Policies & Procedures


Section 1

Physical Environment and Properties

Environmental Health & Safety

Sec. 903-10: Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Policy

Responsible Office: Environmental Health & Safety
May 2022

References / Resources

Contact: EHS at (949) 824-6200 or safety@uci.edu

A. Policy

All University of California, Irvine (UCI) employees have the right to a safe and healthful workplace. Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) ensures that UCI complies with applicable health, safety and environmental laws, regulations and requirements. Activities are conducted to protect students, faculty, staff, visitors, the public, property, and the environment. UCI is committed to excellence in health, safety, and environmental performance and strives to achieve:

  • Zero injuries or illnesses
  • Zero environmental incidents
  • Zero property loss or damage

Achieving these goals is the responsibility of everyone at UCI and supervisors have particular responsibility for individuals reporting to them.

B. Responsibilities

The Chancellor is responsible for the allocation of appropriate resources and the implementation of UCI's EHS policy at all facilities under campus authority. All faculty, staff, and students are responsible for compliance with this policy as it relates to operations under their control or activities in which they participate. Specific responsibilities follow:

  1. Vice Chancellors and Deans provide a safe teaching and research environment by:
    • Providing school/department oversight and accountability
    • Allocating appropriate resources
    • Fostering a climate that facilitates open discussion and resolution of potential risks and safety problems
    • Promoting required EHS training to employees.
  2. Department Directors and Chairs provide a safe teaching and research environment for departmental activities by:
    • Providing department-wide oversight and accountability
    • Delegating authority and accountability to one person for developing, implementing, and overseeing the department-wide Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) / Safety On Site (S.O.S.).
    • Fostering a climate that facilitates open discussion and resolution of potential risks and safety problems.
    • Promoting required EHS training to employees.
  3. Principal Investigators, Administrators, and Supervisors provide safe working, teaching, and research environments by:
    • Identifying a Safety Representative to handle IIPP/SOS responsibilities specific to the work unit:
          a. hazard assessment and correction
          b. required safety training
          c. developing and implementing safe work practices
    • Reporting hazards, incidents, and injuries to EHS. Go to Report an Injury, Incident or Safety Concern.
    • Investigating incidents, injuries or "near misses", and communicating findings and solutions with all staff and students.
  4. All Employees and Students will learn, practice, and keep up-to-date on UCI and departmental safety practices by:
    • Participating in safety training appropriate to the job or position and work activities.
    • Reporting hazards, incidents, injuries, and safety concerns to a supervisor or manager.
    • Implementing and following established safe work practives, programs, and procedures.
    • Wearing required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. PPE may include gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests, and full body suits.
    • Reporting injuries, incidents, safety concerns, and "near-misses." Email safety@uci.edu or go to Report an Injury, Incident or Safety Concern.
  5. EHS provides campus-wide program direction, consultation, and liaison services by:
    • Suspending or terminating any activity that poses an imminent hazard deemed immediately dangerous to life or health, and then working with Deans, department heads, and other responsible individuals to abate the unsafe conditions and operations.
    • Defining and communicating a UCI's Injury and Illness Prevention Program / Safety On Site (S.O.S.)
    • Evaluating potential hazards and coordinating campus programs to prevent injuries and work-related injuries and illnesses
    • Working with academic departments and administrative services to develop training, monitoring, injury prevention, and compliance programs.
    • Providing environmental health and safety program direction to all campus entities.
    • Providing consultation and technical assistance in all areas of health, safety, and environmental protection.
    • Acting as liaison with regulatory agencies on behalf of the campus.
    • Providing emergency response assistance as required (i.e., hazardous materials releases, etc.).
    • Performing health, safety, and environmental protection audits as needed to determine compliance with regulations, laws, and University policy.
    • Escalating serious non-compliance issues and hazards (see Escalating Serious Non-Compliance and Hazardous Issues)
    • Seeking resolution, within the University structure, of health, safety, and environmental protection deficiencies.

C. EHS School Coordinators

EHS School Coordinators are representatives located in academic Schools who provide technical assistance, field health and safety questions, and explain the University of California, Campus, state, and federal regulatory requirements. They coordinate services with EHS, identify and report unsafe conditions, and provide compliance assistance and training support. Common activities include investigating injuries, training, inspecting and assisting in the decommissioning and commissioning of laboratory spaces, supporting departmental safety representatives, compliance assessments, program development, orienting new faculty to EHS safety programs, tools, and resources, and responding to School EHS issues as they arise (i.e., odor and indoor air quality concerns).

D. EHS Programs

  1. Administration

    EHS Administrative staff supports departmental activities that directly impact campus-wide programs, such as legislative analysis, regulatory agency liaison, and recharge administration. Staff provides Campus-wide and departmental EHS performance measures, manages various EHS information systems, develops and manages EHS policies and procedures, and supports and coordinates campus EHS-related committees.

  2. Biological Safety

    Biological Safety staff provides safety oversight of research and clinical work involving infectious agents bloodborne pathogens, select agents, and other biogazardous materials. The biosafety program administers the Institutional Biosafety committee (IBC) program and is responsible for enforcing policies and guidelines related to university biological material used.

  3. Environmental Compliance and hazardous Waste
    Environmental Compliance and Hazardous Waste staff are responsible for managing and overseeing environmental laws, policies, and regulations. Program responsibilities include hazardous waste management, air quality management, storm and wastewater management, hazardous materials business plans, and spill prevention control and countermeasure plan coordination. Staff provides technical support, training, compliance auditing, permit coordination, facility/equipment inspections, new construction environmental reviews, and the devlopment/review of campus environmental design standards.
  4. Fire and Life Safety

    Fire and Life Safety staff are responsible for fire prevention activities on compus. The Campus Fire Marshal program works to ensure reasonable and consistent protection for the campus community from injury, business inturruption, and property damage resulting from fires and related perils. Staff responsibilities include developing and managing evacuation plans, event management, plan reviews, construction inspections, issuing welding permits, training, compliance, and life safety inspections. Staff is also responsible for the maintenance, inspection, and servicing of Campus fire protection and sprinkler systems and serves as the Campus liaison for the Orange County Fire Authority.

  5. Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health

    Industrial hygiene staff are responsible for assessing and facilitating the University's compliance with applicable University of California, Campus, state, and federal Occupational Safety & health Administration regulations. Frequently requested services involve exposure assessment for chemicals and noise, asbestos and lead oversight during renovation project, respiratory protection fit-testing and training, ventilation system assessments including laboratory ventilation, fume hoods, and other ventilated exposure control devices, water intrusion assessments, and microbial contamination management, promotion of heat illness prevention strategies, hazard communication, and provision of hazard identification and control recommendations. The unit is also responsible for coordinating the Environmental Health Programs related to food safety, water quality, and pool safety, pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding with the Orange Counry Health Care Agency.

  6. Occupational Health

    Occupational Health staff are responsible for ensuring that employees are offered medical care who experience occupational illness and injury. In collaboration with Industrial Hygiene, Biosafety, and Radiation Safety, this program offers referrals for medical evaluations and preventitive medical services for personnel who work directly with research animals or perform non-animal research. As required by Cal/OSHA, mandatory medical surveillance may include a review of medical questionnaires, examinations, immunizations, laboratory medical testing, and/or medical consultation, and periodic and/or exit medical examinations for selected occupations or work activities.

  7. Safety and Injury PreventionSafety and Injury Prevention staff are responsible for assessing and facilitating the University's compliance with applicable University of California, Campus, state, and federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration workplace regulations. Frequently requested services include injury investigations, ergonomics evaluations, safety training, Injury and Illness Prevention Program / SOS implementation, program development, compliance assessments/inspections, process safety reviews, personal protective equipment assistance, safe practice/job safety analysis development, and technical support activities.

  8. Research Safety

    Research Safety staff are responsible for assessing and facilitating the University's compliance with applicable University of California, Campus, state, and federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration workplace regulations as they apply to a research setting. Staff provides coordination and support related to regulatory program compliance, controlled substances, vivarium safety, dive and boat safety, chemical product evaluation, chemical inventory management, PPE program administration, compliance inspections, training, and equipment reviews for field and laboratory-based research efforts. In addition, the staff works on lab design standards, conducts comprehensive analyses of major laboratory construction projects, and supports field research activities.

  9. Radiation Safety
    Radiation Safety staff are responsible for assessing and facilitating the University's compliance with applicable University of California, Campus, state, and federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration workplace regulations. Staff provides consultation, inspections, training, and assistance to radiation, magnet, and laser users on campus. Staff ensures safety procedures are followed and that exposures are reduced to levels that are As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) for ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. In addition, the staff ensures that program activities are conducted in a safe manner in accordance with State licensing requirements and accepted industry best practices.

  10. Training
    EHS technical staff supports faculty, staff, and students in understanding EHS compliance issues, identifying individual training requirements, and tracking and monitoring EHS training compliance. EHS training requirements for employees are mandated by the University of California, Campus, state, and federal regulations. The staff offers various training tools and program formats, including regularly scheduled courses, online training, and customized training designed to meet Campus needs.