Environmental Health and Safety Committees
Issued September 26, 2003
Table of Contents
The creation and development of Environmental Health and Safety Committees is viewed as a vital ingredient in the overall functioning of Kansas State University. Committee activities ensure that University members work under safe and healthful conditions. This is accomplished by making sure that the University is complying with its responsibility to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards.
All University personnel should make sure their unit is maintaining a safe and healthful workplace. One key to making the workplace safe for all University personnel is strong, active College Environmental Health & Safety Committees. The Committee can identify dangerous conditions at the workplace and discuss them with management. In addition, members may obtain information and assistance by contacting: Department of Environmental Health and Safety, 108 Edwards Hall, 532-5856. The Department of Environmental Health & Safety will act as a consultant in these matters and as a mechanism for internal auditing.
University Environmental Health & Safety Committee. Appointed by the Vice President for University Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Faculty Senate, and Student Senate. Responsible for (1) acting as the oversight committee for the Administrative units (Provost, University Operations, and VP for Institutional Advancement), (2) evaluating College Environmental Health & Safety Committees, and (3) developing university-wide policies for Environmental Health & Safety.
College Environmental Health & Safety Committee. Appointed by the Dean. Responsible for (1) developing and communicating a clear vision for the College's safety program, (2) establishing broad safety goals for departments to attain, and (3) evaluating the College's progress toward meeting those goals. Membership in the Committee should be representative of administrators, faculty, staff, and students in the College. The Committee should have a minimum of four to eight members, depending on the associated hazards within the College.
Departmental/Unit Environmental Health & Safety Committee. Appointed by the Department/Unit head. Responsible for (1) establishing safety objectives, (2) addressing the safety issues, and (3) providing oversight to attain the College's safety goals. Membership in the Committee should be representative of administrators, faculty, staff, and students in the Department. The department Environmental Health & Safety Committee can be stand alone if the Dean desires or as part of the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee.
Every College must have an active safety committee. This must be a goal of each Dean. If the Dean desires, departments within a College may also have safety committees. The University Environmental Health & Safety Committee recommends that large departments or departments with high hazards have a safety committee.
When appointing or electing members to serve on the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee, look for responsible, sincere, outgoing members who are both willing to learn how to best protect the interests of their fellow workers and display a willingness to be diligent in their responsibilities. Membership in the Committee should be representative of administrators, faculty, staff, and students in the College.
Active College safety committees should increase awareness of and enthusiasm for hazard recognition and control. Educational programs should be organized to emphasize safe work practices and procedures. College Environmental Health & Safety Committees should, where possible, work with the personnel to provide a safe and healthful workplace. The Committee should function as the center of information dealing with environmental health and safety. College Environmental Health & Safety Committees should meet at least three times a year. Emergency and additional meetings should be held as often as necessary.
Any condition which threatens the health or safety of University members is a concern of the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee. Possible hazards might include:
Safety Hazards - unguarded machinery, machinery in need of maintenance, inadequate or unmarked emergency exits, poor lighting, electrical hazards, and mishandling of explosives or flammable substances.
Health Hazards - fumes and vapors, dust, excessive heat or cold, noise and vibration, spilled chemicals, radiation, and physical and psychological stress.
Environmental Issues - hazardous waste, permits, and pollution prevention.
The College Environmental Health and Safety Committee may consider other problems such as:
Is enough time allowed to do each task safely? Is excessive overtime work causing fatigue which could contribute to accidents?
Are workers reluctant to report hazards for fear of punishment or of being transferred to other jobs at lower pay levels?
Are there large numbers of illnesses or health problems which could be related to exposure to a workplace substance?
The College Environmental Health & Safety Committee aids and advises the dean or department head and the faculty, staff, and students on matters of safety and health pertaining to Kansas State University operations. It performs essential monitoring, educational, investigative, and evaluative tasks. Attendance by nonmembers should be encouraged. The College Environmental Health & Safety Committee is responsible for:
actively participating in safety and health instruction programs and evaluating the effectiveness of these programs
assisting supervisors with enforcement of safety policies by educating fellow employees in proper procedures
regularly inspecting the facility to detect unsafe conditions and practices and hazardous materials and environmental factors
assuring safety inspections of operations and facilities including shops, storage and storeroom areas, teaching and research laboratories, and offices, are conducted
planning improvements to existing safety and health rules, procedures, and regulations
review hazards for all department/unit activities to determine requirements for personal protective equipment
periodically reviewing and updating existing work practices and hazard controls
assessing the implications of changes in work tasks, operations, and processes
monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of safety and health recommendations and improvements
compiling and distributing safety and health and hazard communications to the employees
investigate workplace accidents with prevention in mind
studying and analyzing incident and injury data.
The College Environmental Health & Safety Committee concept stresses cooperation and a commitment to safety as a shared responsibility between faculty, staff, and students. Individuals can become actively involved in and make positive contributions to Kansas State University's safety and health program. The Committee serves as a forum for discussing changes in regulations, programs, or processes, and potential new hazards. Individuals can communicate problems to the dean or department head openly and face to face, allowing information and suggestions to flow both ways. The knowledge and experience of many persons combine to accomplish the objectives of creating a safe workplace and reducing incidents. The approach can produce effective solutions to safety problems more easily.
Even though the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee represents both faculty/staff and the dean or department head, the Committee's analyses and recommendations should be reviewed and confirmed by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety when they relate to specialized areas.
If the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee finds that a work hazard exists, it must bring the problem to the attention of the responsible person within the department and copy the responsible administrator. If the responsible person does not correct the problem, the College Environmental Health & Safety Committee must notify the department head or Dean of the College. Together these parties will resolve the problem.
All College or Department Environmental Health & Safety Committee members need basic training in three areas:
Environmental Health & Safety Committee Operations
Hazard Identification and Control
Accident Investigation Procedures.
All employees should have training as necessary in appropriate technical areas. New employees should receive safety training prior to starting work. Areas of training include, but are not limited to:
General Electrical Safety
Hand & Power Tool Safety
New Product Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Personal Protective Equipment
The Department of Environmental Health & Safety will develop training modules as staff time allows. Training will be either seminar style or electronic. Web-based training will be accessible through the Department of Environmental Health & Safety web site. Certificates of training will be provided through training offered by the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.
Departments/Units are permitted to develop their own training or to purchase their own training programs. Training documents including training rosters and training syllabi must be sent to the Department of Environmental Health & Safety for inclusion in employee records.
The Department of Environmental Health & Safety will maintain training records for employees and enter data into PeopleSoft.
Questions are to be directed to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, telephone number (785)532-5856.