Policy Number: 4-012

Environmental Health and Safety

Category: Business Affairs

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Business Affairs

Responsible Office: Environmental Health and Safety

  • 1. Purpose
    The purpose of this Policy is to establish health and safety guidelines for all educational, research, and other activities occurring on the University of Florida’s (University) Campus, for the benefit of the University community, its visitors, and the environment. Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) has the authority to develop, maintain, and enforce EH&S policies, procedures, and guidelines, and to enforce compliance with its policies, procedures, and guidelines.
  • 2. Applicability
    This Policy applies to all University faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and guests on or within the University campus as defined below.
  • 3. Definitions
    • Campus: any land or building within the state of Florida which is owned, occupied, or controlled by the University.
    • Incident: Any near miss, fire, environmental spill or release, property damage, exposure, or injury.
    • EH&S Guidelines: Documents, information sheets or posters, website materials, and training information created or supplied by EH&S to reference or communicate requirements for Campus. The EH&S Guidelines inform members of the University community of the policies and procedures they should follow to comply with applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, and codes, including applicable policies and procedures of the University.
  • 4. Policy Statement
    The University of Florida is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe working and learning environment, and to safeguarding the environment in all University activities. The University will comply with all applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, policies, and procedures through programs and operations implemented by EH&S.
    • 4.1 Responsibilities
      Compliance with laws, regulations, policies, and procedures—both external and internal to the University—is a shared responsibility of all University faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and guests as set forth below.
      • 4.1.1 EH&S
        EH&S is responsible for, without limitation, the following:
        • A. Developing safety programs, manuals, EH&S Guidelines, and training materials to promote a safe and healthy work environment, align with regulatory requirements, and ensure environmental stewardship;
        • B. Monitoring compliance with all applicable rules and procedures, guidelines, regulations, codes, and laws;
        • C. Identifying potentially hazardous conditions through regular inspections of University facilities, including, but not limited to, laboratories, clinics, buildings, construction sites, animal use facilities, greenhouses, machine shops, maintenance areas, classrooms, and offices;
        • D. Recommending appropriate corrective actions, best safety practices, and improvements to existing measures;
        • E. Providing timely and effective training;
        • F. Decommissioning laboratories and assisting employees with the proper disposal of chemical, biological and radioactive waste;
        • G. Providing timely Incident responses and investigations;
        • H. Assisting and advising departments and units to promote a safe work environment;
        • I. Assisting employees with assessing hazardous job tasks and identifying workplace controls, procedures, and personal protective equipment needed to protect employees;
        • J. Communicating with external agencies and regulatory bodies, as appropriate, on behalf of the University;
        • K. Maintaining building and fire code compliance for all Campus buildings and construction sites;
        • L. Partnering with academic units and University stakeholders to promote safety and compliance; and
        • M. Monitoring effectiveness of and compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and procedures, including this Policy.
      • 4.1.2 Committees
        The following University committees are responsible for developing policy and providing recommendations to senior management and EH&S on matters of safety and the environment:
        • A. Environmental Health and Safety Committee;
        • B. Institutional Biosafety Committee;
        • C. Radiation Control Committee;
        • D. Laser Safety Subcommittee;
        • E. Occupational Medicine Advisory Board; and
        • F. Diving Safety Committee
      • 4.1.3 Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Center Directors and Leads
        Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, and Center Directors and Leads are responsible for:
        • A. Establishing, promoting and maintaining a culture of safety within University colleges, departments, and units;
        • B. Monitoring and ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and procedures, including EH&S guidelines, protocols, and other directives;
        • C. Educating their constituents concerning University guidelines, policies and procedures regarding environmental health and safety;
        • D. Training their constituents concerning potential hazards in their work spaces;
        • E. Consulting with EH&S to develop hazard mitigation strategies;
        • F. Reporting all injuries and incidents and supporting any EH&S investigation as needed; and
        • G. Collaborating with EH&S to resolve major noncompliance issues or repeat findings.
      • 4.1.4 Principal Investigators, Lab Managers, or Supervisors
        Principal investigators, lab managers, or supervisors are responsible for:
        • A. Requiring all personnel and operations in their area to comply with environmental health and safety laws and regulations;
        • B. Analyzing work procedures to identify hazards and ensure measures are implemented to eliminate or control those hazards;
        • C. Identifying all workplace hazards and educating all individuals in their work spaces—including visitors, volunteers, contractors, and vendors—concerning EH&S policies and procedures;
        • D. Supporting the lab staff and EH&S’s efforts to develop and evolve a culture of safety;
        • E. Providing and requiring proper use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment;
        • F. Requiring that all lab personnel and affiliates are adequately trained and have completed all EH&S and job specific training;
        • G. Reporting all injuries, incidents, and safety concerns and assisting EH&S with investigating and mitigating incidents consistent with University procedures;
        • H. Assisting EH&S staff with safety inspections in their operations and taking prompt actions to fix any noted deficiencies; and
        • I. Maintaining a proper chemical inventory which is updated annually or whenever significant changes occur.
      • 4.1.5 Employees, Lab Workers, Students, Visitors, Volunteers, or Trainees
        Employees, lab workers, students, visitors, or trainees are responsible for:
        • A. Reading, understanding, and following all safety guidelines, policies and procedures that apply to their work area;
        • B. Completing all appropriate safety trainings provided by EH&S or the University;
        • C. Utilizing available and proper engineering and administrative controls and appropriate personal protective equipment;
        • D. Developing good personal work area safety habits, practicing and supporting a culture of safety, and promoting good housekeeping practices in their work area;
        • E. Reporting all injuries and Incidents consistent with University procedures;
        • F. Reporting unsafe practices and hazardous conditions to the work area supervisor; and
        • G. Participating and cooperating with Incident investigations.
      • 4.1.6 Contractors
        Contractors are responsible for:
        • A. Following all applicable laws and regulations including, but not limited to, local, state, and federal;
        • B. Following applicable University regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines concerning environmental health and safety;
        • C. Reporting all Incidents immediately to the project manager, supervisor, or hiring manager; and
        • D. Protecting the University community from injury and property from damage in their work areas.
    • 4.2 EH&S Inspection Authority
      The University authorizes EH&S to conduct inspections and audits to ensure safe practices and compliance with various environmental health and safety laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. In carrying out this responsibility, EH&S may access all buildings and facilities on Campus to inspect, sample, and monitor conditions; require appropriate corrective actions; and develop and implement new safety programs. EH&S may consult with external agencies and regulatory bodies, as necessary and appropriate, on behalf of the University.
    • 4.3 Suspend, Restrict, or Close Unsafe Operations
      The University authorizes the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or their designee, to immediately suspend, restrict, or close any operation that presents:
      • A. an immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of persons, property, or the environment;
      • B. a serious violation or repeated violations of University requirements or standards; or
      • C. a clear or threatened violation of regulatory codes, laws, or requirements.
    • In the event EH&S orders the termination of an activity or operation, EH&S will immediately communicate the issue or violation to the personnel involved and their direct supervisor. If EH&S orders the termination of a contractor activity or operation, EH&S will notify the project manager and the associated University department. EH&S will also advise the department or center head, and the appropriate regulatory agency, as required by law.
    • The suspended activity may be resumed with the approval of the EH&S Director, their designee, or a position identified in regulation, in consultation with the Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and other University administration as appropriate.
    • 4.4 Policy Violations
      Failure to comply with the requirements of this Policy may result in the suspension of operations (as detailed above in section 4.3) or in a disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.
  • 5. References and Related Information


History: New 8-3-2023