Environmental Health and Safety Policy

Handbook of Operating Procedures 8-1020

Environmental Health and Safety Policy

University of Texas SealEffective November 11, 2021
Executive Sponsor: Senior Vice President and Chief Financial OfficerPolicy Owner: Director, Environmental Health & Safety
I. Policy Statement 

The University of Texas at Austin (University) is committed to protecting the health and safety of its students, employees, visitors, University affiliates, and contractors, as well as the environment. This is achieved through appropriate compliance with University policies and applicable laws and regulations. Responsibility for the administration of the University’s environmental health and safety program is delegated to the director of Environmental Health and Safety and implemented through operations of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Compliance with EHS program procedures and guidelines as well as applicable laws and regulations is a shared responsibility as described below.

II. Reason for Policy 

To identify authority and responsibility for the proper management of the University’s environmental health and safety program in accordance with applicable policies, laws, and regulatory requirements.

III. Scope & Audience 

This policy applies to all University employees, students, University affiliates, visitors, and contractors.

IV. Definitions (specific to this policy) 
Campus:

All facilities, buildings, and property owned or leased by the University.

Incidents:

Any near miss, damage to property, environmental spill/release or injury (including first aid).

EHS Guidelines:

Documents, information sheets/posters, and training information created or supplied by EHS to reference or communicate requirements for campus. The EHS Guidelines inform members of the campus community of the policies and procedures they must follow to comply with applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, codes, and consensus standards, as well as applicable policies and procedures of the University and The University of Texas System.

V. Website (for policy) 
https://policies.utexas.edu/policies/hop/8-1020
VI. Contacts 
Contact Details Web
Environmental Health and SafetyPhone:512-471-3511Website:
VII. Responsibilities & Procedures 
  1. Responsibilities

All University employees, students, University affiliates, visitors, and contractors are responsible for compliance with applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, and codes, as well as applicable policies, procedures, and guidelines of the University and The University of Texas System. Each individual subject to this policy must comply with all EHS Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety.  Responsibility for compliance follows administrative channels noted below.

 

  1. EHS is responsible for:
  • identifying potentially hazardous conditions through regular inspections of University facilities, including but not limited to laboratories, clinics, buildings, animal use facilities, greenhouses, growth chambers, machine shops, classrooms, and offices;
  • developing programs and EHS Guidelines to promote safe work environments, maintain compliance, and promote environmental stewardship;
  • monitoring compliance with all applicable rules and procedures, guidelines, regulations, and laws;
  • providing timely and effective EHS training;
  • decommissioning laboratories and assisting employees with the proper disposal of biological, radioactive, and chemical waste;
  • providing timely incident response when called;
  • assisting and advising departments/units to promote a safe work environment;
  • assessing hazardous job tasks and identifying work place controls, work procedures, and personal protective equipment needed to protect employees;
  • communicating with external agencies and regulatory bodies as appropriate on behalf of the University; and
  • conducting audits and inspections.
  1. Committees

The following committees are responsible, in part, for developing policy and providing advice and guidance to senior management and EHS on matters of safety and the environment:

  • Research Safety Steering Committee (RSSC)
  • Laboratory Safety Advisory Committee (LSAC)
  • Laser Safety Committee (LSC)
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
  • Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)
  • DMS Radiation Safety Committee (DMS RSC)
  • Occupational Safety Committee
  • UT Health Safety Committee
  1. Department/Unit (Deans, Directors, Department Chairs/Heads, Managers)

Deans, directors, department chairs/heads, and managers are responsible for:

  • establishing, promoting, and maintaining a culture of safety within the department/unit;
  • responding to safety and environmental inspections;
  • ensuring employees are aware of the EHS Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety;
  • monitoring and ensuring departmental compliance with EHS Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety;
  • ensuring personal protective equipment is provided at no cost to the employee;
  • investigating all reported incidents for direct report employees; and
  • reporting all injuries/incidents in accordance with University procedures.
  1. Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible for:

  • assessing the workplace and job tasks for chemical, physical, radiological, or biological hazards that can cause illness, injury, or impairment and ensuring these hazards are communicated to their employees;
  • ensuring employees utilize established work procedures and workplace controls;
  • providing and ensuring proper use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment;
  • providing training and information regarding the EH&S programs;
  • reporting all injuries/incidents in accordance with University procedures;
  • investigating all reported incidents for direct report employees;
  • ensuring employees participate in EHS required training; and
  • ensuring employees follow EHS Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety.
  1. Employees

Employees are responsible for:

  • reporting all injuries/incidents in accordance with University procedures;
  • participating and cooperating with incident investigations;
  • utilizing established work procedures and workplace controls;
  • participating in EHS required training; and
  • following EHS Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety.
  1. Contractors

Contractors are responsible for:

  • following all applicable regulations including but not limited to local, state and federal;
  • following applicable UT Guidelines and University policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety;
  • reporting all incidents immediately to the project manager or hiring manager; and
  • protecting the UT Community from injury and property from damage for their work areas.
  1. Students

Students are responsible for:

  • reporting to a University employee all incidents/injuries; and
  • reporting all incidents/injuries in accordance with University procedures.

 

  1. Environmental Health & Safety Rules and Regulations 

The University will fully comply with applicable laws, regulations, and requirements relating to environmental health and safety. These laws, regulations, and requirements, as well as institutional policy, guide EHS in the development of institutional programs and procedures, including the EHS Guidelines, to facilitate University compliance.

 

  1. Inspections and Audits

EHS has authority to:

  • conduct inspections and audits to ensure safe practices and compliance with various environmental health and safety related laws, policies, procedures, and regulations;
  • access all buildings and facilities on campus to inspect, sample, and monitor conditions; and
  • require appropriate corrective actions.

 

  1. Suspend, Restrict, or Close Unsafe Operations

The director of Environmental Health and Safety, designee, or a position identified in regulation has the authority to immediately suspend, restrict, or close any operation that presents:

  • an immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of persons or property;
  • a serious violation or repeated violations of institutional requirements or standards; or
  • a clear or threatened violation of laws or regulations.

In the event EHS orders the termination of an activity or operation, EHS will immediately communicate the issue or violation to the individual(s) involved and his or her immediate supervisor. If EHS orders the termination of a contractor activity or operation, EHS will notify the project manager and the associated University department. Notice will be promptly given by EHS to the assistant vice president for campus safety, the affected department head, and the appropriate regulatory agency, as required by law.

 

The suspended activity may resume with the approval of the director of Environmental Health and Safety, designee, or a position identified in regulation, in consultation with the assistant vice president for Campus Safety.

 

  1. Program Areas

EHS, in consultation with University committees as needed, is responsible for the development and maintenance of the following programs consistent with applicable regulations and University policies. The following list of EHS program areas under EHS authority may change based on institutional policy, as well as revised or new laws or regulations.

  • Campus Occupational and Laboratory Safety – including programs such as accident prevention and investigation, industrial hygiene, asbestos, indoor air quality, occupational safety, hearing protection, respiratory protection, confined space, shop safety, biosafety, indoor air quality, lab safety, clinical safety and accreditation, select agents, and any others as appropriate.
  • Environmental Protection – including programs such as hazardous materials, spill prevention and response, regulated and non-regulated waste, storm and waste water, drinking water quality, environmental assessments, environmental permitting, food safety, and any others as appropriate.
  • Radiation and Laser Safety – including programs such as laser safety, radiological safety, radioactive waste, radiation producing machines, and any others as appropriate.

EHS is authorized to develop campus compliance program requirements and documentation (see below), educational materials, training requirements, guidance documents, and standard operating procedures to ensure compliance with relevant environmental health and safety requirements, laws, and regulations.

 

VIII. Forms & Tools 

Supporting policies and other EHS related institutional requirements are documented in the Compliance section of the EHS website.

XI. History 

Last review date:  November 11,2021

Previous review date: June 8, 2015

Next scheduled review:  November 2024

 

This policy was previously called "Safety Policy".

Original HOP 6.32