University employees who work with chemical, biological, and/or physical hazards must be properly trained to conduct their job in a safe and compliant manner. Ensuring proper training is the responsibility of the employee’s supervisor and each department must have a plan to verify that all employees receive the proper level of training. The following University resources are available to assist departments and supervisors with training needs:

UHS will assist departments with developing and delivering employee training program requirements that meet applicable health and safety regulations and programs. UHS will also monitor departmental compliance with training requirements.

Health and Safety Inspections

Regulatory Agency Inspections: The University is subject to inspections from regulatory agencies for a number of health and safety related programs (e.g., lab safety, electrical safety). Each department that is inspected by a regulatory agency is responsible for the following:

  • Immediately notifying UHS of the inspection
  • Actively participating in the process by allowing the inspector access to regulated areas, providing regulatory information requested by the inspector, following up on any compliance deficiencies found during the inspection
  • Paying for fines associated with non-compliance citations/violations

UHS Inspections: UHS has formal inspection programs for both laboratories and non-laboratory spaces with chemical, biological, and/or physical hazards (e.g., laboratories, shops, agricultural facilities). These inspection programs are designed to help the University maintain compliance with health and safety regulations and University programs. Each department that is inspected by UHS is required to actively participate in the inspection process by allowing UHS access to regulated areas, provide regulatory information requested by the UHS inspector, and to follow-up in a timely manner on any compliance deficiencies found during the inspection.

Reporting Health and Safety Concerns

All University staff are encouraged to immediately notify their supervisor of any health and safety concerns in the workplace. Additionally, employees can submit concerns (anonymously if desired) to UHS by using the online Report a Safety Concern Form.

Reason for Policy

This policy outlines ownership and accountability for safety compliance so that individuals understand risks and know how to take preventative and/or corrective actions to protect themselves and others. The policy implements the commitments of the Board of Regents Policy: Health and Safety (PDF) to comply with applicable health and safety policies, procedures, and laws to provide a safe and healthy work environment in which members of the University community can achieve their educational, research, outreach, service, and employment goals.




Frequently Asked Questions


Policy Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact Adam Krajicek 612-626-1590 [email protected]
Research and Laboratory Safety Rachael Perriello (218) 726-7273 [email protected]
Workplace Safety Jordan Romine (612) 231-4695 [email protected]
System Campuses UHS Laura Lott (218) 726-6917 [email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations
  • Assistant Vice President for University Health and Safety
  • Adam Krajicek
    Director, Environmental Health & Safety


Biological Hazard/Infectious Agent
A biological hazard is an infectious agent that includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms and their associated toxins that have the ability to adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild, allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, and even death.
Chemical Hazard
A chemical (solid, liquid, or gas) that is classified as posing one or more of the following hazardous effects: explosive, flammable, oxidizer, self-reactive, pyrophoric, self-heating, organic peroxide, corrosive to metal, gas under pressure, or in contact with water emits flammable gas, acute toxicity (any route of exposure), skin corrosion or irritation, serious eye damage or eye irritation, respiratory or skin sensitization, germ cell mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure), or aspiration hazard.
Departmental Safety Officer
A department-appointed safety representative who helps answer questions specific to their department/building and who coordinates with UHS staff to perform inspections. Departmental Safety Officers (DSO) are appointed by their parent department and often serve on department/college safety committees.
Hazard Assessment
The process used to identify, assess, and control workplace hazards and the risks to employee health and safety. Depending on the results of the hazard assessment and type of work being conducted, employee exposure monitoring may be required.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Federal agency responsible for ensuring safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards. All University employees must comply with applicable OSHA and Minnesota OSHA regulations.
Physical Hazard
An agent, characteristic, or circumstance that can cause harm with or without body contact. Examples include loud noise, confined space, temperature extremes, tripping hazards, electrical problems (e.g., frayed cords, improper wiring), machinery-related issues, and cumulative stress.
Safety Committee
A group of employee representatives who work together to identify and recommend solutions to health and safety problems in the workplace. The purpose of a safety committee is to bring employees together in a non-adversarial, cooperative effort to promote health and safety in the workplace. Departments may be required to have a safety committee depending on factors such as the number of employees, the hazard ranking of spaces as determined by the UHS inspection programs, or based on UHS review.
Standard Operating Procedure
A written series of steps that must be followed to correctly and safely perform a task.


President, Vice Presidents, Provosts, and Chancellors
  • Ensure deans, directors, and department heads have adequate resources and funding to support health and safety programs
  • Actively promote the importance of safety in the workplace and encourage continuous improvement efforts
Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations
  • Implement and enforce health and safety policies and procedures
  • Has the authority to suspend, restrict, or close any operation that presents an immediate danger to life or health or is a serious regulatory violation
  • Provide adequate resources and funding to support health and safety programs
Assistant Vice President for University Health and Safety
  • Assist the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations with administering health and safety policies and procedures
  • Ensure that UHS has an effective health and safety program
  • Communicate and help prioritize health and safety issues
  • Identify and request resources and funding to support health and safety programs
Deans, associate deans, department heads, and directors
  • Support and participate in safety improvement efforts
  • When warranted, establish a collegiate, departmental, or institute-based safety committee or other effective means to facilitate continuous safety improvement
  • Ensure that employees who are given official safety responsibilities such as being designated a Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) are allowed adequate time to perform safety related duties
  • Assign appropriate number of technically qualified safety staff or DSO for the department
  • Ensure that safety staff and committees are informed of faculty space assignments, including when faculty leave the University
Principal investigators, managers, and supervisors
  • Responsible for day-to-day compliance of the work area (e.g., laboratory, shop, farm)
  • Ensure all employees have received the proper health and safety training required to perform their duties and document and maintain all training records
  • Conduct hazard assessments by ensuring that potential hazards have been identified and addressed before work is started
  • Identify and provide necessary safety supplies and personal protective equipment
  • Establish standard operating procedures, work procedures, etc. to ensure that health and safety compliance is integrated into the work area
  • Enforce health and safety standards and make corrective actions when necessary
  • Discuss and reinforce safe work practices and personal protective equipment use, and provide coaching and disciplinary action, as necessary
  • Ensure that all accidents, injuries, and spills are reported to UHS as soon as possible
  • Investigate laboratory incidents, identify root causes, and implement appropriate solutions in conjunction with UHS personnel
  • Leave facilities and equipment in a clean and safe condition when the premises are vacated
Employees, research staff, and student employees
  • Attend and actively participate in health and safety training
  • Follow all health and safety protocols
  • Ensure required safety precautions are in place before work is started
  • Wear personal protective equipment required for safe work
  • Notify supervisor, safety committee member, or UHS of any unsafe work practices, accidents, spills, or conditions that may warrant further investigation and/or monitoring
University Health and Safety
  • Develop centralized processes and safety management systems to assist departments in fulfilling their safety responsibilities
  • Provide technical resources such as health and safety programs, tools, training materials, and resources that assist the University community with compliance
  • Conduct hazard assessments, employee exposure monitoring, and investigations
  • Conduct periodic inspections and reviews to verify compliance and safe work practices
  • Provide educational information and training assistance to departments and colleges relative to hazard identification and safe work practice
  • Participate on and provide guidance to safety committees or other safety improvement mechanisms
  • Identify and share best practices across departments and colleges
  • Facilitate all inspections from regulatory agencies related to health and safety compliance
Safety committee or other safety organization
  • Work to improve departmental safety cultures, establish departmental goals that promote a culture of safety consciousness and accountability
  • Identify high-risk job tasks and promote safe work practices
  • Identify and share best practices and safe operating procedures
  • Evaluate written programs and recommend improvements to departmental leadership
  • Promote and facilitate safety training
  • Review results of periodic safety reviews and inspections and follow-up when necessary to ensure any deficiencies are corrected in a timely manner
Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) or other designated safety staff
  • Facilitate departmental safety committees
  • Serve as a liaison and facilitate communication between their department and UHS
  • Schedule and participate in inspections of work areas in conjunction with UHS
  • Review results of periodic safety reviews and inspections and follow-up when necessary to ensure any deficiencies are corrected in a timely manner
  • Notify UHS of new or existing operations that may warrant further investigation and/or monitoring, including new and changing faculty space assignments


January 2023 - New Policy: The Occupational Health and Safety Policy is intended to assure that everyone working at the University is informed about the chemical, biological, and physical hazards in their workplace and how to minimize risk of harm, and to promote a culture of safety consciousness and accountability that achieves a safe work environment. By identifying and defining safety and health responsibilities, it will also foster compliance with occupational health and safety regulations and laws.

This policy is needed to formalize and demonstrate the University’s commitment to the health and safety of its employees, as well as formally identify roles and responsibilities around occupational health and safety.