Texas Tech University


[Minor revision–posted 12/13/21 (replaces 5/25/17 edition)]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 60.01: University Health and Safety Program

DATE: December 13, 2021

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to assign responsibility for maintenance of a safe academic, working, and recreational environment, free of unsafe or hazardous conditions for students, employees, and visitors.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in December of every fourth year by the Assistant Vice President for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) with substantive revisions forwarded to the Assistant Vice President for Research and the Provost and Senior Vice President (PSVP). This OP will be reviewed again in 2025.


1.  The goal of the Health and Safety Program is to develop positive attitudes regarding safety among all members of the university community. It is essential that deans, directors, department heads, faculty, and staff supervisors take an active part in initiating preventive measures to control hazards associated with activities under their direction. Safety must be an integral part of all programs at Texas Tech University.

2.  It is the university's intent to comply with all appropriate federal and state laws, codes, or acts that apply to the university. These regulations, along with supporting guides, rules, and procedures, as established by the university campus committees and governmental agencies, will provide the basis for the campus safety program.

3.  Committees, appointed under authority of the PSVP, composed of representatives from the academic, administrative, and service organizations within the university, will serve in an advisory capacity to the administration on health and safety matters.

4.  Overall administration of the campus health and safety activities is coordinated through the Department of Environmental Health & Safety. This department is the primary campus resource for technical and administrative guidance needed to support university personnel designated to be responsible for specific aspects of program activities.

5.  Responsibilities for the university Health and Safety Program are:

a.    General

(1)    Every employee of the university has the responsibility to participate actively in helping create a safe and healthy campus environment.

(2)    The primary responsibility to provide and maintain a safe campus environment on a day-to-day basis lies with each supervisor.

(3)    Persons using the equipment and facilities of the university are required to follow safe and proper procedures, to report all accidents promptly, and to bring to the attention of supervisors and faculty members unsafe conditions or practices.

(4)    No undertaking or project is of such importance that expediency or shortcuts will be allowed to compromise safety.

b.    Administrators, Deans, Department Heads

It is the responsibility of all administrators, deans, and department heads to maintain healthful and safe working conditions within their jurisdiction, to monitor and exercise control over their assigned areas, and to implement the following designated safety-related procedures:

(1)    Assist in identifying areas, facilities, and equipment that present a health or safety hazard. If it becomes necessary to replace, upgrade, or add additional items of equipment to ensure a proper and safe working environment, available department or university funds must be given first priority for such replacement, upgrading, or acquisition.

(2)    Ensure that all personnel are briefed and fully understand work procedures and existing safety policies that enforce their use.

(3)    Make available and enforce the use of necessary safety equipment and protective devices recommended by EH&S for the job being accomplished.

(4)    Make every effort to observe and comply with all health and safety regulations. EH&S will provide consultation/guidance on local, state, and federal regulations and serve as the intermediary and contact point for all health and safety activities involving regulatory agencies.

(5)    Seek prompt medical treatment for all injuries. Assure that the accident is reported in a timely manner and proper forms are completed.

(6)    Review all accidents to help eliminate similar accidents from occurring.

(7)    Require all new employees to take the Safety Awareness Training online on the EH&S website in the first month of employment.

(8)    Actively solicit suggestions from employees that will contribute to the constant improvement and establishment of a hazard-free and healthful work environment.

(9)    Promptly notify EH&S when circumstances exist that caused or could cause an accident.

(10)    Ensure all supervisory personnel are informed of their responsibilities to ensure that new employees are properly trained for the task to be performed prior to the initiation of the job duties. Supervisory personnel should also be informed of the penalties for failure to provide such training to new employees.

c.    Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible for instructing personnel under their direction in proper operational procedures for the job being performed. Facilities and equipment under their jurisdiction are to be monitored and maintained in a safe condition. Additional responsibilities of supervisors include:

(1)    Explain to all new employees safety regulations that are relevant to their specific work duties and enforce their compliance. If there are questions regarding regulations, consultation with EH&S is available.

(2)    Report unsafe conditions, equipment, and practices observed to EH&S on the same day that such deficiencies are noted. Encourage employees to watch for and report unsafe conditions immediately.

(3)    Provide personnel with needed safety equipment, devices, and clothing, and demonstrate their proper use prior to operation of equipment or performance of hazardous tasks. Enforce the use of personal protective equipment.

(4)    Maintain good housekeeping practices in all work areas.

(5)    Control unsafe practices and actions of employees such as running, smoking in prohibited areas, operating machinery without safeguards, etc.

(6)    Investigate accidents and incidents promptly, and complete necessary forms to fully document such occurrences.

(7)    Make every effort to seek prompt medical treatment for employees who are injured, including transportation, if needed.

(8)    Notify the department head of any employee who may be physically or emotionally incapable of performing duties in a safe manner.

(9)    Encourage recommendations from employees to improve the safety and efficiency of the department.

d.    Faculty and Teaching Assistants

Each faculty member and teaching assistant is responsible for the dissemination of information to students (and employees) under their supervision. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1)    Explain to students those university and departmental safety regulations/procedures pertinent to their specific academic tasks and/or activities.

(2)    Ensure the proper use of manual or powered equipment by first demonstrating their correct operation and, thereafter, maintaining periodic surveillance of individual users.

(3)    Require students to use personal protective equipment and clothing as needed for the proposed instruction or activity. Personal protection equipment must be maintained in good repair.

(4)    Inspect instructional areas frequently for identification and prompt elimination of unsafe practices and conditions. Advice and assistance are available from EH&S.

(5)    Make every effort to seek prompt medical treatment for any student injured, including transportation, if needed.

(6)    Submit recommendations for the improvement of the immediate academic environment to the appropriate administrator, dean, or department head.

e.    Employees and Students

University employees and students are subject to all campus health and safety regulations. Compliance is vital to the creation and maintenance of a healthy and safe campus environment. Responsibilities include:

(1)    Understand and comply with university and departmental safety instructions, whether written or oral, when performing assigned work duties.

(2)    Use only tools and equipment approved or provided by the supervisor/instructor.

(3)    Use appropriate safety equipment and guards, and work within established safety procedures.

(4)    Report unsafe conditions, practices, or equipment to the supervisor/instructor whenever such deficiencies are observed and as often as necessary to assure their correction.

(5)    Inform the supervisor/instructor immediately of all injuries or accidents and assist injured persons in obtaining prompt medical treatment when necessary.

Operating Policies & Procedures