Workplace safety

Workplace environment safety

Visit the UW Environmental Health & Safety website for more information.

Topics


Accident Prevention Plan

The University’s Accident Prevention Plan (APP) covers the anticipated occupational hazards that generally apply to employees across the University. It outlines policies and procedures implemented to reduce or eliminate these hazards. Employees include staff, faculty and students or volunteers in paid permanent, part-time or seasonal positions. The APP applies to all schools, departments and organizations within the University and will be revised with appendices for the UW Bothell campus alone.

Important things to note within the APP:

  • New employee Safety Orientation with template
  • First aid treatment requirements and guidelines
  • Job Hazard Analysis and hazard assessment

Confined Space Program

 The Confined Space Entry Program applies to any UW department that has space(s) that may potentially be hazardous when entered. A confined space is one configured so that a person can fully enter and work, but is not designed for continuous human occupancy and has restricted or limited means of entry or exit. For a list of confined spaces here on the Bothell Campus, please see the inventory list found on the EHS confined space webpage.

*If there is a hazardous space which you or your department must enter, please notify EHS Bothell at uwbehs@uw.edu or 425-352-3934


Examples with text products, jobs, environments, organizations, and tasks.Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the practice of fitting the job to the individual, which can help prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal injuries include awkward postures, repetitive tasks, and/or forceful motions.

  • For an evaluation of your ergonomics and workplace factors please contact EHS Bothell. For training on ergonomics awareness, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has provided this ergonomics PowerPoint training for supervisors and employees.

Hazardous Energy Control - Lockout/Tagout

The Lock Out / Tag Out (LOTO) program is designed to prevent injuries resulting from unexpected start-up, energization or release of stored energy during servicing and maintenance of equipment. Hazardous energy, such as electricity, chemical, radiation, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical and gravitational energy sources, must be dissipated and isolated before servicing or maintaining equipment. EH&S provides consultation and assistance to departments that need to comply with the requirements of the LOTO program, and provide or coordinate LOTO training to Authorized Personnel.

Authorized Personnel

 Always coordinate and communicate LOTO work with affected personnel and others as needed, follow all LOTO procedures when necessary. Suggest changes to the LOTO as needed, your opinion is important. Report any equipment that may be needing LOTO and always report any incidents or near misses you may have through OARS.

  • Please ensure to take annual refresher training as needed

Elock and sign saying danger do not operate - equipment locked outmployees, students and visitors (affected personnel)

Ask questions about LOTO and our work area, know which equipment need to be maintained through LOTO, and whom the authorized personnel are in your area to work with LOTO. Never touch or try and start any equipment with LOTO devices on it. Always report any near misses or accidents through OARS.


Health & safety committees

 Health and safety committees share the responsibilities of implementing and monitoring the University’s health and safety program. The health and safety committee program is managed by EH&S. Each committee is supported by executive leadership known as the Executive Sponsor. Elections for members of the committees are held every two years, and elected members serve for two years on their committee.

Responsibilities of the health and safety committees include:

  • Reviewing and evaluating accident investigation reports
  • Reviewing and evaluating departmental health and safety plans
  • Reviewing and discussing health and safety suggestions from employees
  • Providing feedback on safety-related material provided by EH&S
  • Recommending actions to resolve health and safety concerns

 **If you wish to become part of the UWB Health and Safety Committee, contact EH&S at uwbehs@uw.edu.


Hearing loss & prevention program

The Hearing Loss Prevention Program encourages all UW organizations and departments to minimize the risk of noise-induced hearing loss to employees, researchers, students and visitors.

Responsibilities of department managers, supervisors & principal investigators

  • Identify areas of excessive noise and affected employees. Refer to the Noise level of common sounds page.
  • Coordinate sound level surveys and personnel monitoring for noise exposure, conducted by EH&S, to provide a quantitative assessment of noise hazards in your workplace.
  • If employees are exposed to noise above 90 dBA averaged over the work shift, implement engineering or administrative controls. See how can noise be eliminated from the workplace? (L&I) and Reducing Hazards from Noise (OSHA) pages.
  • Ensure individuals exposed to noise levels at or above 85 dBA averaged over an 8-hour work shift are enrolled in the Hearing Loss Prevention Program, receive training and medical surveillance.
  • Ensure employees are provided with baseline and annual audiometric exams through EH&S.
  • Ensure staff has taken the Hearing Conservation training.
  • Provide at least two types of hearing protectors to employees if controls cannot be implemented, and for all employees exposed to noise levels at or over 85 dBA averaged over an 8-hour work shift, greater than 115 dBA any time and 140 dBC impact noise any time.
  • Ensure hearing protectors are worn properly.
  • Post caution signs where noise may exceed 85 dBA averaged over an 8-hour work shift.
  • Post danger signs where noise may exceed 115 dBA, even intermittently.
  • Ensure that reports of high noise are investigated.
  • Maintain records as required.

If you feel that you are being exposed to loud noise either periodically or over the course of the day, contact your supervisor regarding the Hearing Loss and Prevention Center.  EH&S can provide consolation regarding noisy area surveys, annual audiometric testing and PPE recommendations.


Personal Protective Equipment

The purpose of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) program is to protect researchers, employees, students, and visitors from potential hazards in the work environment. However, eliminating hazards through engineering or administrative controls provides better and more consistent protection than relying on PPE alone. If PPE is necessary, it is best used with engineering and/or administrative controls along with good work practices.

A key element of the program includes a thorough hazard assessment of activities, processes and work areas to determine the nature and degree of hazards, determination of the engineering and administrative controls that are in place and relevant regulations. When the hazard assessment indicates that PPE is required, departments must select and provide PPE that properly fits employees.

The program covers hazard protection for the eyes, face, head, hands, feet, whole body and drowning. PPE for respiratory, hearing, elevated work, electrical, and welding are covered by other programs, but shall be documented in the hazard assessment for PPE.

For more information on your role with PPE, please visit the EH&S webpage.


Respiratory protection

 You might need respiratory protection if inhalation hazards exist in your work environment. If you wear a respirator at UW, you must use it according to the UW Respiratory Protection Program designed to protect employees and students by establishing accepted practices for assessing respiratory hazards and selecting, using and caring for respirators.

At the UW, managers and supervisors are responsible for establishing and maintaining good health and safety practices, including controlling exposures to airborne contaminants, such as dusts, vapors and other aerosols. Whenever engineering or administrative controls are not feasible or practical, or in emergency situations, you may need to use respirators and other personal respiratory protective equipment to protect employees and students from inhalation hazards.

The Respiratory Protection Program outlines the requirements and the University’s procedures for using respiratory protection in a safe and effective way that is compliant with applicable regulations. EH&S will conduct a respiratory hazard evaluation, and determine whether a respirator is required or voluntary.

*Please contact EH&S with any issues you might have with exposure to airborne hazards at: uwbehs@uw.edu


Shop & Makerspace safety

UW departments are required to develop a health and safety plan to prevent injury and exposure to hazardous materials in their specific shops and maker spaces. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization and the users to ensure that that these areas and equipment are used and maintained in a safe manner.

EH&S has developed an Accident Prevention Plan that may be used by shops and maker spaces to supplement their written shop-specific plan. EH&S provides resources for shops and maker spaces to help address the health and safety issues they may encounter.

**For a list of Shop and Maker Space reference file, please look at the UW Seattle EH&S Maker Space webpage.


Reference Links