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Environmental Health and Safety program

A page within Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has a legal and financial obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful environment for our employees, students, guests and residents of the community. In addition, UW-L is required by Governor's Executive Order 194 to develop and implement a written comprehensive health and safety program to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses. This document, when implemented, complies with the intent of Executive Order 194.

Relating to Workplace Health and Safety of State Employees

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State of Wisconsin to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all state employees; and

WHEREAS, workplace injuries and illnesses produce human suffering, economic and social losses and impair the operating efficiency of state government; and

WHEREAS, workplace injuries and illnesses can be reduced or eliminated by systematic planning, training, safe work practices and the effective use of hazard control measures; and

WHEREAS, occupational accident and illness prevention requires management and employee commitment, accountability, cooperation, and leadership at all levels of state government; and

WHEREAS, laws and regulations governing health and safety in the workplace apply to the operation of state government; and

WHEREAS, state government should lead by example by complying with all state and federal health and safety requirements;

NOW, THEREFORE, I. TOMMY G. THOMPSON, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of this State, do hereby:

Proclaim that all state agencies, institutions and university campuses and centers must develop and promulgate a comprehensive written health and safety program whose purpose is to attain the following objectives:

  1. Minimize the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses by the use of recommended loss prevention and control techniques.
  2. Establish written performance/accountability standards and objectives for managers and supervisors to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses and enhance workplace health and safety.
  3. Provide adequate health and safety training and education for managers, supervisors and employees.
  4. Establish health and safety committees consisting of representatives from all levels and areas of the organization.
  5. Promote health and safety awareness and safe work practices.
  6. Establish a procedure for conducting periodic health and safety inspections/surveys so that potential hazards are detected and corrected or controlled in a timely manner.
  7. Provide for increased compliance with all applicable State and Federal health and safety standards and regulations.
  8. Designate an individual to serve as the organization's Health and Safety Coordinator to assist in directing its injury/illness prevention program.
  9. Promote effective investigation and management of workers compensation claims and the early return to work of injured employees using transitional work assignments and other rehabilitation strategies.

FURTHER, all written Health and Safety programs must be submitted to the Department of Administration, Bureau of State Risk Management for approval and ongoing review. The Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, Bureau of Safety Inspections, will maintain its authority and final approval of worksite safety plans required through Chapter ILHR 32 Administration Rules and the Bureau's inspection program.

The Department of Administration, Bureau of State Risk Management and the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, Bureau of Safety Services will report annually to the Governor on progress in achieving improved workplace health and safety in State government.

All state employees must be informed of this Executive Order, in its intent and requirements for providing a safe and healthy workplace throughout state government.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed. Done at the Capitol in the City of Madison this thirtieth day of July in the year one thousand nine hundred and ninety-three.


Secretary of State

*Official Executive Order and Written Signatures on File in Environmental Health and Safety Office, UW-La Crosse

The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse will strive to provide a safe and healthy environment. The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse will conduct all business in a manner that ensures protection for employees, and campus frequenters. The campus will comply with applicable federal, state and local codes and regulations pertaining to the environment, health and safety.

All employees, including Campus administrative personnel, are responsible for compliance with environmental health and safety policies and procedures.

The Campus Environmental Health and Safety program will operate under the following philosophy:

  • All occupational injuries, illnesses and accidents can be prevented.
  • All employees, including management, are responsible for preventing injuries, illnesses and accidents.
  • Working safely and compliance with regulatory requirements is a condition of employment.
  • All operating hazards can be safeguarded.
  • Training employees in safety, health and environmental protection is essential.
  • Prevention of personal injuries or illnesses and environmental degradation is a fundamental value.
  • Protection of personal and financial assets is good business.

I. Charter

Develops Campus Safety and Environmental policies and programs for approval by Campus Administration (Chancellor or Chancellor's designee). Initiates new programs or projects and makes recommendations to improve and maintain a balanced safety and environmental posture on campus. Sets goals and objectives, reviews environmental and safety accidents, conducts audits, develops safety and environmental training programs, and promotes a high level of safety and environmental awareness among all Campus personnel. Takes other actions as necessary to improve the Campus Safety and Environmental Programs.

II. Membership

The Campus Environmental Health and Safety Committee shall be appointed by the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designee. The ensuing list indirectly identifies the individuals who shall be appointed to the Committee.

  1. Environmental Health and Safety Program Manager, CO-CHAIR
  2. Wisconsin State Employees Union representative, CO-CHAIR 
  3. Chief of Protective Services
  4. Health Center representative
  5. Personnel Office representative
  6. Physical Plant Management
  7. Faculty representative
  8. Academic Staff representative
  9. Wisconsin State Employees Union representative
  10. Unrepresented Classified representative

Committee members shall elect a Secretary from the members that are not serving as Co-Chair.

Each organization or group with a Committee representative shall designate an alternate representative. The alternate shall attend meetings whenever the regular representative is unable to attend.

The Chancellor or the Chancellor's designee shall periodically review and update Committee membership and structure based upon Committee recommendations.

III. Meetings

Meetings shall be convened as designated by co-chairs. The entire Committee will meet at a frequency determined by the simple majority of the Committee. Meeting announcements will be published in the Campus Connection.

All employees interested in making a contribution to the Committee are invited and strongly encouraged to attend committee meetings.

IV. Reports

The Committee shall keep meeting minutes.

Wisconsin Statute 101.01(2)(a) and DILHR define an employee as any person who may be required or directed by an employer, in consideration of monetary benefit, to engage in any employment or to go or work or be at any time in any place of employment. The definition applies to students who are employed by the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

Every University of Wisconsin - La Crosse employee has the personal responsibility for complying with recognized environmental health and safety practices. All employees are required to comply with the following environmental and safety procedures by virtue of their status as an employee of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

  • Failure to follow environmental and safety instructions and regulations or engaging in unsafe or illegal practices, may be grounds for disciplinary action.
  • All UW - La Crosse employees are expected to be in compliance with the following safety and environmental practices.
  1. Report all work related injuries, illnesses and accidents immediately or as soon as possible to your Supervisor/Personnel Office and, if necessary, complete an accident report.
  2. To reduce the possibility of further impairment, non-work related injuries, illnesses or physical limitations that could affect health and safety on the job should be reported to your supervisor or their equivalent before starting work.
  3. Properly handle, use and dispose of all hazardous materials/wastes. If you are unaware of procedures ask your supervisor or other knowledgeable individual.
  4. Implement hazardous waste minimization practices and minimize the use of hazardous materials.
  5. Report any acts or conditions that present safety or environmental health hazards to your supervisor or their equivalent.
  6. All employees share the responsibility and have the authority to suspend an operation or deactivate any equipment in the event of imminent danger to life, health, or environment.

A Supervisor is defined as the person who the employee reports to for work assignments and/or other work-related obligations.

Supervisors occupy key roles in the UW - La Crosse Environmental Health and Safety Program. Supervisors have direct responsibility for the safety and health of the employees they supervise. Supervisors must demonstrate that they are genuinely concerned about the safety and health of all their employees and insist that good safety, health and environmental practices be followed at all times. To achieve this level of performance supervisors are held responsible for the following program components.

  • Providing and/or conducting safety and environmental evaluations/audits in their area.
  • Developing area specific environmental and safety procedures, as necessary. For example, developing laboratory specific procedures for working with human blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • Assisting Environmental Health and Safety in the analysis of all injuries, illnesses, accidents and near misses that are reported by their employees. Determine the root cause of the incident and implement prompt and effective corrective measures to prevent recurrence.
  • Maintaining close contact with the injured employee to demonstrate the campuses concern for the individuals well being and to encourage the employee to return to work. If possible, restructure the employees job, with assistance from Human Resources, to expedite return to work.
  • Documenting all employee reported non-work injuries or illnesses that may affect the performance of an individuals normally assigned duties. Supervisor should consult with Human Resources to determine if employee duties should be restricted. (Note: Non-work related reporting must be analyzed closely to determine what type of personal injuries or illnesses we can require employees to disclose and who has access to this information.)
  • Providing safety and environmental training and communication of new safety and environmental practices.
  • Being alert to changes in conditions or work habits that cause safety and environmental hazards.
  • Ensuring that all safety and environmental procedures are followed by employees, equipment is operating in a safe manner, personal protective equipment is readily available and housekeeping is orderly and does not create any safety or environmental hazards.
  • Implementing actions to prevent injuries, illnesses and accidents.

The Administration is defined as the Chancellor, Administrative Chancellors, Academic Deans, Department Chairpersons, Directors, or any other similar titles.

The Administration's responsibility is to conduct their operations in a manner that will ensure environmental protection and the safety and well-being of all University employees, students, guests and residents of the community. They will make sure that safety and environmental requirements are publicized, understood and enforced. They will take a strong personal role in establishing and maintaining accident, injury and illness prevention programs; in addition to active environmental and safety awareness in their areas. They will place strong emphasis on safety and environmental performance at all levels.

The Administration has responsibility for ensuring that environmental and safety concerns are valued by all University personnel. To achieve a high level of performance with this duty the Administration is held responsible for the following Environmental Health and Safety Program components.

  • Clearly articulate and support a Campus policy on Environmental Health and Safety.
  • Establish and communicate clear goals and objectives for the Program.
  • Provide visible top level administrative involvement in implementing the Program.
  • Encourage employee involvement in the structure and operation of the Program.
  • Assign and communicate responsibility for all aspects of the Program.
  • Conduct periodic program audits in their area of responsibility.
  • Hold subordinates accountable for meeting their safety and environmental responsibilities.
  • Ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements.

The following environmental and safety practices are general rules that apply to all employees. The extent to which each employee accepts responsibility for implementing and enforcing these practices will demonstrate our collective commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for Campus employees, students, guests and residents of the community. When each of us does our share, all will benefit.

  • No employee should undertake a job that appears to be unsafe, without first consulting with their supervisor.
  • Immediately report all medical, safety and environmental emergencies (e.g. fires, chemical spills/leaks, physical injuries requiring medical assistance, etc.) to University Police at 9-999 (emergency) or 9-9000 (non-emergency)Protective Services at extension 5-8061 or security dispatch at extension 5-8000.
  • Good housekeeping standards must be maintained at all times. Good housekeeping standards include, but are not limited to:
    • absence of debris and trash,
    • clear aisles that are free from tripping, slipping and stumbling hazards; and
    • orderly and proper storage of work equipment and personal items in common use areas.
  • Consumption and storage of food is not allowed in areas where toxic materials are stored or used.
  • Prior to using any hazardous chemicals or materials personnel shall be familiar with the products use procedures, hazards and the regulatory agency approved disposal method.
  • Personnel shall minimize the use of chemicals under all conditions.
  • All chemicals, except those used by one individual in a single day or work period, must be labeled. Proper labeling includes:
    • identity of the hazardous chemical(s),
    • appropriate hazard warnings; and
    • name and address of the chemical manufacturer.
  • Flammable or corrosive liquids should be transported in shatter-proof containers and shall be stored in approved containers and/or cabinets.
  • Personnel shall not work alone in a recognized or regulated high hazard area or when performing high hazard operations. Examples include, but are not limited to: confined space entry and change-out of swimming pool chlorine gas cylinders.
  • Safety eyewear and other personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, foot protection, face shield, etc.) shall be worn in designated areas at all times or as otherwise specified in written procedures.
  • Manufacturer installed safety devices on machinery and equipment must be used at all times and must not be modified without the manufacturer's written authorization. Safety interlocks must not be bypassed except by personnel that have been trained and received prior supervisory authorization.
  • Emergency equipment must be clearly marked, maintained in good working order and free from any obstacles that could delay or interfere with its use.
  • Emergency exit routes (e.g. aisles, doors) must permit clear and easy passage and shall not be blocked or locked at any time.
  • All sharp objects (e.g. broken glass, razor blades, needles) that are to be disposed must be placed in puncture resistant containers for removal and disposal. Needles are not to be recapped unless required by specific procedures. If recapping is required, it must be done through the use of a mechanical device (e.g., a hemostat or needle holder) or by a one-handed technique.
  • Electrical panels, switches and disconnects at or under 600 volts must have at least 36 inches clearance in the direction of access and 30 inches clearance in front at all times. The area shall not be used for storage and shall provide at least one entrance of sufficient area to give access to the working space.
  • Use the correct tools and equipment for the job. Check to make sure they are in good condition and use correctly.
  • Always lift using proper lifting techniques. Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Stop and review your safety and environmental procedures before beginning work.

Administrative responsibility for the Campus Environmental Health and Safety Program has been assigned by the Chancellor to the Administrative Services Division. The campus program is cooperatively developed and implemented through the Environmental Health and Safety Committee. The Program consists of a wide and diverse set of issues and regulations that affect the personal and financial assets of the UW - La Crosse.

The goals and objectives (action plan) are established to provide a framework for specific actions to improve the Campus safety and environmental posture and stewardship toward the community. These documents will be periodically updated to reflect Campus needs based upon risk and/or hazard assessments conducted Campus Administration, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, or other authority.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: Contact Environmental Health and Safety for a current copy of the Goals and Objectives of the Environmental Health and Safety Committee.

The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for employees, students, guests and residents of the community. All employees, including Campus administrative personnel, are responsible and accountable for compliance with environmental health and safety regulations, policies, and procedures.

Compliance with these regulations, policies, and procedures assists the University with loss control efforts. This benefits the University through protection of its personal and financial assets.

The following policy has been established to relegate Environmental Health and Safety Program responsibility and accountability to each University Department and Unit. In addition, the policy intends to ensure equitable contributions among Departments and Units for environmental health, safety and risk management costs unique to their areas.

Loss control expenditures are categorized into centralized and decentralized responsibilities.

Centralized funds will be financial resources allocated by the University specifically for environmental health and safety programs. Centralized funds will be utilized for environmental health and safety program components which cross division and college lines and benefit the entire University. Program components include Environmental Health and Safety personnel, support equipment, facilities repair and maintenance, monitoring services, training program development, and similar projects which benefit the entire campus.

The University will allocate an annual budget to support Environmental Health and Safety expenditures.

Decentralized funds will be financial resources allocated by the Departments and Units. Decentralized funds will be utilized for Department and Unit specific control of environmental health and safety concerns.

Centralized and decentralized programs may also be supported by financial resources available through UW-System and the Department of Administration. Requests must be submitted for these small project programs or health, safety, and environmental funds. For assistance with acquiring these funds contact the Physical Plant/Facilities management.

Examples of Potential Centralized Expenditures
1. Laboratory analysis of environmental health and safety samples. Samples include, but are not limited to: air, hazardous waste, water, soil, surface contamination wipes, and bulk materials.

2. Purchase of educational tools related to development of health and safety training program.

3. Hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal costs, including waste minimization and related waste reduction activities.

4. Purchase of hazard communication warning labels and/or computer based labeling system.

5. Purchase and distribution of chemical spill emergency response kits and supplies.

6. Purchase, calibration, maintenance and repair of industrial hygiene, safety and environmental monitoring equipment.

7. Administrative costs for Environmental Health and Safety Office, including wages, benefits, office supplies and other operating expenses.

8. Environmental Health and Safety Committee support services, including secretarial assistance, program promotional activities and related administrative functions.

9. On and off campus attendance at pertinent and approved seminars, conferences and training programs.

Examples of Potential Decentralized Expenditures

1. Engineering controls to minimize or eliminate Department or Unit specific equipment and process hazards. Examples of engineering controls include but are not limited to: safety interlocks, equipment guards, spill containment, flammable storage cabinets, compressed gas cylinder supports, lifting aids and local exhaust ventilation.

2. Personal protective equipment, including but not limited to: gloves, safety glasses, foot protection, face shields, aprons, respiratory protection, hearing protection, head protection and harnesses.

3. Personnel resource time to attend training sessions, conduct audits, develop standard operating procedures, have at least two personnel present during any identified high hazard operation and other environmental health and safety responsibilities.

4. Adjustable office workstations, seating and other equipment necessary to provide ergonomically correct office environments.

5. Radiation Safety Program components, including but not limited to: dosimetry, monitoring equipment, shielding, radioactive waste disposal, licensing and other U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, state and local requirements.

6. Biohazard waste containers, warning signs and labels.

7. Valve covers, hasps, locks and other equipment or supplies necessary to implement a lockout or tag-out of any hazardous energy source.

8. Periodic calibration of laboratory hoods, monitoring equipment and other systems per regulatory requirements or manufacturer recommendation.

9. Equipment and supplies necessary to minimize or eliminate hazards in confined spaces, elevated heights and other Department or Unit specific hazards.

10. Eyewash stations, drench showers and drench hoses necessary to minimize the severity of chemical exposure incidents.

This Environmental Health and Safety Management and Implementation Plan complies with the requirements of Governor's Executive Order # 194. All University of Wisconsin - La Crosse employees shall comply with the intent of this plan and future modifications approved by the Chancellor, Chancellor's designee or the Campus Environmental Health and Safety Committee.

Judith Kuipers, Ph.D. 9/29/93 *
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

*Written Signature and Date on File in Environmental Health and Safety Office