Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

University Policy: 
Executive Summary: 

The University voluntarily engages in a compliance program with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina. This program is designed to provide a safe and healthy working, teaching and learning environment, as well as an atmosphere of safety and health awareness. This policy delegates responsibilities for compliance, implementation, and planning and financing.

I. Purpose

To define the policy of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte concerning the environmental health and safety of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the University campus and to delegate responsibilities for assuring compliance with appropriate standards for environmental health and safety.

II. Policy

The University shall engage in a program of voluntary compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina and with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and codes.  To be effective, this program must be proactive instead of reactive and must embody the proper attitudes toward injury, illness, and property damage prevention on the part of all members of and visitors to the University community.  Each member of the University community must understand that environmental health and safety is not an additional responsibility, but rather that it is an integral part of every task.  If any task is not being performed safely, it must be stopped and altered so that it can be performed safely.    The program shall be designed to provide not only a safe and healthy working, teaching, and learning environment, but also an atmosphere of safety and health awareness through training and employee and student involvement.  The participation and earnest cooperation of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors shall be actively encouraged.

III. Procedures

All members of and visitors to the University community share the responsibility to provide and maintain a safe working, teaching, and learning environment and to reduce or eliminate known hazards.  Each individual is expected to exercise appropriate care in the conduct of their activities to preserve the safety and health of self and others.  

Certain areas of University activity have been identified as requiring special attention to environmental health and safety considerations.  Such areas and activities have unique programs or rules and may have specialized tools, equipment, or training programs. Each of these special features is designed to increase safety and reduce the risk of injury to persons or property. Any violation or failure to adhere to workplace safety standards may subject an employee or student to appropriate disciplinary action.  

All members and visitors to the University community are expected to observe these requirements. The supervisor is responsible for providing safe working conditions, knowing environmental health and safety guidelines, investigating accidents, reporting accidents and unsafe conditions, following up/correcting unsafe working conditions, enforcing EHS standards, and supplying appropriate equipment and training.  Questions related to environmental health and safety matters should be directed initially to a supervisor in charge of the particular area.

IV. Responsibilities

A.  Executive Authority and Responsibility

  1. As chief executive officer, the Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has legal responsibility for compliance with the occupational safety and health standards at the University and for all reports required.
  2. The Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs (VCBA) is delegated responsibility for proper administration, implementation, and enforcement of the provisions of these regulations.  The day-to-day administration of these responsibilities is further delegated to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Safety and Security (AVC, S&S).

B.  Administrative Responsibility

1.  Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Director.  The Director of EHS is responsible for planning and recommending programs that adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations pertaining to environmental health and safety.  In addition, the Director of EHS will provide assistance to supervisors for implementation of environmental health and safety programs in their areas.  The Director of EHS also maintains appropriate accident records and publishes such reports as may be required or deemed necessary.  

The Director of EHS will have the authority to curtail or stop work posing a clear and imminent danger to the health or safety of the University community.  After curtailing or stopping work, the Director of EHS will immediately notify the appropriate supervisor(s).  If the situation cannot be corrected immediately and/or a disagreement arises about how to resolve the issue, the Director of EHS shall seek additional consultation with departmental managers; the AVC, S&S; and the VCBA.   This position will report to the VCBA through the AVC, S&S.  

2.  Safety Committees.  A University Health and Safety Committee representing different areas of the University community shall be appointed by the Chancellor.  The Committee shall be responsible for University-wide policy issues and serve as an advisory unit to the AVC, S&S on such matters.  

It will also be the responsibility of the office of EHS to perform workplace inspections, review injury and accident records, initiate training initiatives, review specific departmental training records, and perform other appropriate functions as required.  Periodic findings on all of the above will be reported to the Health and Safety Committee.  

Additional safety committees may be called together to address specific safety and health issues (e.g.., biosafety, radiation safety, and chemical safety).  Appointments to such committees shall be made by the Chancellor or their designee, and the candidates shall be chosen from areas of the campus community affected by those safety/health issue(s).

C.  Implementation

Each employee shall adhere to all safety policies, programs, procedures, and practices while performing their duties in a safe manner.  Employees are responsible for notifying their immediate supervisors of unsafe working conditions, potential hazards, and accidents as soon as possible.  Failure to adhere to established policies, programs, procedures, and/or work practices may subject an employee to immediate disciplinary action.  Any questions relating to safety matters should be directed initially to the manager in charge of the particular area of operations.   

The University recognizes its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for students and visitors.  Therefore, all members of the University community, including faculty, staff, students, visitors, and outside contractors are responsible for adhering to all posted safety requirements and federal/state requirements and for complying with any protocol of which they might be informed by University officials.

 The University encourages students and visitors to report unsafe conditions to the Environmental Health and Safety Office.    An important part of any successful safety program is the individual workplace supervisor, be it the faculty member in the classroom, laboratory, or shop; the maintenance foreman on the job; or the administrative department head in an office.  Supervisors must support safety and health as models to those they supervise or instruct.  

It is the responsibility of each department manager to enforce environmental health and safety standards and to supply appropriate equipment and training.  The department manager will furnish such equipment and training as deemed necessary to provide the mandatory protection of employees and students.  It is also the responsibility of each department to require the use of all such equipment, whenever needed, and invoke disciplinary action or administrative sanction in cases of failure to do so.  Departments are encouraged to appoint their own safety committee and safety representative in consultation with the University EHS Director to deal with area safety on a regular basis.  The University Health and Safety Committee shall provide for effective communication with all operational unit safety committees operating throughout the campus.

D.  Planning and Financing

While it is recognized that the individual department or operating unit is largely responsible for developing and fostering proper attitudes toward safety, it is also important that each department or operating unit plan for and develop safe procedures, work practices, and safe working areas for all those under supervision.   Safety considerations must become a vital part of budget planning for all new and existing programs.  Responsibility for planning and development of budget requests for departmental safety programs shall rest with the individual department or operating unit.  The Director of EHS or their designee shall serve as a resource person to departments in the interpretation of standards as they affect each of the workplaces on campus, making recommendations for the most expeditious and economical means to bring the areas into compliance.   With recommendations from the Director of EHS; the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management; the AVC, S&S; and the University Health and Safety Committee, final prioritization of funding for safety compliance rests with the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs.    The Director of EHS will prepare each calendar year an annual report summarizing the significant activities and accomplishments of the department to include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Risk assessments conducted and findings
  2. Summary of training conducted by EHS
  3. Summary of number of any investigations conducted by an outside agency
  4. Summary of total accident investigations
  5. Summary of total safety assessments
  6. Summary of total inspections
  7. Forecast of operating units needing more health and safety attention
  8. Forecast of resource needs

* Imminent Danger: Any condition or practice in a place of employment which are such that a danger exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately unless actions are taken to mitigate the effects of the hazard and/or remove employees from the hazard.  

Revision History: 
  • Initially approved July 25, 1977
  • Revised June 23, 1987
  • April 25, 1997
  • September 23, 2010
  • Updated January 4, 2021
  • Updated July 19, 2021

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office: Business Affairs