Environmental, Health, and Safety Program Management | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

Environmental, Health, and Safety Program Management


  • The personal safety and health of each individual of this University is of primary importance.  In order to maintain an environment that does not adversely affect the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors, UMES will give high priority and commit appropriate resources to programs that eliminate where possible or reduce to acceptable limits, environmental and occupational hazards of anyone partaking of its programs or using its facilities.

    This program is intended to provide a framework for the development and implementation of departmental policies and procedures regarding compliance with federal, state, and local regulations for environmental protection (air, water, soil), occupational safety, public health, biological safety, fire safety, hazardous materials management, and risk and insurance management.  This program is not intended to apply to UMES policies regarding public or personal security or crime prevention.

    Delegation of Authority

    The ultimate authority for Environmental, Safety, and Health at UMES is delegated by the President to the Vice President of Administrative Affairs. 

    The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office currently operates within the Physical Plant Department in the Administrative Affairs division.  EHS has the authority to issue policies; enforce applicable laws, regulations, standards, and policies; and conduct activities that enhance environmental protection, occupational health, and safety at UMES.

    Responsibilities

    UMES is a complex organization consisting of several colleges and extensive support functions necessary to the operations of the institution.  From the legal, regulatory, and public perspectives, the University is one corporate entity and is held accountable as such by federal and state authorities.

    For these reasons, UMES has the responsibility to establish policies and provide resources to ensure compliance with all environmental, safety, and health laws.  For purposes of this responsibility, the following structure is utilized;

    The Vice President of Administrative Affairs

    The Vice President of Administrative Affairs delegates to each dean, director, chairperson, and supervisor the responsibility for safety performance within their respective unit.

    Environmental Health and Safety Office

    EHS is responsible for the administration and management of, and is accountable for the University’s compliance with all environmental, safety, and health regulations.  It carries out this mission by providing technical, regulatory, and related management services to the colleges/schools and departments who have a shared responsibility for operational accountability for regulatory compliance.  EHS assists the colleges/schools and departments in the development and implementation of programs, including training, emergency response, and analysis of specific problems so that compliance is practical at the unit level.  EHS is the unit responsible for all official University contact with external governmental regulatory agencies concerned with workplace health, safety, and environmental compliance.  In consultation with University legal counsel and, as required, representation by the Office of the Attorney General, EHS shall coordinate all University Responses to Regulatory agencies’ inquiries, complaints, lawsuits, and other formal proceedings.  EHS is instrumental in the design and implementation of an effective environmental health and safety program. 

    Colleges/Schools and Other University Departments

    It is the responsibility of each college/school and department to conduct its operations in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

    Special Committees

    Faculty-chaired committees (Biosafety, Institutional Review Board, Animal Use and Care, and Radiation) overseeing aspects of the UMES Environmental Health & Safety Program that impact research activities shall maintain their role of faculty governance and shall report to and be appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Additionally, these committees review grant proposals relative to their field of expertise. These committees and other non-faculty chaired committees (Risk Management, Health and Safety) will be responsible for recommending policies related to their area of program oversight.

    University Faculty, Staff, and Students

    It is incumbent upon each member of the faculty, staff, and student body to provide the constant vigilance necessary to avoid unsafe acts on their part, and on the part of precautions to prevent injury to themselves or to their fellow employees or students. They are expected to learn and to follow approved standards and procedures which apply to their activities and the check with their supervisors when they have any doubts concerning potential hazards.

    Everyone with supervisory responsibility is expected to take the initiative to ensure that safe working conditions are maintained.  Each supervisor must take the initiative to train the persons under their supervision in safe work practices.  In addition, supervisors are expected to promote a safety attitude and awareness that will lead faculty, staff, and students working under their supervision to take a safe course when faced with situations which are not covered by established regulations and practices.

    Environmental, Health and Safety Program Plan

    All operations should be a model of quality in environmental, safety, and health practices.  The following principles have been established to guide faculty, staff, and students in these practices at UMES:

    1. Policies which promote awareness and compliance at all levels of the institution;
    2. Practice personal accountability for responsible behavior within the University community;
    3. Comply with applicable laws and regulations and where appropriate other institutional guidelines and recommendations;
    4. Participate in the development of sound institutional policies and regulations;
    5. Support University policies that reduce hazardous waste generation and conserve University resources; and,
    6. Encourage those who do business with the University to apply these principles.

    Enforcement

    The University views compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as a condition of employment, and violation of such requirements shall be considered grounds for disciplinary action,  including termination of employment.

    Further, governmental agencies have established increasingly strict policies to ensure compliance with environmental, safety and health regulations, including harsh civil penalties and  individual criminal prosecution leading to possible imprisonment and substantial fines.  Accordingly, the University expects all faculty, staff, and students to be vigilant in complying with all  applicable environmental, safety and health laws.

    Classification of Safety Infractions

    Failure to abide by the policies and procedures of the UMES Environmental, Health, and Safety Program jeopardizes the welfare of our most valuable assets, our faculty, staff, and students.  Therefore, each UMES employee is required to comply with applicable policies and procedures.  Supervisors will implement progressive discipline for repeated health and safety violations and will be held accountable for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts within their area of responsibility.

    In order to assure implementation of corrective actions commensurate with the severity of safety infractions, corrective actions must rely upon a number of parameters including the probability of an adverse effect, the regulatory requirements, and common sense.  This policy relies upon and is based on a grading system for corrective actions.  The extent of corrective action depends on the severity level of the safety infraction.  There are four Severity Levels (SL) as follows:

    Severity Level 1:  The highest and most severe safety infraction, SL 1 requires an immediate corrective action.  A condition or activity which is likely to lead to injury or property damage is classified as SL 1.  This likelihood may be expressed as a high probability.

    Severity Level 2:  Activities or conditions that are unambiguously in violation of existing laws, regulations or policies and have the potential for significant harm or injury are classified as SL 2.  Corrective actions are required for SL 2 safety problems.  However, a reasonable time is provided for correcting SL 2 safety problems.

    Severity Level 3:  Violations of certain regulations or disregard of specific recommendations and guides of appropriate federal agencies, scholarly organizations or recognized professional groups are placed at SL 3.  The prerequisite for placing a safety problem at SL 3 (and not SL 2) is its potential impact.  The likelihood of an adverse effect should be small.  Corrective actions are required for SL 3 safety problems with the stipulation that the cost and potential alternatives would be considered.

    Severity Levels 4 and 5:  Activities that could improve safety are placed in these categories.  The prerequisite for SL 4 or 5 is the existence of a reasonably safe condition.  The objective of placing a potential safety problem at these levels is to bring to the attention of investigators options that would improve their operations.  Often, corrective actions are associated with small costs and result in significant improvements in operational safety.  The difference between Severity Levels 4 and 5 is their potential impact.  Remediation of SL 4 is expected to be more cost effective than that of SL 5.