Employee Handbook Section 4: Safety at Augustana
General Safety Guidelines
The Office of Human Resources oversees the safety efforts of the college, but all employees are charged with maintaining and enhancing a safe work environment. Augustana College employees are protected by regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The college complies with all applicable OSHA regulations and expects each employee to follow the rules established by OSHA, college policy and specific departmental guidelines. All employees are responsible for wholehearted cooperation with all aspects of safety and health, including compliance with all safety-related rules and regulations and for continuously practicing safety while performing job duties. The prevention of work-related injuries is given precedence over operational productivity. “Horse-play” and irresponsible use of chemicals or equipment are always prohibited. Failure to comply with safe and healthful work practices may result in discipline, up to and including termination.
Augustana College’s safety requirements include:
- compliance with all applicable environmental and safety rules and regulations; attendance at training sessions that are required by OSHA rules and college policy
- regular safety inspections to identify and eliminate unsafe working conditions and practices
- prompt and thorough reporting and investigation of accidents and near misses
- enrollment in the college’s emergency notification system
These requirements, along with the college’s safety and health programs, are designed to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses. The goal is zero accidents, injuries and illnesses. The details of specific safety programs are available from the Office of Human Resources.
Augustana College has written safety programs to establish operating rules, training requirements and guidelines for the most hazardous jobs on campus. Employees should meet with a supervisor and discuss these requirements and operational procedures before undertaking any of the following:
- Touching someone else’s blood or body fluids while (for example) cleaning, responding to a security call, washing athletic laundry or providing first-aid services. Information on our Bloodborne Pathogen program is available.
- Wearing a respirator or “dust mask.” Information on our Respirator Program is available.
- Entering a confined space such as a tunnel, manhole, ductwork or boiler. Information on our Confined Space Program is available.
- Using equipment that is very loud, including leaf blowers, chain saws and lawn mowers. Information on our Hearing Protection Program is available.
- Applying chemicals in large quantities or cleaning up large chemical spills. Information on our Hazard Communication/GHS program is available.
- Operating a forklift truck. Information on our Forklift Program is available.
- Operating welding equipment. Information on our Personal Protection Equipment Program is available.
- Working in elevated areas such as roofs, scaffolding and bucket trucks. Information on our Fall Protection Program is available.
- Repairing, maintaining or altering high voltage equipment or lines. Information on our Electrical Safety Program is available.
Hazard Communication & Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Augustana College maintains a full collection of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to help employees learn about the chemicals used on the job. SDSs describe the chemical composition of each product, the effects they could have on an employee’s health and ways employees should protect themselves from overexposure. Employees should refer to these documents or receive appropriate training from a supervisor before using any chemical on the job. Members of the Office of Human Resources also are available to answer questions about the chemicals used onsite and to assist employees in obtaining or reading SDSs. In general, employees using chemicals are not allowed to use mouth suction for pipetting or starting a siphon and also should not smell or taste chemicals, remove chemicals from the buildings, mix chemicals or otherwise use them for unauthorized purposes.
Depending on the job, some employees may be required to wear special equipment or clothing when performing certain tasks to provide protection from chemical exposure and/or the physical risks associated with certain tasks. Employees who are unsure of this requirement should ask a supervisor whether the job or task requires the wearing of personal protective equipment. If so, this equipment is provided by the college—typically free of charge. Employees participating in the safety shoe program will receive assistance to obtain footwear at reduced rates.
Augustana College has a network of personnel who help ensure the safe operation of the college. This network consists of:
- safety officers, who assist within major academic buildings to direct personnel and students during emergencies requiring evacuation, shelter in place or lockdown
- first responders, who provide basic first-aid assistance to students and staff
- safety committee members, who act to improve safety in specific departments
Employees interested in joining one of these groups should contact the Office of Human Resources.
Injury Care and Accident Reporting
Augustana College will do everything reasonably possible to prevent accidents and injuries to employees. While the college strives for zero recordable accidents, the reality is that injuries can and do occur. All accidents and/or injuries must be reported to the Office of Human Resource as soon as possible, and in all cases within 24 hours. In cases of an accident or injury, employees should assess their condition to the best of their ability and request the necessary assistance. Many departments keep Band-Aids in stock for the convenience of employees who wish to self-administer first aid. First responders have more complete medical kits to address a variety of injuries, including lacerations, contusions, burns and minor eye issues. First responders also are trained to provide CPR and operate the electronic defibrillators. Employees are not encouraged to provide first-aid services on campus unless they have been trained as a first responder by the college.
Employees injured at work or employees who observe an injury should do the following: If it appears to be a medical emergency, they should not wait—dial 9-911 or Public Safety at extension 7711 or 309-794–7711. The same notification should be followed if an employee is experiencing significant health effects from a chemical exposure.
- If employees want to manage their own injury, they should contact a first responder with a medical bag. These bags contain medical supplies and typically are available in each major building on campus. In all but the most minor injuries, employees will be required to be evaluated by a medical professional to determine the extent of any injuries and determine if it is safe to continue working.
- Augustana College maintains affiliations with local health providers and can schedule the necessary appointment and arrange transportation as necessary.
If a co-worker is seriously injured:
- Assess the situation first to be sure it is safe to provide aid. Employees should take care to not become victims themselves.
- Notify Public Safety/Police at extension 7711 and/or 9-911. The campus dispatcher can coordinate the EMS response, provide traffic control and guide the ambulance to the appropriate location.
- Consider notifying the building’s first responder, who may be able to assist.
- If an ambulance has been called, specify someone to meet the ambulance and guide it to the victim’s location.
- Do not move victims unless they are in a life-threatening location.
- Employees should not transport the victims if they are believed to have a serious injury, multiple injuries or a condition that may worsen during transport.
- File an incident report. These forms are available on the Augustana website or from any first responder, and should be filed with the Office of Human Resources.
Once treatment is received, the injured employee must contact the Office of Human Resources. Work restrictions prescribed by the medical provider will be communicated to the employee’s supervisor to facilitate the employee’s recovery.
Return to Work Policy
Augustana College does all it can to return injured parties to their designated position or into a limited or restricted work position. The college will attempt to provide work for those with work-related injuries and illnesses that accommodate any restrictions that the acting physician places on the injured party.
Studies have proven that employees who continue to work, even in limited or restricted work, will heal faster than employees who stay at home to recover. Throughout the restricted work period, the college will consult with the treating physician’s staff to ensure the speedy recovery of the injured party without compromising the quality of care or causing possible additional injury to the employee. Employees are required to honor medical restrictions both at home and at work, and will not be allowed to do work beyond the restrictions given by the medical staff. In addition, employees who refuse limited, restricted or modified work as prescribed by the provider may lose workers compensation benefits.
Modified work plans are given only as necessary on a limited time basis. It is the goal of the college to return employees to their department of origin as soon as possible. Any questions or concerns arising from this policy should be brought to the attention of the safety manager or the Office of Human Resources at the earliest possible opportunity.
Augustana College’s emergency response plan relies upon the cooperation and support of all members of the campus community. While emergency drills will be held on campus during the academic year in conjunction with local police, fire and emergency staff, ultimately it is the responsibility of each member of the campus community to behave in a responsible manner should a crisis occur.
Employees should prepare themselves for emergencies by taking the following steps:
- Sign up for the emergency text messaging. This system, operated at an off-campus location, is used to communicate with the Augustana College community during an emergency. Within minutes of the college’s Public Safety/Police staff being informed of a credible emergency situation, the Augustana College community will be alerted to the nature of the emergency and the correct response of community members. If conditions allow, emergency information also will be disseminated by email and made available on the college’s website. Updates will be provided as needed.
- Listen for the emergency alert sirens. Sirens are tested on the first Tuesday morning of every month. Employees should familiarize themselves with this sound. Should there be an emergency, the main outdoor siren, along with a number of internal sirens, will be triggered. If the college’s communication system becomes inoperable, bullhorns are located around campus and trained staff members will be placed near residence halls and groupings of buildings to provide information.
- Emergency instruction posters are located in each classroom, office area and residence hall room. Should there be an emergency, employees, visitors and students will need to consult these posters for supplementary instructions prompted by the text-messaging, website and email communication systems. Evacuation maps, also located in every major building on campus, explain how to leave the building and indicate appropriate meeting places for evacuees.
To report a campus emergency, employees should call 9-911 (Rock Island Police Department), extension 7711 (Augustana College Public Safety) or 309-794–7711 (Augustana College Public Safety). These numbers are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The dispatcher answering the call will need specific information, including location, the kind of emergency and as many other details as possible. Callers should focus on answering the dispatcher’s questions and providing accurate information.
Refer to the Safety/Security section of the campus website for guidance on how best to respond to specific incidents or contact the Office of Public Safety/Police for additional guidance.