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Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Safety and Security Program at ECU


To help ensure a safe, healthful and secure campus environment, the University has established comprehensive safety and security programs.  These efforts are promoted by the Chancellor in the following University safety policy statement:  "It is the goal of the University and its employees to ensure that our educati0onal programs and all other activities protect and promote the health and safety of our students, employees, patients, campus visitors, and the environment".  the Chancellor has given the East Carolina University Police Department responsibility for general security and public safety on campus, particularly as it relates to criminal acts.  Similarly, the Offices of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and Prospective Health (PH) have been given responsibility for dealing with non-criminal acts that may affect the health and safety of the campus community and environment.  The safety and security programs are administered at the director level and efforts are coordinated with all levels of the administration, including executive management and the Chancellor of the University.  The offices of Risk Management, Compliance, and University Attorney provide key support to the programs.  A variety of committees and key community members advise the directors on program needs.  Programs are implemented through a variety of instructional techniques from brochures and policies to web-based and live training formats.  Safety and security is a shared responsibility among all members of the campus community.


SAFETY


The Offices of Environmental Health and Safety and Prospective Health operate in a collaborative manner with a number of university committees and the campus community to provide policies, educational opportunities, program management and consultative services that support the mission of the University through the goal of a safe, healthful and sustainable campus environment.  The overall success of the safety and environmental programs depends upon the conscientious and collaborative efforts of faculty, management, supervisors, individual employees and students.  Observing safety and environmental policies in the performance of their work and study is a fundamental and essential responsibility of every member of the campus community.  Failure to follow or enforce safety and environmental policies will be handled in accordance with the applicable ECU Disciplinary Policy.  It is imperative that all employees actively promote and support this policy by observing applicable rules and continuously improving their safety and environmental skills through taking advantage of available training and resources.  Employees are further encouraged to report any unsafe conditions to their supervisors, Prospective Health or Environmental Health & Safety.

Through the Offices of Environmental Health and Safety and Prospective Health, the University employs a staff of safety, health, emergency and environmental professionals to develop policies and procedures, provide educational opportunities, conduct periodic audits and inspections of all campus facilities and departments and respond to applicable service requests and concerns.  Safety committee and key campus community members provide the safety offices with advice and guidance related to policy and program matters.  A network of over 100 departmental safety representatives (one for each department) has been established for the purpose of relaying safety information between department personnel and the safety directors.  In addition, these individuals help monitor the safety program in their area and report departmental safety concerns to EH&S and PH.  University employees who observe a health hazard or unsafe conditions are encouraged to notify their departmental safety representative, supervisor, EH&S or Prospective Health.  The safety offices guarantee confidentiality, timely response, and appropriate action to help ensure compliance with all applicable laws, codes, regulations and guidelines.

 

Environmental Health and Safety and Prospective Health are tasked with managing a comprehensive safety and environmental compliance programs, which encompasses such elements as biological safety, infection control, radiation safety, employee health, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, emergency coordination, environmental management and workers' compensation.  Prospective Health maintains campus-wide authority for biological safety, infection control, radiation safety, and employee health programs.  Environmental Health and Safety manages campus-wide programs for emergency coordination, environmental management, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, and workers' compensation.  The following offers an overview of the key program components.

 

Safety Committees:  There are several University committees charge with safety and environmental advice and review.  These committees are comprised of faculty and staff with expertise in safety and environmental topics or significant stake in the program.  The Environmental Safety Committee helps promote safety and environmental compliance across campus and advises the Office of Environmental Health and Safety on policy development and implementation.  The committee is involved in such areas as workers' compensation, accident prevention, occupational safety, fire and life safety, laboratory safety, environmental management, and emergency preparedness.  The Brody School of Medicine Safety Committee and Risk Management Committee have broad-based safety oversight at the Brody School of Medicine due to their specialized operations and their pursuit of accreditation through the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).  The Institutional Biosafety Committee is charged with promoting the safest research use of biohazardous an infectious agents and recombinant DNA for all members of the University community.  The Radiation Safety Committee reviews and approves proposals for clinical and research activities involving radiation at the University and Vidant Medical Center.  The Infection Control Committee works cooperatively with personnel of Vidant Medical Center to develop infection control guidelines for University clinical areas.  The Animal Care and Use Committee assures University adherence to all state and federal animal cage regulations.  In addition to the above-mentioned committees, a number of departments have established their own unit safety committees to help implement programs and minimize deficiencies specific to their operations.  Such committees exist within Facilities Services, Housekeeping, the School of Art, and the Department of Chemistry, just to name a few.

 

Safety Policies, Regulations and Rules:  Prospective Health and EH&S policies and other resource information are available on the Prospective Health web site at www.ecu.edu/prospectivehealth and the EH&S web site at www.ecu.edu/oehs.  These policies are under periodic review and update by EH&S, Prospective Health, various safety and environmental committees and stakeholders.  New policies are added each year based on departmental priorities and as new issues arise.  For example, the laboratory safety program recently underwent a comprehensive revision based on customer and staff feedback, while a new ergonomics program is being developed to meet this emerging need.  As part of the Brody School of Medicine initiative to become JCAHO accredited, specific management plans are being developed and policies are being developed and updated as needed.  The intent is to utilize this process to develop and update all campus-wide plans, policies and programs.  The JCAHO safety system will require policy reviews and program evaluation schedules that will also be implemented campus-wide.

 

Renovation and Construction Review:  Prospective Health and EH&S have input into the ECU Facilities Services construction standards document, repair and renovation program and capital planning processes to ensure facilities are made safer through the installation of the appropriate safety equipment and proper egress.  All plans for construction and/or renovation projects undergo a review by a number of University personnel representing Facilities Services, Facilities Planning Design and Construction, Housekeeping, Information Technology and Computing Services, Telecommunications, ECU Police, Materials Management, Environmental Health & Safety and affected building occupants.  Prospective Health and EH&S review the plans of compliance with EPA, OSHA, NFPA and other applicable requirements.  These plans must then undergo further approval by the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Office of State Construction.  Once the project is completed by the contractor, EH&S and many of the above-mentioned groups conduct a final inspection and require all deficiencies to be corrected prior to allowing occupancy.

 

Training:  A variety of safety training is provided throughout the year for applicable departments through an array of methods, including quarterly newsletters, e-mail announcements, computer-based training, web-based training, live presentation and fact sheets distributed for discussion during staff meetings.  The training needs for each department have been determined through regulatory review, job hazard analysis and incident trend analysis.  These training requirements are outlined in the EH&S training matrix.  This program is currently under review for possible expansion.

 

New university employees are familiarized with the safety policy and overall program, hazard communication policy and emergency evacuation procedures during initial employee orientation.  This training is also under revision to further expand its scope.  A brief overview of the safety and environmental program is provided during New Faculty Research Orientation in the fall semester.  In addition, a section on safety and environmental compliance is provided in the Administrative Manager training program sponsored by Human Resources.

 

Housing Services staff are trained in fire and life safety prior to each fall semester.  In the fall semester, these trained Housing Services staff provide similar fire and safety training to resident students.

 

Safety and Industrial Hygiene:  This unit covers fire and life safety, industrial hygiene and safety, which cover specific areas as asbestos control, facility safety inspections, personal protective equipment, shop safety, clinical safety, lab safety and ergonomics.

 

In March of 1991, North Carolina adopted the Federal Hazard Communication Standard.  This standard was developed to ensure that employees working with any hazardous chemical are aware of the hazards and the necessary protections.  General training is provided by EH&S during new employee orientation.  Supervisors then must provide additional training specific to the hazardous chemicals that are used in their area prior to allowing employees to work with those materials.  The supervisor also informs the employee of the location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and chemical inventory record are required to be maintained within the department.  A MSDS is required to be maintained for every hazardous chemical onsite and must be accessible to every employee.

 

The OSHA Lab Standard was promulgated to ensure that hazardous chemicals are managed properly within the laboratory environment.  ECU complies with this standard by providing web-based and periodic live training and maintaining a chemical hygiene plan that lab personnel must follow.  Lab personnel are required to ensure that all lab activities are conducted safely.  This process involves completing the necessary research proposal forms, developing a lab safety plan, attending training and consulting with EH&S or Prospective Health if there are questions.  The Offices of Prospective Health and EH&S conduct exhaust hood test and annual inspection of all laboratories to identify chemical, biological, radiation or physical deficiencies.  Deficiencies are identified, reported to the department head and followed to completion by EH&S until written verification of correction is received or the item is observed corrected.

 

Environmental Health and Safety conducts and annual life safety inspection of all campus facilities.  In addition, the North Carolina Department of Insurance conducts a life safety inspection and the NC Department of ENv9ironment and Natural Resources conducts a health inspection of all campus facilities on an annual basis.  Facilities Services and EH&S accompany these agencies on their inspections to ensure understanding of the deficiencies identified by the inspectors and also as an opportunity to conduct an additional internal inspection.  A full-time EH&S staff member, together with the departmental safety representative, performs these life safety inspections as the primary focus of their job.  Deficiencies are identified, reported to the department head and followed to completion by EH&S until written verification of correction is received or the item is observed corrected.

 

Employee Health:  Employee Health in the Office of Prospective Health provides medical treatment as requested by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for workers' compensation injuries and illnesses, assuring that work related injuries and illnesses are treated in a timely and professional manner and that needed referrals and rehabilitation are scheduled.  The treating physician or PA sets necessary work restrictions, and assures that satisfactory results are met before the patient is released.  We that needed treatment is being carried out to meet the individuals needs of each patient.

 

ECU Employee Health also conducts surveillance physicals as prescribed by OSHA such as:  hazmat, asbestos, and respiratory clearance for ECU employees who work in conditions that require this type of service as designated by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.  Physicals are conducted for ECU divers to assure they meet the medical standards set by the ECU Diving office.  Employee Health maintains records for OSHA to document that the requirements are met.

 

Infection Control:  The Office of Prospective Health's Infection Control unit is involved in minimizing the spread of microbials within clinical areas.  This includes the following:  bloodborne pathogens and tuberculosis education, communicable and infectious diseases, outside education endeavors such as community involvement and Eastern AHEC, community and state committee involvement regarding infectious diseases, inspections for follow-up of infection control practices and development, implementation and maintenance of the infection control manual.

 

Biological Safety:  The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is the core of the biosafety program at ECU.  Any research project that involves the use of potentially infectious materials must be declared and registered with the IBC.  This also includes projects involving gene therapy.  The IBC reviews the protocols and ensures that the materials are handled properly and that appropriate training takes place.  Biological safety specific training is also offered for bloodborne pathogens, infectious materials shipping, and biological safety cabinet use.

 

Certification of biological safety cabinets is performed by Prospective Health's Biological Safety Office staff.  Cabinets are to be certified annually, when they are new and installed, or if they are moved to a different location.  If your cabinet needs certification, or it you believe it may not e operating properly, contact Prospective Health Office at 744-2070.

 

Radiation Safety:  Prospective Health's Radiation Safety unit is responsible for the safe use of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation (e.g. lasers) on campus.  The ECU Radiation Safety Committee reviews all applications for non-clinical (research) use of radiation sources to ensure that appropriate safety procedures are followed, that materials are handled appropriately and personnel are trained and monitored.  A 6-hour required training class for all radiation users is provided.

 

All radiation sources used at ECU are ordered by the Radiation Safety Office to control and document materials in use on campus.  All radioactive materials received or leaving the institution must be first checked by the Radiation Safety Office.  Laboratory inspections and surveillance are conducted regularly to ensure that radiological hazards are handled safely.  Personal monitoring badges are provided to assess the employee's exposure.

 

Investigation and assistance with spills or mishaps and consultation for pregnant employees are provided.  Collection and disposal of radioactive wastes on campus is also handled through this office.  Other responsibilities of Radiation Safety include:

  • Perform leak test on all sealed sources and provide radiation surveys on radiation producing equipment.
  • Provide a continuous program of environmental radiation evaluation and hazard evaluation.
  • Calibrate radiation survey instruments.
  • Refine radiation detection, shielding, and health physics techniques.
  • Suspend any operation causing excessive and/or unnecessary radiological hazard as rapidly and as safely as possible.
  • Maintain compliance with all state, federal, and local regulations regarding the safe use of radioactive material or radiation producing devices.

 

Emergency Coordination:  An emergency operations plan has been developed for the University, which covers all emergency events such as structure fires, chemical spills, severe weather, etc.  The plan is a guide for the Emergency Preparedness Team to utilize during an event and has been successfully tested numerous times during hurricanes, floods and other emergencies.  From this plan, an Emergency Procedures Manual has been developed and distributed by the ECU Police to all departments for use by the campus community.  This manual serves as a quick reference guide for University personnel during an emergency.  It includes emergency procedures related to personal safety, bomb threats, crimes, fires, hazardous spills and gas leaks, illnesses or injuries and severe weather.  Each department is required to develop an emergency evacuation plan specific to their department based on the sample format provided in the manual.  these evacuation plans are tested during evacuation drills which are conducted on a quarterly basis in residence halls and on an annual basis in academic/administrative buildings.  The University recently implemented an Administrator-on-Call program to ensure that a duly authorized and trained officer of the University is available during non-business hours (nights, weekends and holidays).

 

Environmental Management:  A comprehensive environmental management program was implemented in 1998 to support the University's commitment to environmental compliance and sustainability.  The goal is to ensure all University activities comply with environmental regulations and to help preserve our environment for future generations.  Any discharges of chemicals to air, water and land must be pre-approved by EH&S, comply with all regulations and must be minimized where possible.  All chemical wastes are required to be disposed of in accordance with ECU policy and applicable federal, state and local rules and regulations.  Hazardous materials must not be discharged down the sink without prior written authorization from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety or Prospective Health.  Materials that are not approved for discharge must be properly packaged and prepared for disposal.  Waste chemicals must be properly labeled and stored in containers compatible with the contents, free of damage and free of outside contamination.  These issues are audited periodically by EH&S, as well as during lab inspections.  The program is now undergoing an internal audit by the EH&S Environmental Manager.  In 2000, ECU completed its first environmental sustainability report.

 

Workers' Compensation:  The Workers' Compensation Program for East Carolina University is administered by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety in accordance with the provisions of the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, the North Carolina Industrial Commission Rules and Regulations, and the North Carolina State Government Workers' Compensation Manual.  Workers' Compensation benefits are available to any full-time, part-time, or temporary employee who suffers an accidental injury or contracts an occupational disease within the meaning of the Workers' Compensation Act.  The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible to ensure that employees are informed of their entitled rights under the Workers' Compensation Act and to provide the medical care needed to help an injured employee reach maximum medical improvement and return to work as soon as medically possible and compensate the employee for any disability received from a compensable injury.  A Workers' Compensation Administrator has been designated in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety to be responsible for the effectiveness of processing and monitoring the workers' compensation claims and maintaining and reviewing injury records through statistical trend analysis.  The University is responsible for accepting employer liability for the State and paying claims.  The Office of Prospective Health serves as the medical provider for ECU's workers' compensation cases and assists EH&S in successfully managing these cases and successfully returning employees to work.

 

Evaluation Process:  The safety and environmental program evaluation process is accomplished through a variety of internal and external assessments.  A number of regulatory and state agencies conduct inspections and audits on an annual basis.  The NC Office of State Personnel's Risk Control Services unit audits the safety and health and industrial hygiene programs annually.  Each year, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) inspects our facilities for sanitation issues and the NC Department of Insurance inspects for life safety deficiencies.  The Hazardous Waste Branch of NCDENR also inspects our facilities and records for hazardous waste violations.  The Department of Labor (NCOSH) and NCDENR can conduct unannounced inspections as they deem necessary.

 

Environmental Health & Safety and Prospective Health perform a variety of facility inspections and audits.  Each year internal audit/inspection trends, external audit findings, injury trend analysis, and staff accomplishments are reviewed with the staff and relevant committees.  Based on this input, goals are set for the year.

 

Security:  The East Carolina University Police Department is responsible for maintaining a safe and pleasant environment in which to live and learn.  Officers with the department are charged with the responsibility of protecting life and property, preventing and detecting crime on campus, and providing essential services to the university community.  Concerned with the protection of life and property, the officers enforce both the laws of the state of North Carolina and the regulations of the university.

 

The East Carolina University Police Department is a full-service police organization.  The Police Department operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing around the clock protection and services to the university community.  The department consists of sworn certified officers, auxiliary officers, student patrol officers, full-time and part-time telecommunicates, full-time support service personnel, and library guards.  The department consists of the following divisions:

 

Uniform Patrol Division:

  • Foot Patrol
  • Vehicle Patrol
  • Bicycle Patrol
  • Telecommunications
  • Student Patrol Unit

 

Administrative Division:

  • Investigations
  • Training
  • Crime Prevention
  • Records
  • Extra Event Scheduling
  • Budget/Purchasing/Payroll
  • Equipment Management Accreditation
  • Library Security
ECU Environmental Health & Safety
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