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UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-6531

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 6110: Safety & Risk Services

Date Originally Issued: 08-01-1997
Revised: 04-30-2014

Authorized by RPM 7.14 ("Risk Management and Insurance")
Process Owner:  Director, Safety and Risk Services

1. General

The University of New Mexico is committed to providing a safe and healthful work, educational, and living environment, to having a positive impact on the natural environment, and to protecting the University’s physical resources and financial assets.

To help achieve these goals, the University has established an extensive safety and loss control program administered by the University’s Safety & Risk Services Department and described more fully in UAP 6100 (“Risk Management”).  The Safety & Risk Services Department supports the University’s core mission by advancing the safety and health of the University community through risk management, best practices, education, consultation, and collaboration.  The Safety & Risk Services Department staffs the Loss Prevention & Control Committee and works with the University community to identify, evaluate, and control hazards and potential losses.   The Safety & Risk Services Department is responsible for informing University departments of compliance requirements and for supporting compliance through training and consultation.  The Safety & Risk Services Department works collaboratively with members of the University community.  However, if compliance requirements are not met or if there is a threat of injury, then the Safety & Risk Services Department has the authority to stop the activity.  Before stopping any activity, the Safety & Risk Services Department shall contact the stakeholders and supervisors overseeing the project.  

2. Campus Wide Responsibility

Responsibility for safety, however, cannot be delegated to one department and must be assumed by every member of the University community.  As part of this responsibility, faculty, staff, and students are expected to comply with the University’s safety programs, regulations, and policies, which have been designed to prevent accidents and job-related illnesses, and to protect the environment.  Having a safe environment reduces the risk of accidents and associated costs, improves employee morale, and increases productivity.

Within their respective units, deans, directors, department heads, and other supervisors should be aware of the health and safety needs of faculty, staff, students, and visitors. To facilitate these needs, they should work with the Safety & Risk Services Department to carry out any preventive and corrective measures that are warranted to minimize hazards. Safety should be an integral part of all courses, especially when there is a potential for accidental injury or illness related to activities in classrooms, laboratories, studios, or shops.  The Safety & Risk Services Department shall assist with mitigating penalties and fines for violations.  However, the unit that received the violation bears responsibility for paying the penalty or fine.

3. Regulatory Agencies

If a representative of a federal or state regulatory agency contacts an employee or student to conduct a safety inspection, the employee or student should contact the Safety & Risk Services Department immediately. The Safety & Risk Services Department will facilitate the inspection and provide trained professionals to work with the agency.

4. Safety & Risk Services Department

The Safety & Risk Services Department provides comprehensive occupational safety, health, and environmental management services to the University.  It works with University departments to eliminate problems, reduce accidents and injuries, and ensure that the University’s impact on the environment is positive by identifying potential hazards.  It provides training in the areas of safety and health and employee accident trending and reporting. The Safety & Risk Services Department includes several safety programs:

  • Health and Occupational Safety
  • Construction Safety and Risk
  • Environmental Affairs
  • Fire Safety

4.1. Health & Safety

The Health & Occupational Safety Program inspects University facilities to identify unsafe situations or actions that could cause accidents or injuries. To promote workplace safety, it oversees compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including such topics as confined space, lock-out/tag-out, and personal protective equipment.  It investigates accidents, works to eliminate risks of slipping and falling, and provides training on defensive driving. To promote the well being of the University’s work force, it provides consultation and other services to identify and correct ergonomic hazards.

This Division is responsible for coordination of programs and activities including but not limited to:

  • Building and Laboratory Inspection Program
  • Comprehensive Safety and Health Training Program
  • The UNM Safety & Risk Services Department’s Manual
  • Emergency Preparedness Activities from an Occupational Safety perspective
  • Employee Accident Trending and Reporting
  • Asbestos Management Program
  • Lead Paint Management Program

The Health & Safety Program is responsible for the following programs and regulations:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations such as Confined Space, Lock-Out Tag-Out, and Personal Protective Equipment
  • National Fire Protection Association regulations
  • Accident Investigations
  • Defensive Driving Program

4.2. Construction Safety & Risk Program

The Construction Safety & Risk Program ensures that the University’s construction projects comply with applicable health and safety standards.  The program is involved in all construction, construction-like activities, renovation, and demolition, whether performed internally or externally (see section 4.2.1).  This program also ensures that liabilities associated with safety and health risks, including future costs and ongoing maintenance issues, are addressed during the planning and design phases of construction.

At all stages of construction, the Construction Safety & Risk Program works to identify, evaluate, and mitigate recognized construction-related hazards. Involvement begins at the design phase, continues through the construction phase, and ends at project closeout. During the planning phases, Safety and Risk Service’s Manager of Insurance and Claims is consulted to determine the proper type and level of insurance and bonding necessary for each project.

Working closely with Institutional Support Services and other stakeholders, the Construction Safety & Risk Program identifies and informs the workforce of safety regulations and best practices in order to mitigate potential hazards.  The Construction Safety & Risk Program ensures regulatory compliance, but has no involvement in the actual performance of construction projects.

All personnel working on a construction project, including Construction Safety & Risk Program staff, have the authority and responsibility to pause or stop work when an imminent danger or condition is observed or reported that could adversely impact health or safety, the environment, or the University’s reputation. For other identified health and safety hazards, such as infrastructure problems or necessary design changes, the Construction Safety & Risk Program will coordinate with the project manager in charge of the project prior to pausing or stopping work.

4.2.1. Construction Contractor Health and Safety Program

The University’s contractors are responsible for the health and safety of their workers and for protecting the environment.  Compliance with health and safety requirements is a condition of a contractor’s performance contract and a failure to fulfill the requirements may lead to contract termination.

The University bears responsibility for flowing down all applicable health and safety requirements to a contractor prior to the execution of a construction contract.  Depending on a project’s proposed scope, the Construction Safety & Risk Program may be asked during the design phase to identify appropriate health and safety requirements for incorporation into the contract.  During all phases of a construction project, the Construction Safety & Risk Program oversees contractors’ compliance with the health and safety requirements.

Regardless of the level of activity or applicable health and safety requirements, the general contractor and subcontractor bear responsibility for developing and submitting a Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan (SSHASP) that addresses all health and safety topics required by the contract. Work will not commence on the project until the Construction Safety & Risk Program has reviewed and approved the SSHASP.

4.3. Environmental Affairs

The Environmental Affairs Program is responsible for the University’s compliance with environmental regulations, and with collecting, minimizing, transporting, treating, and disposing of hazardous materials.

To determine potential exposure to chemical, biological, or physical hazards, the Environmental Affairs Program monitors work and academic environments. When potential health hazards are identified, the Environmental Affairs Program develops abatement plans to reduce the risk of injury or illness resulting from exposure to these hazards.  As part of its monitoring of work and academic environments, the Environmental Affairs Program oversees compliance for programs including but not limited to:

  • Environmental Protection Agency regulations, such as for hazardous chemical waste; New Mexico Environment Department regulations; and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Control regulations
  • drinking water, storm water, and wastewater monitoring
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations
  • chemical spill responses
  • chemical storage, inventory, and safety data sheets
  • industrial hygiene monitoring
  • indoor air quality
  • local exhaust ventilation management
  • biosafety
  • monitoring contractors’ chemicals
  • community right-to-know reporting
  • infectious waste disposal
  • Chemical Safety Committee
  • Chemical Inventory and Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Enterprise Reagent Management software

4.4. Fire Safety

The Fire Safety Program promotes fire safety in the University’s work, academic, and living environments.  It oversees the University’s compliance with the National Fire Protection Association regulations, the State Fire Prevention Code, and other applicable fire safety laws and standards.  As part of this work, the Fire Safety Program provides fire safety education and training, and investigates all fires that occur on University property.