General Safety Policy & Procedures

WAC 296-800

1.0 Introduction

The first consideration of the safety program at Pacific Lutheran University is the well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. PLU has an obligation to prevent injuries and suffering to persons and their families as well as a legal responsibility to keep the University safe for all.

In addition to humanitarian reasons, there are also economic and efficiency reasons for a safety program. Whenever an accident occurs, operating efficiency is adversely affected. In addition to the lost time of the employee, there may be lost time of fellow employees, replacement and/or repair of damaged property, time spent reporting and investigating accidents, training of substitute employees, and a lowered morale to be considered. To this end the University has developed and maintains an occupational health, safety & accident prevention program designed to reduce and minimize injury and occupational illness.

2.0 Responsibility

Safety is everyone’s business. All individuals who work at Pacific Lutheran University are responsible for their own safety and for the safety of those with whom they may come into contact. The safety responsibility of persons in administrative and supervisory positions is directly proportional to their operational authority.

2.1 Manager Responsibilities (Officer, Dean or Director)

Managers are responsible for ensuring that:

    • Individuals under their management have the authority to implement appropriate health and safety policies, practices and programs.
    • Funding for health and safety programs, practices, and equipment is requested, secured and appropriated as needed.
    • Areas under their management are in compliance with PLU health and safety practices, policies and programs.
    • Activities under their management that pose a risk to the health & safety of our community be discontinued until they can meet regulatory and university expectations for a safe and healthy work and learning environment.
2.2 Supervisor Responsibilities (Those who provide guidance to other employees.)

Supervisors are responsible for the implementation of PLU’s Occupational Safety, Health & Accident Prevention Program. This includes:

    • Ensuring that workplaces and equipment are safe, well maintained and in compliance with external agency regulations and PLU policies, programs and practices.
    • Ensuring that health and safety practices and procedures are clearly communicated and understood by employees through training.
    • Enforcing health and safety rules related to job performance fairly and uniformly.
    • Evaluating employees on compliance with safe work practices.
    • Encouraging employees and students to report workplace hazards without fear of reprisal.
    • Ensuring that inspections, investigations and health and safety training records are kept for the designated period of time as specified in each code requirement, which may be many years after an employee leaves the university.
2.3 Employee and Student Responsibilities

Employees and students are responsible for following the requirements of the PLU Occupational Safety, Health & Accident Prevention Program. This includes:

    • Actively supporting and participating in the University’s efforts to provide a safe working environment.
    • Coordinating and cooperating with all other employees in the workplace to try to eliminate on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
    • Applying the principles of accident prevention in daily work, class, laboratory or residence and use proper safety devices and protective equipment required by PLU.
    • Taking care of all personal protective equipment properly.
    • Not wearing torn or loose clothing while working around machinery.
    • Reporting promptly to your supervisor every injury or occupational illness.
    • Not removing, displacing, damaging, destroying or carrying off any safeguard, notice, or warning provided to make the workplace safe.
    • Not interfering with the use of any work practice designed to protect you from injuries.
    • Doing everything reasonably necessary to protect the life and safety of others.
    • Participating in training programs.
2.4 Environmental Health & Safety Manager Responsibilities

The Environmental Health & Safety Manager (x7233) is responsible for the development and administration of the Occupational Safety, Health, & Accident Prevention Program. This involves:

    • Assisting supervisors in conducting workplace hazard assessments to identify, evaluate, and correct hazards.
    • Providing training and technical assistance to managers and supervisors on implementation of the program.
    • Reviewing, updating and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the program.
    • Evaluating the adequacy and consistency of training designed by schools and departments.

3.0 University Safety Committee Plan (WAC 296-800-130)

The Safety Committee is composed of appointed members and members elected to one-year terms from all areas of the University, including staff, administration, faculty, and students. The number of appointed members shall not exceed the number of elected members. The Committee annually elects a chairperson from its membership. Its services are available to all PLU faculty, staff, and students. Contact can be made with the committee’s chairperson or any of the committee members to report safety concerns or violations.

The role of the Safety Committee is to:

  • Meet regularly and include discussion of established safety topics, such as accident and illness prevention methods, safety and health promotion, hazards noted on inspections, and occupational injury and illness records. (WAC 296-800-13010)
  • Make sure that safety committee meeting minutes are recorded and preserved. (WAC 296-800-13015)
  • Advise the Environmental Health & Safety Manger and the President’s Council on the adequacy of PLU health and safety programs, policies and organization.
  • Recommend priorities and strategies to promote good health and safety on campus.
  • Foster coordination among those units at PLU having operational responsibility for health and safety.
  • Review and recommend to the President’s Council university-wide safety and health policies that have not yet been addressed.

Recommendations received by the Committee are accepted, modified, or rejected by the Committee and plans are made to take appropriate action. Minutes of the Committee’s meetings are distributed to the members of the Safety Committee and are posted on the Safety Bulletin Boards. Copies are kept on file in the Environmental Health & Safety Manager’s office.

4.0 Resources

The Environmental Health & Safety Manager is a good resource for safety training requirements and materials, regulatory codes referenced in this document, and assistance in applying the requirements of this program. Campus Safety & Information, Risk Management, and Human Resources are also good resources on campus safety information.

4.1 Location of the Safety Program

Copies of the Pacific Lutheran University Occupational Health, Safety & Accident Prevention Program Manual are located in the offices of the PLU Environmental Health & Safety Manager, Human Resources office, and all Departmental offices. Copies of applicable safety program sections will be available in each department or division. It will also be published on the safety web site ( Employee familiarity with the contents and participation by means of offering suggestions for improving work place safety is welcome and vital to an effective program.

5.0 Communications

5.1 Safety & Health Orientation and Training (WAC 296-800-14005)

Orientation should begin the first day of employment on the new job for all new employees, re-hires, part-time employees, and those transferred from another department within the University. The supervisor will instruct the employee in safety and health requirements specific to the job and identify hazards or hazardous conditions in the work environment. Training in the use of personal protective equipment required for these conditions will be provided or arranged by the supervisor and documented before the employee is required to use the equipment’. Specific training will be provided for certain jobs and kinds of equipment as required by state or federal regulations. The University has adopted specific training programs for certain hazards including, but not limited to: Chemical Hazard Communication, Laboratory Chemical Hygiene, and Bloodborne Pathogens. The supervisor or the Environmental Health & Safety Manager will document such training. The Human Resources Office will provide an introduction to University policies and rules including a general briefing of the safety program. On-going safety and health education programs will be available for all employees in an effort to increase awareness of accident causes, to improve team spirit, and to promote  acceptance of safety and health rules. First Aid/CPR training and certification will be provided and is encouraged for supervisors, emergency building coordinators, individuals in Facilities Management, and Dining Services.

5.2 Safety Meetings (WAC 296-800-13005)

Pacific Lutheran University employees in environments with moderate or greater risk of injury (as requested by the Safety Committee) will attend a monthly or weekly supervisor/employee safety meeting. The following are the main safety topics that will be covered, as needed, in the meetings:

    • Safety topics of immediate employee interest.
    • A review of any safety inspections conducted since the last safety meeting.
    • A review of any citations, to assist in the correction of hazards.
    • An evaluation of any safety concerns submitted since the last meeting to determine if the cause of the unsafe acts or conditions has been identified and corrected.
    • Other general safety or safety training topics as needed.
    • A review of injuries and contributing factors since the last meeting.

Additional unscheduled safety briefings may be called at any time when a situation warrants an immediate sharing of safety information.

5.3 Safety Bulletin Boards

To increase employee safety and health awareness, bulletin boards for safety information are located in several buildings on campus. The Safety Bulletin Boards in the following areas will display all required safety posters and emergency information.

    • Hospitality Services and Campus Restaurants
    • Facilities Management

Safety Bulletin Boards in other areas will display safety posters, emergency numbers, MSDS locations, Safety Committee information and other items as determined by the Safety Committee representative for that building.

6.0 Accident Prevention

Pacific Lutheran University actively seeks to identify hazards in the workplace before injuries occur. The University believes the best way to minimize these physical hazards is through systematic accident prevention activities including departmental/building self-inspections, inspection team surveys, and employee reporting of hazards.

It is every department’s responsibility to conduct a routine self-inspection. An inspection checklist suitable for the area must be utilized. The Environmental Health & Safety Manager can provide a checklist. Any physical hazards, unsafe practices, or problem areas must be reported immediately to the supervisor or director of the department for action. Unresolved problems resulting from the inspection will be forwarded to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager and Safety Committee for review and recommendation.

An inspection team of Safety Committee members will be appointed annually by the Chairperson to assist with safety inspections of University facilities. Their surveys will be presented to the Safety Committee for review and further recommendation to the department supervisors. Any department/building may request that the Inspection Team perform an inspection of its facilities. Findings from these inspections will be provided to the Safety Committee.

Please report physical hazards to Facilities Management in the form of a work order request. Requests may be made online ( or by telephoning the Facilities Management office at extension x7380.

Some physical hazards require significant labor or financial investments to correct. Please work with your supervisor and budget head to submit a capital project or equipment request to your Vice President for approval and allocation of funding for projects.

Report other hazards, such as improperly functioning equipment, unsafe co-workers, and inadequate procedures, to your supervisor.

Any employee who has a University or departmental safety concern is encouraged to initiate a Safety Hazard Reporting Form (Appendix B). These forms are available from the departments, the Safety Chairperson, the safety website or the Environmental Health & Safety Manager. The employee will describe the nature and location of the unsafe condition or hazard and may suggest possible corrective action. The reporting form is to be signed by the employee’s supervisor and forwarded to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager. An action team of the Safety Committee and/or the Environmental Health & Safety Manager will investigate the hazard and submit a written response to the supervisor and the employee recommending further action.

7.0 Incident Reporting and Investigation (296-800-320 to 340)

All persons with supervisory responsibility whether faculty, administration, staff, or students, have the duty and responsibility to see that all persons under their charge receive proper emergency medical attention and that a report of any accident is promptly completed and filed with the Human Resource office.

Employees must report all work-related injuries, illness, and/or property damage to the supervisor (regardless of the severity). The supervisor is responsible for investigating the accident and evaluating hazards with the objective of finding the root cause of the incident. Regardless if medical treatment is necessary, the employee and the supervisor must fill out the University’s accident report as soon as possible. Accident report forms are available from the Human Resource Office, the Environmental Health & Safety Office, and the Human Resource and Safety web sites. You can also copy it from Appendix A. Copies of each accident report will be forwarded to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager and the Safety Committee for confidential review.

7.1 Investigating Serious Accidents
    • An investigation of the cause of any incident that results in serious injuries will be conducted as soon as possible after the emergency actions are completed. The investigation will be conducted by the Environmental Health & Safety Manager, the immediate supervisor of the injured employee, witnesses, and any other person with the special expertise required to evaluate the facts relating to the cause of the incident. The findings of the investigation will be reviewed by the Safety Committee and used as the basis for recommending safety improvements. Steps must be taken to maintain the confidentiality of personal information determined to be inappropriate for public release.
    • Any accident that results in a fatality or multiple hospitalizations must be reported immediately to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager who will notify the Department of Labor and Industries at 1-800-4BE-SAFE within 8 hours. Equipment involved in such an accident will not be moved, except as is necessary to safely remove the victim and protect others, until the incident scene has been examined or released by a representative of the Department of Labor and Industries.
7.2 Record Keeping and Posting

Pacific Lutheran University maintains a record of occupational injuries and illness. Each recordable injury or illness must be entered on the OSHA 300 Log and 301 Incident Report within seven calendar days of receiving information that a recordable injury or illness has occurred.

A work related injury or illness must be recorded if it results in:

    • Death
    • Days away from work
    • Restricted work or transfer to another job
    • Medical treatment beyond first aid
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Diagnosis of a significant injury/illness by a physician or other licensed health care professional, such as work-related cases involving cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum
    • Every industrial illness.

The Environmental Health & Safety Manager will complete a summary of injuries on an OSHA 300-A form, using figures taken from the OSHA 300 log. The summary for the previous year will be posted on the safety bulletin boards from February 1 until April 30. Any employee can view the current OSHA 300-A summary upon request at any time during the year. The posted annual summary must not be altered, defaced or covered by other material.

8.0 First Aid and Automatic External Defibrillators (WAC 296-800-150)

All Campus Safety & Information Officers are First Aid and CPR trained. A complete mobile First Aid kit is located at the Campus Safety and Information Office for response anywhere on campus.

First Aid kits are available in all buildings on campus. Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are located in select areas of campus. The locations of first aid kits and AEDs will be published in the Emergency Procedures Manual and posted on the safety website.

Emergency Building Coordinators are responsible for maintaining a full supply of materials in the kits by calling the Environmental Health & Safety Manager at x7233 for replacements. Campus Safety is responsible for checking the AED batteries on a monthly basis.

The University makes available First Aid/CPR/AED training and certification for individuals in all areas of the University. Contact the Environmental Health & Safety Manager for class times.

Campus Safety will be responsible for inspecting each public access AED unit to make sure that it is fully charged and that all of the equipment is present and in working order. Departments who own their own AEDs will be responsible for the inspection and maintenance of those units. The pads will be replaced after every use.

8.1 First Aid General Guidelines
    • The purpose of first aid is to administer lifesaving techniques when absolutely necessary and to provide employees with treatment for very minor injuries. The decision to send an employee for medical treatment lies with the immediate supervisor and the employee.  Employees must be allowed to seek medical treatment, if they believe it is necessary. If the supervisor believes medical treatment is necessary, the employee should comply.
    • An injury form must be completed and submitted to Human Resources as soon as possible after an injury-causing incident has occurred. The Safety Committee will review the circumstances surrounding the injury and make recommendations to reduce the risk of future injuries. The university will not provide illness remedies to employees.
8.2 Emergency Eyewash Units

Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious chemicals and/or materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body must be provided, within the work area, for immediate emergency use. Eyewash stations shall be inspected annually by Facilities Management and flushed weekly by the occupant to ensure that they will function in an emergency.

8.3 Contact Emergency Medical Services or a Physician

The person giving first aid must:

    • Avoid panic.
    • Direct someone specifically by name to call x7911 to request emergency assistance.
    • Do only those things necessary to sustain life and minimize injury until professional
      help arrives.
    • Look for an emergency medical identification signal device and/or a card to learn
      about the victim’s needs or necessary precautions.

9.0 Emergency Procedures and Policies

Specific procedures for all emergency situations are outlined in PLU‘s Emergency Procedures Handbook. This handbook is given to all employees. Employees are expected to be familiar with these emergency responses procedures.

PLU also has an Emergency Response Plan that details the organization, responsible parties, response priorities, and recovery activities. This plan is issued to each of the departments with emergency responsibilities.

9.1 Emergency Aid

Pacific Lutheran University has an emergency medical response system composed of qualified Safety Officers in Campus Safety & Information, a campus-wide emergency number x7911, direct radio contact from Campus Safety & Information to Pierce County emergency services and First Aid trained personnel in most buildings. The EMS is a coordinated means of responding to any accident or sudden illness on campus. In the event of any medical emergency or accident, a bystander must call Campus Safety & Information at 7911. A Campus Safety & Information Officer will respond immediately, assess the situation, and call for emergency medical assistance from Central Pierce Fire and Rescue as necessary. Bystanders may provide immediate aid to an injured person, such as artificial respiration, CPR, or control of bleeding. Such treatment is considered voluntary emergency assistance until professional emergency medical aid arrives.

10.0 Fire Regulations

Pacific Lutheran University will follow all Pierce County fire regulations. Questions concerning regulations may be addressed to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager.

10.1 Notification and Evacuation

All fires, no matter how small, should be reported at once to the Campus Safety & Information Office at x7911 even if the fire is handled locally. If a fire occurs in any University location or a fire alarm sounds, all occupants of the building must leave the area using the nearest safe departure route. If the alarm has not sounded, activate the pull station as you exit the building. Campus Safety & Information should be notified immediately by calling x7911 or in person at Harstad Hall, after evacuating the building.
Go to your building emergency assembly point and check in with the emergency building coordinator. No one may re-enter the building until instructed by Fire Department personnel, Campus Safety & Information Officer, or other identified emergency response personnel.

10.2 Emergency Exits

Emergency exits are to be clearly marked. All emergency exits must be kept clear of obstructions at all times. Panic hardware (push latches on doors) must be kept in operating order. Exit doors cannot be chained shut when people are in an area.

10.3 Fire Doors

Self-closing fire doors installed for fire protection may not be blocked or wedged in the open position as a personal convenience or to improve ventilation. Fire doors typically open onto main hallways or staircases. Some self-closing doors have devices that hold open the door and release during a fire. These doors may be left open as long as the door is not prevented from closing as it is designed. All personnel should be conscious of this hazard and make a specific effort to ensure these doors remain closed.

10.4 Fire Extinguishers:

Fire extinguishers are regularly inspected to keep them ready for emergency use. Facilities Management should be called if any extinguisher or fire hose is either used for a fire or discharged maliciously so it can be recharged or replaced. Only persons who have been trained in the use of fire extinguishers are expected to use the extinguishers during an emergency. The University provides training for all interested employees. All untrained individuals should evacuate the area immediately and call x7911 for fire response.

11.0 Hazardous Materials

If a flammable or noxious gas is present in an emergency, the area must be evacuated. Do not attempt to open windows. Campus Safety & Information should be notified from a phone outside the affected area.

If a hazardous material is a contributing factor in an emergency, information on the substance will be available on the material safety data sheet (MSDS). The MSDS may be obtained from the Environmental Health & Safety Manager’s office, from the department that “owns” the material, or they can often be found on the manufacturer’s website. Contact Campus Safety & Information immediately at x7911. Relay MSDS emergency treatment procedures for the specific hazardous material to emergency medical, fire, or other personnel as needed.

12.0 Corrective Action, Drug and Alcohol Use, Pets in the Workplace, Smoking, and Violence Prevention

There are other university policies, such as Corrective Action, Drug and Alcohol Use, Pets in the Workplace, Smoking, with which employees are expected to comply that are not contained in this manual. Please review the Personnel Manual and Campus Safety & Information web site for other safety policies that may apply to your work or learning environment.