7.2 Health and Safety: Principles, Responsibilities and Practices
This manual provides information about policies, procedures, and guidelines related to health and safety at Stanford. Topics covered include responsibilities, services provided by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), a variety of topics related to workplace safety (e.g. asbestos, ergonomics), the management of hazardous materials, and how to prevent and handle emergencies.
Safety is a core value at Stanford and the University is committed to continued advancement of an institutional safety culture with strong programs of personal safety, accident and injury prevention, wellness promotion, and compliance with applicable environmental and health and safety laws and regulations.
Stanford University makes all reasonable efforts to:
- Promote occupational and personal safety, health and wellness;
- Protect the health and safety of Stanford University faculty, staff and students;
- Provide information to faculty, staff, and students about health and safety hazards;
- Identify and correct health and safety hazards and encourage faculty, staff, and students to report potential hazards;
- Conduct activities in a manner protective of the environment, and inform the Stanford community regarding environmental impacts associated with institutional operations; and
- Maintain a risk-based emergency management program to reduce the impact of emergency events to the Stanford community.
Adherence to good health and safety practices and compliance with applicable health and safety regulations are a responsibility of all faculty, staff, and students. Line responsibility for good health and safety practice begins with the supervisor in the workplace, laboratory or classroom and proceeds upward through the levels of management. For detailed guidance on individual safety responsibilities under Cal/OSHA, refer to the University’s Illness and Injury Prevention Program (IIPP).
In academic areas, supervisors include faculty/principal investigators, laboratory directors, class instructors, or others having direct supervisory and/or oversight authority. Academic levels of management are the department chairperson or Independent Lab director, dean, the Dean of Research, and the Provost. Administrative levels of management include managers, directors, and vice presidents. Final responsibility for health and safety policy and programs rests with the President of the University.
The Associate Vice Provost for EH&S and the University Committee on Health and Safety are responsible for recommending University-wide health and safety policies to the President.
The Associate Vice Provost for EH&S is responsible for ensuring overall institutional compliance with applicable policies, statutes, and regulations; monitoring the effectiveness of the safety programs; and providing central health and safety services and support to all areas of the University.
A. Supervisory Responsibilities
University supervisors, including faculty supervisors and Principal Investigators (PIs), are responsible for protecting the health and safety of employees, students and visitors working under their direction or supervision. This responsibility entails:
- Being current with and implementing Stanford University health and safety policies, practices and programs;
- Ensuring that workplaces, including laboratories, and equipment are safe and well maintained;
- Ensuring that workplaces or laboratories are in compliance with Stanford policies, programs and practices, and
- Ensuring that employees, students and visitors under their supervision or within their work areas have been provided with appropriate safety training and information, and adhere to established safety practices and requirements.
B. Managerial Responsibilities
University managers, academic and administrative, are responsible for ensuring that:
- Individuals under their management have the authority to implement appropriate health and safety policies, practices and programs;
- Areas under their management have adequate resources for health and safety programs, practices, and equipment; and
- Areas under their management are in compliance with Stanford University health and safety policies, practices and programs.
C. Environmental Health and Safety Responsibilities
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for:
- Reviewing legislation, recommending policies, and monitoring compliance with environmental and health and safety statutes and regulations and University health and safety policies and programs;
- Developing institutional safety and compliance programs and assisting schools, departments, faculty, and managers with implementation
- Providing guidance and technical assistance to supervisors and managers in the schools, departments, and other work units in identifying, evaluating, and correcting health and safety hazards;
- Developing programs for the safe use of hazardous radiological, biological, and chemical substances and lasers;
- Providing training materials, assistance, and programs in safe work practices;
- Providing guidance on effective emergency management and business continuity programs, and providing emergency response services for incidents involving hazardous materials;
- Providing fire prevention, inspection, engineering and systems maintenance services; and
- Hazardous waste management and disposal services.
While EH&S is responsible for developing and recommending relevant health and safety policies, institutional policy approval rests with other University authorities,(e.g., President, Provost, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Faculty Senate, University Cabinet, University Committee on Health and Safety, Committee on Research, Administrative Panels for Research Oversight, etc.) depending on the content of the proposed policies.
D. Faculty, Staff, and Student Responsibilities
Faculty, staff and students are responsible for:
- Keeping themselves informed of conditions affecting their health and safety;
- Participating in safety training programs as required by Stanford policy and their supervisors and instructors;
- Adhering to health and safety practices in their workplace, classroom, laboratory and student campus residences; Advising of or reporting to supervisors, instructors or EH&S potentially unsafe practices or serious hazards in the workplace, classroom or laboratory.
E. Safety Performance
Each individual at Stanford is expected to perform all work safely. Managers and supervisors shall establish and maintain a system of positive reinforcement and escalated discipline to support good health and safety practices. Safety performance shall be a part of every individual’s role and responsibility as well as performance expectation and evaluation.
3. Providing a Safe Workplace
Stanford's program for providing a safe workplace for faculty, staff and students includes: facility design; hazard identification, workplace inspection and corrective action; shutdown of dangerous activities; medical surveillance: and emergency preparedness. In addition to this general institutional health and safety policy, additional hazard specific policies and requirements may apply to different work and learning environments at Stanford and will be found in the Research Policy Handbook and at the EH&S Website.
A. Facility Design
Facilities will be designed in a manner consistent with health and safety regulations and standards of good design. Those University departments charged with primary responsibility for the design, construction, and/or renovation of facilities, together with EH&S shall ensure that there is appropriate health and safety review of facility concepts, designs, and plans.
In case of disagreement between EH&S and the cognizant facilities department, the conflict shall be resolved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research in consultation with the cognizant vice president or dean and the Provost (or designate). The determination of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research may be stayed by the Associate Vice Provost for EH&S pending a prompt appeal to the President.
B. Hazard Identification and Correction
Stanford University encourages employees and students to report health and safety hazards to their supervisors, managers, or EH&S. Employees and students shall not be discriminated against in any manner for bona fide reporting of health and safety hazards to Stanford or to appropriate governmental agencies. Supervisors shall inform students and employees of this policy and encourage reporting of workplace hazards.
Supervisors, both faculty and staff, shall assure that regular, periodic inspections of workplaces are conducted to identify and evaluate workplace hazards and unsafe work practices.
- The frequency of inspections should be proportional to the magnitude of risk posed in the particular workplace.
- Means of correcting discovered hazards and/or protecting individuals from the hazards shall be determined and implemented appropriately.
- Unsafe conditions which cannot be corrected by the supervisor or manager must be reported to the next higher level of management. Any individual, supervisor or manager who becomes aware of a serious concealed danger to the health or safety of individuals shall report this danger promptly to the Department of EH&S and to the faculty, staff and students who may be affected.
C. Shutdown of Dangerous Activities
The Associate Vice Provost for EH&S has the authority to curtail or shut down any University activity considered to constitute a clear and imminent danger to health or safety. In the event of such curtailment or shutdown, the cognizant dean, director or vice president and the Provost (or designate) shall be immediately notified.
In cases of dispute, an order to curtail or shutdown will remain in effect until the Provost or the Vice Provost and Dean of Research (or their respective designates) determine in writing that the danger has passed or been mitigated or that the order should be rescinded for other reasons.
Should the Associate Vice Provost for EH&S disagree with a determination to restore a curtailed or shutdown activity, the Associate Vice Provost for EH&S may promptly appeal the matter to the President. In the event of an appeal, the order to curtail or shutdown shall be in effect until the President determines otherwise.
D. Providing Medical Surveillance
Stanford University shall evaluate and monitor, through a program of medical surveillance, the health of Stanford University faculty, staff and students who are exposed to certain hazardous materials and situations as defined by law or University policy. Each supervisor is responsible for ensuring that employees and students under their supervision participate in the medical surveillance program as required by University policy. EH&S will monitor medical surveillance program participation. Each University department/school shall administer the program for faculty, staff and students covered by University policy.
E. Emergency Response and Preparedness
EH&S coordinates overall emergency response planning for the institution and provides guidelines for departmental emergency response plans. Every department shall have an individual emergency response plan and shall develop business continuity and contingency plans and implement appropriate mitigation programs to reduce the impact of emergency events.
Schools and departments shall maintain local departmental emergency operations centers and communications capabilities according to guidelines in the campus emergency plan. Multiple departments located within individual buildings will jointly develop comprehensive building-based life safety response plans.
Emergency plans shall include evacuation and assembly procedures, posted evacuation maps, reporting and communication practices, training, and drills.
4. Safety Communication and Training
Safety and compliance required training shall be communicated in a manner readily understandable to faculty, staff and students, in accordance with the communication policy outlined below.
A. Systems of Communication
Managers and supervisors, both faculty and staff, shall establish, implement and maintain a system for communicating with employees and students about health and safety matters. Information should be presented in a manner readily understood by the affected employees and students. Due attention must be paid to levels of literacy and language barriers. Verbal communications should be supplemented with written materials or postings if appropriate. Whenever appropriate, statutes and policies affecting employees and students shall be available in the workplaces.
B. Communication About Hazards
Faculty, staff, and students who may come in contact with hazardous substances or practices either in the workplace or in laboratories shall be provided information concerning the particular hazards which may be posed, and the methods by which they may deal with such hazards in a safe and healthful manner. In areas where hazardous chemicals or physical agents are used, handled, or stored, communication about these hazards shall conform to the Research Policy Handbook EH&S Requirements for laboratory facilities and the Hazard Communication Program for all other campus workplaces.
Supervisors, including faculty, shall be experienced, trained or knowledgeable in the safety and health hazards to which employees and students under their immediate direction and control may be exposed, and shall be knowledgeable of current practices and safety requirements in their field.
Faculty, staff and students shall have or be provided the knowledge to protect themselves from hazards in their working and learning environment. Supervisors, both faculty and staff, shall ensure that employees and students have received appropriate training and information regarding:
- General health and safety practices of the workplace or laboratory, including emergency procedures;
- Job-specific health and safety practices and hazards;
- Recognition and assessment of health and safety risks; and,
- How to minimize risks through sound safety practices and use of protective equipment; and,
- Awareness of appropriate practices to protect the environment.
Training shall occur when:
- An employee is hired or student is new to the laboratory;
- An employee or student is given a new assignment for which training has not previously been received; and
- New hazards are introduced by new substances, processes or equipment.
Faculty, staff and students should, periodically, be retrained or demonstrate an understanding of current standard safety practices and requirements for their areas.
5. Documentation and Recordkeeping
Documentation and records as required by regulation shall be kept to demonstrate compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and policies. Requirements and procedures for such recordkeeping can be found in the Research Policy Handbook and at the EH&S website.