Safety, Health and Environmental Policy

Applies to: All faculty, staff, students and visitors

The University is committed to promoting a culture of safety among faculty, staff, students, and visitors; providing a safe and healthy place to work, study, live, or visit; and to protecting the natural environment.  The University is committed to complying with all applicable workplace safety, health and environmental rules and regulations.  The University academic, research, clinical, student, and operations units will assess the safety and environmental impact of projects/activities and will implement strategies that support successful education and research while respecting and caring for the environment, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

This Standard Practice Guide lays out basic general responsibilities that various University groups have toward promoting a safe and legally compliant culture throughout University of Michigan campuses and operations, regardless of location.  Additional policies implementing this SPG provide more detailed safety, health and environmental procedures and guidance for specific situations. University units with specialized health and safety requirements for their operations based upon federal, state, or other organization rules, regulations, or guidance must develop unit specific policies and procedures to ensure compliance which unit level policies and procedures must remain consistent with SPG requirements and external legal obligations.

The Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) is responsible for monitoring the implementation of safety and environmental standards, managing investigations of incidents, and evaluating deviations from this policy to ensure safe practices in education and research.  All faculty, staff, students and visitors to the University campus must be aware of these responsibilities and adhere to them while on university property or when conducting university related business, regardless of location. The UM-Flint Environment, Health and Safety Department and the UM-Dearborn Department of Environmental Health and Safety provide services for their respective campuses.

A Culture of Safety is a Shared Responsibility

In a vibrant safety culture, everyone accepts responsibility for the well-being of themselves as well as those around them; allowing everyone to go home at the end of the day as healthy as when they arrived. To this commitment, the following responsibilities are outlined for various members of the UM community.

All faculty, staff, and other employees

  • Adhere to the highest standards for the safe operation of facilities and the protection of our environment, our employees, students, and visitors, and the people of the communities in which we work.  
  • Integrate safety and environmental management into all University activities.
  • Provide instruction for students and visitors on all applicable safety requirements specific to activity conducted and location.
  • Continuously strive to improve safety practices in light of advances in technology and new understandings in safety, health, and environmental science.
  • Report issues or raise questions to your supervisor, professor, EHS, or DPSS so that action can be taken to prevent or correct safety concerns. All reporting must be done without fear of reprisal; however, anonymous reporting can be made through the University Compliance Hotline (www.compliancehotline.umich.edu) at 1-866-990-0111.  The preference is to make a local report so safety concerns can be addressed promptly.
Anyone in a management or supervisory role
  • Assume responsibility for the safety of those under their supervision or oversight.
  • Take all appropriate steps to make all within their area aware of potential hazards and proper management of the risks, including training and proper equipment to carry out activities safely and meet environmental compliance.
  • Encourage anyone within their area to report problems, issues, or improvements without fear of reprisal.
  • Investigate and address reported issues in a timely manner.
  • Serve as a role model and set a positive example for safety by following established safe work practices and implementing corrective actions brought to their attention.
  • Stop an operation under their supervision if it poses an imminent threat to people, the environment, or facilities.
  • Report to higher administration levels failures of persons within their area to adhere to safety or regulatory requirements.
Executive Officers, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads
  • Recognize and promote sound safety and environmental practices to set a positive tone for faculty, staff and students.
  • Take all appropriate steps to create a culture that supports reporting issues and ideas for improvement without fear of reprisal.  
  • Serve as a role model and lead by example to demonstrate that safety and environmental protection are important facets of all University operations.  
  • Provide support for mitigating risks to provide a safe and compliant work environment.
  • Support unit safety committees and unit safety coordinators with authority to correct or elevate safety matters before they become major problems.
  • Act to correct safety or regulatory deficiencies when brought to their attention by managers, supervisors, or EHS.

Department of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS)

  • Partner with and provides assistance to University departments and safety/environmental oversight committees to promote a safe and healthful workplace, protection of the environment, and compliance with applicable rules and regulations.  
  • Publish policies and guidance, and provide assistance and training in the following: general and construction safety; fire and life safety; community health and sanitation; environmental protection and sustainability; biological, chemical and radiation safety; hazardous material handling and waste management.  
  • Perform inspections of campus facilities and operations and reports safety and environmental concerns to the appropriate unit for corrective action.  Elevate unresolved issues to University administration, appropriate oversight committees, or appropriate school or college administration as necessary.
  • Maintain highly trained and equipped staff to respond to safety, environmental emergencies, and post-incident fire response.
  • Acts as liaison, in consultation with the University Office of General Counsel, with federal and state safety/environmental regulatory agencies when dealing with concerns impacting University activities.
  • Assign staff with an appropriate level of training and experience to act as the University: Radiation Safety Officer, Biosafety Officer/Responsible Official, Chemical Hygiene Officer, Laser Safety Officer, and Fire Marshal.
  • Report issues or raise questions to the appropriate administrative authority so that action can be taken to prevent or correct safety concerns.  
  • Issue a notice for correction, with time line for correction, where serious legal non-compliance problems are happening.
  • Escalate to higher level administrative levels where corrections are not accomplished timely, or where there is repeated failure to timely correct less serious non-compliance or safety problems. 
  • Issue an immediate Stop Work Order to the appropriate administrative authority in an imminent hazard situation that may cause death, serious injury, or significant harm to the environment if not immediately corrected.  The Order may not be lifted until the concern(s) can be properly addressed.
SPG Number
Date Issued
Last Updated
Next Review Date
Applies To
All faculty, staff, students and visitors
Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Primary Contact
Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer