General Safety Policy

General Safety Policy

The President of Western Michigan University hereby declares it to be University policy that all persons, whether students, faculty, staff, visitors or others, shall be provided a reasonably safe and healthful campus environment.

Compliance with Applicable Safety Standards

All members of the University community shall comply with federal, state, local, and University safety codes, regulations, rules, and standards. All members of the University community shall cooperate fully with the Department of Public Safety in establishing and preserving reasonably safe conditions and practices in every area of University activity.  

All members of the University community are responsible for implementing this safety policy, specifically including all levels of administration and supervision as well as each individual employee, worker, student, and visitor.

Implementation of Accident Incident Policy

All members of the University community shall actively and vigorously carry out accident prevention in all University activities.

All personnel shall cooperate fully with the Department of Public Safety in the investigation of accidents that have occurred and in the implementation of all reasonable steps necessary to reduce the possibility of recurrence. 


The following adopted and approved University safety rules and regulations are based on requirements established by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

These safety rules are not meant to be all-inclusive, for rules cannot be written to cover every condition recognized as unsafe; for this reason, good judgment must be used.

Responsibilities of Supervisors (All University Deans, Directors, Department Heads, Chairs, Supervisors, Managers, Lead Persons, or Persons Incharge)

MIOSHA requires that each employer furnish to each employee conditions of employment and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm; this will also hold true for students and visitors. MIOSHA requires that each employer complies with promulgated rules and standards and with orders issued pursuant to Act 154 of the Public Acts of 1974.

Department Chairpersons and Directors are responsible for ensuring that the activities within their department are handled in a safe and healthy manner. Any questions as to the safety of an act or procedure should be directed to the Division of Environmental Safety and Emergency Management. It is the responsibility of the individuals exercising operational control within the department to enforce all safety rules and procedures, and to report any safety, health, or fire hazard.

Each department that contains laboratories, studios, or shops or works with chemicals, animals, biological agents, body fluids, radiation sources, moving machinery, extreme temperatures, or high voltage electricity shall write a safety policy pertinent to the activities within that department. This policy shall define the faculty, staff, and student responsibilities for safety. In addition, the Departmental Safety Policy shall include the actions to be taken in case of an emergency, safe operating procedures for laboratories, shops, and studios, and personal protective equipment required for departmental activities. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety will assist with the policy formation and review the policy prior to adoption. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety will maintain copies of all Departmental Safety Policies.

Training shall be provided by each department for all incoming faculty, staff, student employees, and students regarding the Department Safety Policy and safe operating procedures to be followed in the laboratories, shops, studios, and classes that they supervise or attend. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety can offer assistance in training and will provide training which requires MIOSHA recordkeeping such as Hazard Communication, Forklift Training, Confined Space Entry, Hearing Conservation, Asbestos Awareness, Respiratory Protection, and Hazardous Waste Training.

When a department contains laboratories, shops, or studios, safety inspections shall be made at a minimum of twice per year by the designated staff of that department. Copies of the reports shall be submitted to the Division of Environmental Health and Safety. Assistance with safety inspection checklists will be provided by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. 

In conditions that warrant employees to wear personal protective equipment, the Department will provide said equipment unless specified to the contrary in a rule or standard.

The Supervisor or person in charge is responsible for the initial investigation of accidents involving their employees as well as other persons in their area and the preparation of proper reports. All sections of the Accident/Injury Report Form (Form 311) shall be completed by the Supervisor or person in charge and submitted to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety within 48 hours. Additional forms may be obtained from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Responsibilities of Employees (Faculty, Staff, and Students)

Employees shall follow all safety rules and safe practices. The employee who violates a safety rule or safe practice will be subject to discipline as stated in the Department of Human Resources Rules of Conduct, Section 1F.  

The employee shall properly use the personal safety equipment provided. 

An employee shall not remove, displace, damage, destroy, or carry off a safeguard, including warning signs, first aid equipment, or fire equipment provided for use in a place of employment.  An employee shall not interfere in any way with the proper use of a safeguard by any other person.

Any injury which occurs at work, no matter how slight, or any accident which causes damage to property shall be reported immediately by the employee to the person in charge.

Employees shall report safety or fire hazards to their Supervisors or the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. Situations of imminent danger should be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety.

Responsibilities of Outside Contractors

Outside contractors must follow all safety rules and standards as indicated in the Western Michigan University contract. Accidents will be investigated, reports completed, and records maintained as ordered by the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services.  Outside contractors will be aided in emergencies by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and/or other local agencies.

Responsibilities of Students and Visitors

Students and visitors are expected to follow all University safety rules and safe practices as directed by this policy. Rules or safe practices shall be posted or explained by the person in charge of the area. 


Revised 8/1997