Workplace Safety

The University complies with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The purpose of OSHA is to protect the health and safety of faculty members, staff members and student staff members. The University's safety officer, the AVP Business Services/Community Engagement, ensures that standards are met in work situations involving chemicals, bacteria, radioactivity, lasers, machinery and other potential hazards.

A faculty member, staff member or student staff member exposed to hazardous or infectious materials on the job should notify her or his supervisor or department head immediately.

If a faculty member, staff member or student staff member becomes aware of, or suspects, safety hazards in his or her work environment, she or he should notify the supervisor, department head, or the AVP Business Services/Community Engagement.

Departmental Safety Rules - The safety of members of the University community and the safety of others is a primary concern. Departments whose faculty members, staff members or student staff members may be exposed to risks in their jobs have departmental policies and procedures regarding safety precautions. Some jobs require that protective clothing or equipment be worn while performing certain duties. Faculty members, staff members and student staff members must comply with departmental guidelines for protective gear (e.g., hard hats, goggles, gloves, support belts, hearing protection). Failure to do so creates a greater potential for injury and may result in corrective action procedures.

Right to Know - If a faculty member, staff member or student staff member works in an area where he or she is exposed to hazardous chemicals, or might be exposed in a foreseeable emergency like a leak or a spill, the faculty member, staff member or student staff member has a right to know and to be trained to respond to emergency situations, in compliance with federal and state regulations. A list of chemicals and their use is made available to faculty members, staff members and student staff members, and training is administered by the employing department.

On the Job Injuries and Illnesses

Even in a safe work environment, accidents occasionally happen. When accidents occur that result in personal injury or illness, the faculty member, staff member or student staff member must notify his or her supervisor or department head and contact Security Services immediately. It is important to report even those injuries and illnesses which seem trivial at the time. This protects the individual should the injury worsen and result in time off and/or the need for medical attention. A faculty member, staff member or student staff member may not be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if the injury or illness is not reported in a timely manner. Failure to report an accident on the job may result in corrective action procedures (see "Corrective Action" policy in the Standards of Conduct section).

Work Related Personal Injury or Illness - If an on the job injury or illness results in a visit to a physician or in time lost from work, a Self Insured Accident Report form, also known as an SIF-2 form, must be completed. These forms are available in the Human Resources Department. The form must be completed and returned to Human Resources within 48 hours following the injury. Human Resources will forward a copy of the completed SIF-2 form to the third party administrator handling workers' compensation for the University who will process and monitor the individual's claim with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

Failure to file a SIF-2 form promptly may result in ineligibility for workers' compensation benefits, or slow or reduce an injured faculty member's, staff member's or student staff member's benefits. Human Resources may file a claim on the individual's behalf if he or she is unable to do so.

When Medical Attention is Needed - The choice of doctor or care facility is entirely up to the injured or ill individual. However, personal physicians are not always equipped for or available to accommodate an emergency. Therefore, the University has made arrangements with MultiCare Healthworks Clinics and Allenmore Medical Center Emergency Room to take care of on the job injury or illness treatment. All costs for treatment of an individual's job-related injury or illness are paid directly by the University.

Missed work time on the day of injury to visit a physician or the hospital emergency room is reported by staff members as regular time worked. Staff members may request to use accrued sick leave for any follow-up health care visits that require time off.

Missed Work - If a staff member misses work due to a work-related injury or illness, a statement from the attending physician is required. The staff member should call the supervisor according to established departmental policies for each day that she or he misses work, or make alternate arrangements with the supervisor in the case of an extended absence.

Partial Income Replacement Benefits - If a faculty member, staff member or student staff member is unable to work as a result of the injury or illness, the individual will receive time-loss checks from the University, twice a month, as long as the attending physician certifies that she or he is unable to work. Time-loss compensation is generally not provided for the three days immediately following the date of an injury or illness. These three days are considered to be a waiting period. Time-loss payments for those three days will be made if the individual continues to be unable to work on the 14th day after the injury.

The time-loss payment is a non-taxable workers' compensation benefit designed to partially make up for income lost while an individual is unable to work. Minimum and maximum time-loss benefits are set by industrial insurance law. The amount of benefit varies depending on income, marital status, and number of dependent children. Contact Human Resources to discuss the implications of workers' compensation time-loss on salary and benefits.

Sick or Vacation Leave Supplementation for Staff Members - Regular staff members who are injured on the job and who are released from work for over three days following the date of injury are eligible to supplement their time-loss benefits with sick or vacation leave payments. The authorization for release from work must be approved by the third party administrator for Workers Compensation and be identified as a time loss injury. The staff member will receive Workers Compensation time loss benefits for time away from work and will be given the opportunity to supplement time loss benefits with sick or vacation leave, as follows: for every 7-day period for which the staff member receives non-taxable time loss benefits, the staff member may choose to supplement the time loss benefits with 10 hours of sick leave pay (or vacation leave pay if sick leave has been exhausted).

Supplementation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Generally supplementation will be addressed at the point when the injured staff member returns to work because most injured staff members return to work within a month. At that time the staff member will be apprised by Human Resources of her/his sick leave balance and asked to indicate formally whether or not he/she wishes to supplement time loss payments with sick leave. If the staff member has no sick leave accumulated, then she/he will be asked to indicate formally whether or not he/she wishes to supplement time loss payments with vacation leave. In situations when it is clear that the staff members will be on time loss benefits for longer than a month, Human Resources will apprise the staff member of the supplementation option while the staff member is off work so that supplementation payments can be made in a timely manner.

The staff member must have sick and/or vacation leave accrued at the time of injury. Supplementation will not be offered until the injury has been clearly determined to be a Workers Compensation claim. Supplementation will not be available to staff members who return to work on a reduced work schedule. If the faculty or staff member's injury or illness is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of a serious health condition, his or her absence will be identified as FMLA leave (see the "Family and Medical Leave" policy in Staff Policies and Procedures).

Return to Work - A statement from the faculty member's, staff member's, or student staff member's health care provider, certifying the individual's ability to return to work, will be required before the individual may return to his or her regular duties. If the individual is released to work with restrictions (e.g., lifting restrictions) that prevent the performance of some normal job duties, he or she must first contact the department head to discuss whether other assignments can be provided.

Restricted/Light Duty Program - Many injuries that occur on the job do not affect one's ability to perform the job, but some do, and in such circumstances only time and rehabilitation will help. Accordingly, the University has established guidelines to assist persons to return safely to work as soon as reasonably possible. If an individual cannot return immediately to her or his "regular" job due to the injury or illness, the department head, Human Resources, and the individual's physician will work together to design and approve a job that the individual can do, so that he or she can return to work.

Faculty members, staff members and student staff members are to contact their supervisors or department heads as soon as it appears that returning to work is feasible. Supervisors and department heads monitor alternative job assignments to ensure that they are effective, efficient, productive and purposeful throughout the restricted period.

Should the injured person be assigned an alternative position, he or she will be expected to follow the advice of her or his physician. If the individual has trouble performing the light duty assignment, she or he should let the supervisor or department head know immediately. The individual then needs to follow up with his or her physician who will provide a written report outlining recommended changes in the type and amount of work to be performed or medical reasons why the individual is unable to continue working.

Alternative job assignments will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on a number of factors, all of which must be evaluated by the supervisor or department head, Human Resources, and the individual's physician.

Property Damage

Accidents that result in property damage are to be reported to the faculty member's, staff member's or student staff member's supervisor or department head immediately. Failure to report an accident that results in property damage may result in corrective action procedures (see "Corrective Action" policy in the Standards of Conduct section).

Origination Date: 4/1996
Revised Date: 10/2007
Owner: Human Resources
Contact: Director of Compensation and Benefits