Building Safety


In the event of an emergency evacuation, all doors, stairways, corridors, and other means of egress must be kept free of any kind of obstruction. In addition, these areas may not be used for equipment and storage.

Only the Physical Plant Lock Shop can determine what type of locking device is acceptable on an exit. Dead-bolts are not permissible at exits. If there are any questions or concerns about locking devices, contact Service Operations at 656-2560.


Only designated areas can be used for storage. Do not use machine, electrical, or transformer rooms for storage. These areas are prime places for fires and explosions.

Indoor Air Quality Concerns

Indoor air quality is a critical factor in employee health, comfort and productivity. It is influenced by many factors, including the quality of the outside air, the operations in the workspace itself, maintenance of the ventilation system, and operation of the heating and cooling system. When concerns arise from indoor air quality, each of these factors must be investigated in order to determine the cause of the problem.

The Physical Plant Department and Risk Management ESF staff work jointly with University employees and their supervisors to resolve indoor air quality complaints as soon as they arise. If the problem is one that cannot be immediately resolved and is interfering with productivity and/or employees feel sick, ESF staff (in consult with supervisors) may advise employees to leave the work space and file a workers’ compensation First Report of Injury form to reserve their rights under workers’ compensation.

Assessment of the workspace air quality involves various measurement tools: From time to time, outside consultants may be utilized to assist with indoor air quality issues that cannot be easily resolved. In case of emergencies such as fires, gas leaks and large chemical spills, immediately call Police Services from an on-campus phone at 911. Police Services has 24-hour contact numbers for Risk Management and Physical Plant staff, if their response is needed.

For more information about Indoor Air Quality Concern Response Procedure, see:


All renovation, remodeling, and construction projects must be coordinated through Physical Plant Department and/or Architectural & Engineering Services. Both of these departments have professional staff that will assure that all the proper permits are obtained, that qualified personnel perform the work.


Asbestos is a natural, fibrous material commonly used until the mid-1970s for fireproofing as well as for making cement, asphalt, and pipe insulation. Building materials at UVM most likely to contain asbestos include pipe insulation and sprayed- or troweled- on insulation on steel beams and ceilings. While asbestos-containing materials serve a wide variety of very useful purposes, it has been determined that asbestos fibers are potentially dangerous when they are in a loose condition and become airborne. Therefore, it is important not to disturb intact material. In the event unacceptable levels of airborne fibers are detected through ongoing testing, affected persons will be informed and appropriate measures taken to protect health and safety. For additional information regarding asbestos, contact the Physical Plant Training and Compliance Office at 764-6613. This office has a professional team who use state of the art procedures and practices to perform safely managed abatement activities in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Lead Paint

Lead is a soft, bluish-grey metal that is naturally occurring in small amounts in our environment. It can enter the body in two ways: breathing in lead particles or swallowing lead particles that may come in contact with food or beverages.

Many older paints contain lead pigments, which are a potential health hazard. As paint is removed by washing or scraping, employees must make sure no living creature will ingest or inhale lead dust. Children and pregnant women should not risk any exposure. Paint chips must be caught in a drop cloth and disposed of properly.

The Physical Plant Training and Compliance Office is in charge of all lead paint removal during building renovations, upgrades and demolitions; this includes the hiring of contractors to do lead paint removal. In addition to applying engineering controls such as ventilation, isolation and enclosures, the use of safe work practices must be applied when working with lead paint removal.

Proper respiratory protection and personal protective equipment must be worn. Never leave food or drinks in a work area with potential lead exposure. Any questions regarding lead paint or its removal should be directed to the Physical Plant Training and Compliance Office at 764-6613 or the CPR shop at 656-4341.

More information about Asbestos and Lead can be found here.