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Safety Evaluations

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Safety Evaluations Process

Information regarding the evaluation and reporting process. To close out evaluation discrepancies on our electronic system, click here.

Scope

All university operations and activities will be evaluated on a prioritized basis to determine:

  • Compliance with policies, procedures, standards, laws, and regulations.
  • The adequacy of controls employed to protect faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
  • The adequacy of risk management strategies to include communication of departmental compliance expectations to employees.

Priorities are determined based on the hazards that are present in the space or that are associated with the operation, the frequency and severity of the hazard exposure, and the compliance status based on past inspections. Program specific evaluations are also performed for those departments who enter confined spaces, perform work on energized electrical systems, perform lockout/tagout operations, or who perform work involving asbestos materials.

Evaluation process

Environmental Health & Safety evaluators are assigned to various departments and/or buildings based upon the primary hazards associated with the facilities or operations and the related health and safety program, such as:

  • Biological laboratories and research
  • Chemical laboratories and research
  • The use of ionizing radiation and/or nonionizing radiation in laboratories and research
  • Fire and Life Safety
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Facilities and operations are reviewed for compliance to established criteria as defined in the Universal Checklist.

This checklist can also be used by departmental personnel to perform self-inspections as required by the Health and Safety Policy.

Closing conference

If significant issues are identified, a closing conference may be scheduled with the departmental executive and/or designee to discuss findings and expectations, and assist the department with prioritizing their response activities based upon the severity of risk, cost, and other factors.

Reporting

A formal report is provided to the individual(s) responsible for the space or operation. Environmental Health & Safety requests that a formal, written response be provided within 45 days upon receipt of the report. If a response is not received, Environmental Health & Safety will contact the responsible authority again as well as the departmental executive or designee. If a response is still not received, the issue will be escalated to the appropriate Dean, Vice President or other authority.

Note: Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) exposures fall outside of the normally scheduled inspections and must be addressed immediately.

Re-evaluations

Re-evaluations of departments will be based upon the severity or risk and/or level of noncompliance as determined by the evaluation findings. High-risk departments may be re-evaluated annually or bi-annually. Medium risk departments will be placed on a 2-to-3-year schedule. Low-risk departments will be re-evaluated every four or five years.

Note: Where standards or regulations require a more frequent focused program inspection or review, such review may be conducted separate from the formal evaluation, when necessary.


Documents and Resources

The following summary of documents and resources are provided to assist departments in developing a health and safety program and to prepare for upcoming evaluations. Such documentation may be requested for review during onsite visits, and are intended to provide specific guidance to departments in managing their health and safety efforts.

  • The Health and Safety Policy, No. 1005, reaffirms the university's commitment to safety and good environmental stewardship and establishes a uniform system to help individuals, departments, and units meet their health and safety responsibilities.
  • The Universal Checklist provides detailed requirements for each program area that will be evaluated. It may be customized and used by departments to conduct self-inspections, as required by the Health and Safety Policy.
  • The Hazard Assessment Form documents existing or potential hazards in the work area where personal protective equipment (PPE) is required to be worn (i.e. hazards have not been eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by engineering or administrative controls).
  • Departments must identify what training is required for personnel based upon hazard exposures and work activities, such as the operation of certain equipment (e.g. x-rays, forklifts, aerial lifts, etc.).
    • Personnel may register for training online.
  • Departments that have or use hazardous chemicals must have related information and documentation.

Contact Information

Phone: 540-231-3600
Email: safety@vt.edu