Environment and Workplace Safety

The Office of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for developing and overseeing campus programs that are designed to meet environmental, health and safety legal requirements, and to comply with policies adopted by UC Berkeley.

Administrative officials have oversight responsibility for designing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Developing, maintaining, and communicating emergency action plans that address procedures to be followed by personnel in case of fire, earthquake, major chemical spill, or any other emergency;
  • Establishing and supporting programs that provide documented training to personnel regarding applicable UC Berkeley environmental, health and safety policies, procedures and associated laws and regulations, methods to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions, record keeping requirements, departmental procedures, and ethical responsibilities;
  • Ensuring that all research involving potentially hazardous biological, chemical or physical agents is conducted in accordance with University policies and procedures, and applicable laws and regulations;
  • Analyzing work procedures to identify hazards, and then ensuring that proper measures are communicated and implemented to eliminate or control those hazards;
  • Ensuring that individuals working in their departments or units have the proper safety equipment and personal protective equipment to perform their work safely, and that they are trained in the use of such equipment;
  • Encouraging prompt reporting of injuries, health and/or safety concerns without fear of reprisal, and informing employees/students of the availability of medical programs on campus to assist them in the case of potentially hazardous exposures or injuries;
  • Curtailing or stopping work being carried out under their authority if they reasonably believe that the continuation of work poses an imminent danger to health or safety. If the situation cannot be corrected immediately, the administrative official must notify EH&S, and
  • Ensuring that self-assessment inspections are performed and documented at least annually, records are retained, and deficiencies identified in any inspection (self-assessment or other) are addressed in a timely manner.

Administrative officials are also responsible for complying with numerous programs coordinated by EH&S. These programs are listed on the EH&S web site.

Noncompliance in the area of safety and environmental protection can result in departmental and personal fines, and/or the potential loss of funding for individual researchers, the department, and, in extreme cases, the campus.