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What types of programs does Environmental Health and Safety Manage?

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety interprets national, state, and local regulations related to occupational and environmental health and safety. Our staff provides guidance and support to Kutztown University operations and advise Senior Administration on business aspects of environmental health and safety.  The following provides a brief explanation of programs and activities handled by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Accident & Illness Prevention

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for oversight of the University's Accident and Illness Prevention efforts.  The goals of the Accident and Illness Prevention program include:

  • Providing an environment that protects and promotes the health and safety of all students, employees and visitors of the University
  • Ensuring compliance with laws, regulations, and recognized standards developed for the protection of individuals
  • To identify and implement strategies and process to reduce risks, losses, and compensable injuries that affect the University's overall mission. 

Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in construction materials in the past. It is commonly found in floor tiles, thermal system insulation, and spray-on fire proofing materials in buildings on campus. Asbesto-containing material poses little to no health risk so long as the material is not disturbed. Asbestos removal is strictly regulated by the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Labor & Industry, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  No one may handle asbestos-containing material unless they are licensed by the PA Department of Labor & Industry; therefore, remodeling, construction, and maintenance projects requiring removal of asbestos materials are handled by licensed asbestos abatement contractors.  EHS works with project managers to ensure the abatement work is performed in strict accordance with the regulations.  

Bloodborne Pathogens - Employee Precautions

Bloodborne pathogens are disease inducing microorganisms which can be transmitted through human blood and other body fluids. Anyone whose job responsibilities require them to work with or around human blood or other possibly infectious material must comply with the practices outlined in the Bloodborne Pathogen program. Requirements of the program include a written exposure control plan, vaccinations, training, and following Universal Precautions.  Information specific to your area should come from your supervisor before you begin work. For additional information, see our Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Program.

Chemical Safety

There are many standards that regulate how we work with chemicals on campus. One of those is the Pennsylvania Worker and Community Right to Know (RTK) program, which requires that non-laboratory employees be informed of any hazardous chemicals in their work place. Another is the Chemical Hygiene Plan which applies to the safe use of chemicals in research and teaching labs. The objective for both the RTK and Chemical Hygiene Plan is employee safety and health in the work area when chemicals are present. Your supervisor is responsible for informing you of hazards in your workplace and how to work safely. For our students, faculty should inform them of hazards in the classroom or laboratory.  A component of the Worker and Community Right to Know program, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are maintained by EHS for products and substances on our campus.  See the SDS section below.

Confined Space

The University's Confined Space Program is used to prevent serious injury or fatality resulting from confined space work.  Confined spaces may include, but are not limited to: pits, manholes, attics, crawlspaces, silos, and tanks.  A "confined space" is defined by all of the following (3) criteria:  large enough to bodily enter, limited or restricted means of entry or exit, and not designed for continuous human occupancy.  Confined spaces are further classified as "permit-required confined space" (PRCS), which has or may have one or more of these characteristics:  Hazardous atmospheres (capable of causing serious or life-threatening injury); materials that may engulf an entrant; dangerous internal configuration which could entrap or asphyxiate an entrant (sloping floors, converging walls, etc.); or any other serious safety or health hazard.

Entry into confined spaces may be for the purpose of inspection, testing of equipment, maintenance, repair, cleaning, responding to an emergency, or other common place activities.  For additional information, see our Confined Space Program

Construction Safety

The campus is under constant remodeling and construction. Be sure to use the alternate pathways that are marked. Respect the fences, safety zones, and signs that are posted. They are there for your safety.

Emergency Shower and Eye Wash

Emergency showers and eye wash stations are common equipment in University laboratories, studio, and shop areas. Become familiar with their locations, and ensure the path to them is unobstructed. Should you suffer a splash from a chemical, use the provided showers and eye wash stations to flush the exposed area for at least 15 minutes before seeking medical attention. Remember to report the exposure or incident to your supervisor or faculty member and seek medical care for chemical injuries.

Environmental Compliance

The University recognizes that teaching, research, and service activities conducted in pursuit of the Institution's mission result in environmental impacts; EHS is committed to protection of the environment.  Our goal is to reduce waste and emissions and ensure compliance with all relevant environmental regulations. We strive to minimize adverse impacts on the air, water, and land through pollution prevention and energy conservation. By successfully preventing pollution at its source, we can achieve cost savings, increase operational efficiencies, improve the quality of our teaching, research and services, maintain a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and students, and improve the environment

Fire Alarms and Evacuation

When fire alarms sound in a University building, all occupants must immediately evacuate. Become familiar with the exits in buildings you frequent - Know 2-Ways Out, know the sound of the fire alarm, and the locations of pull stations in buildings you frequent. Learn how to activate these pull stations in case of emergencies. If the alarm is activated in your building, exit immediately. Close the doors to your area as you leave. Ask visitors and guests to leave the building with you. Do not stay behind and argue with anyone who refuses to leave. Evacuate to your designated meeting location outside the building. Emergency responders will notify you when it is clear to reenter. Alarms can be used for many reasons to quickly alert occupants to a life safety threat.  Just because you don't see flames or smell smoke doesn't mean there isn't a need to evacuate.

Fire Safety

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for all aspects of fire safety across campus.  This includes fire prevention, fire alarm and fire suppression systems, maintenance and testing of the fire protection systems, education and training of staff and students in the tenets of fire safety.

Hazard Mitigation (Disaster Resistant University)

Disasters impacting institutions across the country have heightened awareness that universities are not immune from damage. From earthquakes along the California coast, through flooding and tornadoes in the mid-west, to hurricanes along the eastern coasts, the financial and operational impact on higher education has been significant, prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and sectors from higher education to partner in support of the development of effective pre-disaster mitigation strategies.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education applied for and was awarded a FEMA pre-disaster mitigation grant to enable each of its 14 universities to develop Hazard Mitigation Plans. The planning process collects, organizes and analyzes hazard data specific to the University from which to develop a community supported strategy for quantifying risk and prioritizing efforts to mitigate those risks. Effective pre-disaster mitigation (PDM) requires development of and adherence to organizational guidelines and policies which articulate a community's desire to protect its assets. In the lexicon for this project, those are the operating guidelines, the vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies upon which the road to project completion was constructed.

The University's Disaster Resistant University (DRU) Steering Committee defines those guidelines and statements. The Steering Committee, comprised of administrative and faculty representatives, also sought plan input from students, alumni and community representatives.  The plan positions the university to take advantage of potential funding opportunities through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and FEMA to correct pre-identified hazards to life safety and operational interruptions.

Hazardous Materials and Waste Disposal

State and Federal regulations govern the disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. There are significant financial and environmental consequences for noncompliance, including personal culpability. Chemicals do not go down drains, up hoods, or in the trash. Assistance with waste disposal from your lab or shop is available from EHS, who will determine when your hazardous materials become a hazardous waste. Contact EHS at 610-683-4050 for a waste pick-up or should you have questions regarding waste disposal.

Industrial Hygiene Services

Industrial Hygiene is the science and art of recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace health and safety hazards. EHS and professional Industrial Hygiene consultants assist the University community in minimizing the hazards associated with lead based paint, compliance for OSHA general industry and construction regulations, indoor air quality problems, mold, respiratory protection, noise, and other health and safety concerns. 

Injury Incident Reporting

Different reporting tools are used for different types of incidents. Supervisors and/or managers shall complete the First Report of Injury form whenever an employee suffers an injury or illness on the job. Report all injuries and illnesses immediately to your supervisor. If you are aware of a potential safety hazard or have a safety concern, report it directly to EHS by calling 610-683-4050. The information below provides guidance for employees to seek medical attention, if injured.  

Medical Treatment - Employees 

     Life Threatening Emergencies

     Non-Life Threatening Emergencies

Outdoor Lighting

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for conducting outdoor illumination surveys to ensure paved walkways, roadways and parking areas meet established standards and are properly lighted at night. Professional engineering consultants work with EHS to perform light level surveys and have developed a set of Lighting Design Guidelines for indoor and outdoor areas.  Facilities Management is responsible for supporting safety and security in conjunction with illumination by designing and installing equipment and fixtures that meet IESNA standards, by keeping light fixtures operational, keeping trees and shrubs pruned so as not to block lighting on walkways.  Public Safety & Police Services aids in this safety effort by involving EHS and Facilities when concerns about lighting (exterior illumination) are reported or observed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If your work environment requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the needs will be based on a job assessment performed by the department manager or unit supervisor.  PPE, such as respiratory or hearing protection, requires evaluation of the hazards and risks associated with the job task; recommendations will be made by EHS based on the outcome of the evaluation. Other PPE such as nuisance dust masks, head, hand, and eye protection, etc. may be issued by your supervisor.  For more information on the university's PPE program requirements. see the link Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Other than the product label, SDSs are the most basic source of chemical hazard information. The SDS summarizes the chemical's properties, the health and physical hazards, including the type of toxicity information and related safety information required by emergency responders. Kutztown University maintains a data base of Safety Data Sheets and hard-copy files of the SDS in our offices.  The most expedient way to find an SDS is to search for it in MSDSOnline. You may also request a SDS during normal working hours Monday through Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, by contacting EHS at (610) 683-4050 or by stopping by the EHS Office in the Facilities Building. You may also search for a Safety Data Sheet via Google (type in chemical name or CAS #). When requesting a SDS, please provide chemical name, manufacturer of the product, and product number if available.

Safety Training

Many of the Safety and Environmental compliance training programs are offered on-line at the D2L web site.  Programs such as Chemical Right to Know, Bloodborne Pathogens, Hazardous Waste Disposal, Respiratory Protection, etc. are available for employees required to take these programs.  Safety training classes offered by EHS, designed to be delivered in the field, include but are not limited to; ladder safety, office safety, fire extinguisher use, and many more. Special classes can be arranged - Contact EHS at 610-683-4050.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Never put anything in a storm drain. Storm water from rain, snow, and sleet travels down gutters into the storm drain, and then directly into our rivers, lakes, and streams. Everything storm water collects from the land surface, roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, construction sites, etc., ends up in our local streams untreated. Maintain your vehicle to avoid drips and leaks.  Report spills of hazardous materials, that threaten to flow down storm water collection systems, immediately to either Public Safety & Police Services at 610-683-4001 or EHS at 610-683-4050.

Wellness

The University sees you as more than just an employee. Take advantage of all the benefits University employment has to offer. There are many culturally enriching events, intellectually stimulating seminars, and recreational activities available to us. Maintain some balance in your life; stay sane, be happy, don't worry, exercise, and be safe. The EHS Director serves as a standing member on the University's Wellness Committee. If  you have an issue or concern for the Wellness Committee, contact us at 610-683-4050.

Questions?

Feel free to contact EHS at 610-683-4050 if you can't find an answer here.

Updated: May 2015