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:
- Lab and Research Safety Document Library
- SOPs for Laboratories
- Laboratory Procedure Hazard Assessment
- Laboratory Safety Fact Sheets
- Biological Hazards Risk Assessment
- Workplace Safety Fact Sheets
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:
- Training Hub is the University’s system for managing required and optional training and contains a large variety of online training options that can be taken by employees
- UHS health and safety related training courses
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.