University of Vermont

Department of Risk Management & Safety

Workplace Safety

Environmental Safety and Health Policy

Implementation Responsibilities: Supervisors

This category includes department chairs, faculty and other employees with direct oversight of University activities.

General Responsibilities

  • Communicate to employees, contractors, students and visitors that safety, health, and concern for the environment are high priorities on the UVM campus and that everyone shares the obligation to work in a safe, healthy and environmentally protective manner.

  • Analyze work procedures to identify hazards; and to make sure measures are implemented to eliminate or institute measures to minimize those hazards.

  • Provide information about workplace hazards and safety and health related procedures to employees, contractors, students and visitors.
  • Supply the proper safety equipment to individuals working in their operations.
  • Monitor that safety and health responsibilities are carried out by everyone working under their supervision, including contractors.
  • Ensure that workplace safety inspections are performed regularly, records are kept, and any deficiencies identified in self-assessments or other inspections are addressed.
  • Encourage prompt reporting of health and safety problems without fear of reprisal.
  • Stop work being carried out under their authority if they believe that continuation of the work poses an imminent danger to the safety or health of people in the vicinity. If the situation cannot be corrected immediately, the supervisor must notify the Chair or Director under whose responsibility the work is being performed.

Specific Responsibilities

Training to ensure that everyone working in their operations is trained to identify and mitigate potential hazards. Specifically, supervisors are responsible for:

  • Determine appropriate training requirements for those working under their supervision, in consultation with the Risk Management Department and Radiation Safety Office.
  • Provide training, assisted by the Risk Management Department and Radiation Safety Office. Additional curriculum may need to be developed when a new process or equipment are introduced.
  • Ensure that work is performed only by persons who have received the proper training.
  • Document all required training.

Required Regulatory Programs:

Implement procedures and practices to carry out the following OSHA required programs in their operations. (To the extent the programs are being implemented at the departmental level, supervisors need not duplicate the departmental efforts, but should contribute to them as necessary.)

  • Chemical Right-to-Know Program: Except in laboratories, a Hazard Communication Program is required where hazardous materials are used or stored.
  • Chemical Hygiene Program for Laboratories: Ensure that a Chemical Hygiene Plan for laboratory safety is developed and implemented.
  • Exposure Control Plan for Bloodborne Pathogens: Determine whether individuals are at risk and arrange for training if they are.
  • Other OSHA requirements that apply to workplace operations, including Lock-Out/Tag-Out, Confined Space Management, and Hearing Conservation.

Use of Special Materials:

Additional restrictions apply to the use of special materials, such as radioactive materials, recombinant DNA and infectious agents. The Supervisor is responsible for:

  • Knowing which people under their supervision use any of these materials.
  • Assessing the level of precaution necessary when using these materials.
  • Obtaining required authorizations or submitting the required registration information, as applicable, for special materials.

Emergency Response and Training:

Contribute information as needed for the development of the unit's plan; ensure that those working in her or his operations know about the plan; and communicate the importance of participating in drills. Prepare for and report immediately to the UVM Police Department any hazardous material spills or releases that could result in exposure of individuals or in a release outside the laboratory or other location where these materials are stored or used.

Hazardous Waste Minimization and Disposal:

Ensure that work being carried out in their operations is consistent with campus hazardous waste source reduction and management. Inform employees and students that hazardous materials may not be disposed of via the sewer system, regular trash, fume hoods; and to stress the importance of adherence to legal and acceptable disposal methods.


Many of the specific activities described in this section above may be delegated to a laboratory manager, or other person capable of carrying out those activities. While this work may be delegated, the supervisor retains the responsibility for ensuring that required programs are implemented and required duties are carried out in an appropriate manner.

Directors and Chairs may entrust the details of program implementation to department faculty, staff, department safety officers, or other appropriate persons within the department or unit; however, the ultimate responsibility for implementing these programs at the academic department/administrative unit level remains with the Directors and Chairs.

Last modified February 06 2009 03:08 PM

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