Safety policies can be found throughout the manuals and guidelines located on the EHS web page. It is imperative that employees know these safety policies and follow them. Failure to follow safety policies and procedures can result in written disciplinary actions and/or community service. Please review the policies below. These policies are presented to each new employee as he/she attends the Right to Know Training (mandatory training for all employees).
No Smoking Policy
The University of Alabama established a "No Smoking" policy in campus facilities on November 21, 1991 at the recommendation of The University of Alabama Health and Safety Committee. "No Smoking" signs have been posted in all University Facilities. For more information regarding the No Smoking Policy refer to the Staff Handbook.
Evacuation and Emergency Procedures
Immediate evacuation is necessary under the following conditions: fire alarm, notification by authorized personnel or an immediate threat to life or health. An acceptable evacuation procedure follows:
Stop all work, extinguish all flames and heat sources and proceed to the nearest exit. Just because you cannot see smoke or smell smoke does not mean there is not a fire or another emergency. The emergency could be in another area. Do not use elevators. Evacuate the area immediately. Do not assume that it is a drill. Sometimes people are trapped in burning buildings because they assume it is a drill or false alarm. Employees who fail to evacuate in a timely manner will be subject to disciplinary action. Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by authorized personnel.
Employees who fail to evacuate in a timely manner will be subject to a written disciplinary action being placed in their file, while students that fail to evacuate in a timely manner are subject to 200 hours community service. In the case of a fire alarm, both employees and students that fail to evacuate in a timely manner may be required to watch fire safety films. Judicial affairs handles all cases of disciplinary action in regards to students.
Other procedures associated with specific disasters can be found in The University of Alabama Disaster Plan. Contact your supervisor to discuss specific procedures relating to possible disasters such as severe weather, bomb threat, earthquake or acts of terrorism.
Nuisance Alarms - Cooking/Heating Food
A nuisance alarm is any alarm caused by carelessness that unnecessarily activates a fire alarm system. Unattended cooking is one of the leading cause of nuisance alarms on campus. Each year the Tuscaloosa Fire Department responds to numerous nuisance alarms on campus that could have been avoided if the individual cooking or heating food had only stayed with their food while it was cooking or heating. UA is taking steps to reduce the number of nuisance alarms by initiating the following disciplinary action to increase awareness and decrease carelessness while cooking on campus. Students who are responsible for a nuisance alarm can receive up to 200 hours community service and may be required to watch fire safety films relating to the cause of the nuisance alarm. Judicial Affairs handles all cases of disciplinary action in regards to students. Employees who are responsible for a nuisance alarm will receive disciplinary action. This could include watching fire safety films or written disciplinary action may be placed into the employee’s file. Supervisors will be notified in writing when disciplinary action is warranted for an employee. The Tuscaloosa Fire Department can also prosecute for nuisance fire alarms with fines up to $4,145.
If there is an appliance within your building that is used for cooking/heating food, there should be a notice posted near them that state, “Do not leave cooking food unattended, you may be subject to disciplinary action if a fire alarm is activated or damages result.”
Nuisance Alarms - Work Related
A nuisance alarm is any alarm caused by carelessness that unnecessarily activates a fire alarm system. Most UA campus buildings have smoke detector activation. Steam, smoke, dusts, and other pollutants along with the work being performed that creates these pollutants (welding, jack hammering, sweeping, etc.) can activate the fire alarm system. To prevent fire alarms in areas protected by a fire alarm system where work must occur, contact the UA Fire Alarm Technician (348-5905), EHS (348-5905), or UAPD Dispatch Office (348-5454) to schedule or request an area be zoned out for work. The first offense is documented as failure to have an area zoned out, while the next offense will result in the employee responsible receiving a written disciplinary action for failure to follow procedures.
Nuisance Alarms - Contractors
Construction Administration has constant communication with contractors on campus and they discuss the sensitivity of smoke detector activation in our buildings prior to allowing any contractor work on campus. Each contractor is provided the telephone numbers to the UA Fire Alarm Technician (348-5905), EHS (348-5905) and UAPD Dispatch Office (348-5454) so that an area can be requested or scheduled to be zoned out for work. Contractors that cause a nuisance alarm by the work they are performing and do not contact one of these entities prior to being work, are sent a warning letter after their first nuisance/false alarm that outlines the repercussions of future false/nuisance alarms. Contractors could be charged for each false/nuisance alarm they cause.
On the Job Injuries
On the job injuries (OJIs) must be reported immediately to the supervisor and an OJI form completed. Employees must go to University Medical Center for medical treatment unless the facility is closed or injuries are extensive. If University Medical Center is closed, proceed to DCH Regional Medical Center. See Staff Handbook for more information. Recommendations are provided for corrective action, including counseling, training and disciplinary action for failure to follow safety guidelines.
Employees occasionally experience an OJI, with a loss of time from work, therefore EHS offers a Return to Work - Light Duty Program designed to support employee recovery, reduce workers compensation costs and promote employee good will. Employees recovering from an OJI who are unable to return to work and fully perform the essential functions of their jobs may still be able to perform light duty work by limiting or altering duties. Some examples for light duties offered at EHS include reviewing safety films (taking tests) and inspecting safety equipment such as exit lights, emergency lights, smoke detectors, etc. Employees are only eligible for light duty when the physician reviewing the employee at time of treatment designates "Light Duty" under conditions for returning to work on the OJI form. The physician must also indicate any limiting impairments or duties the employee may not perform during the period of Light Duty. The Return to Work - Light Duty Program is only eligible to those employees that have reported a work-related temporary injury or illness with the likelihood of eventual return to full performance of their regular job. Any employee that submits an OJI claim and does not receive approval through Risk Management is not eligible for the Return to Work - Light Duty Program. For more specific information on the Return to Work - Light Duty Program contact EHS.
Safety Policy Regarding Heaters and other Heat Producing Devices
Heaters must be UL tested and incorporate a tip over switch which will turn the heating element and fan off if the unit is knocked over. All heaters must be in good repair and have a cord long enough to reach the electrical outlet. EXTENSION CORDS SHALL NOT BE USED ON ANY HEATER. All heaters must be turned off after use. Heaters shall be kept at least 3 feet from combustibles and not within fifty feet of flammable storage. Heaters and their electrical cords shall not create a tripping hazard. If a fire results from negligence (heater is left on or an unapproved heater is in use, etc.) the employee or department will be responsible for damages.
All heat producing devices (such as coffee pots, curling irons, hair dryers, curlers, etc.) have the potential to cause a fire. All heat producing devices used in University owned buildings must be UL tested and approved. They shall be in good repair and have a cord long enough to reach the electrical outlet without the use of extension cords. EXTENSION CORDS SHALL NEVER BE USED ON A HEAT PRODUCING DEVICE. All heat producing devices must be turned off after use. If a fire results from negligence in the use or storage of heat producing devices the employee or department will be responsible for damages.
1. There is a distance minimum of 36” from the ceiling to the top of the mattress. One of the reasons for this is that when a fire occurs the smoke and heat collect at the top of the room. Contrary to what some people may think, smoke will NOT wake you up if you are sleeping as it actually puts a person into a deeper sleep. It only takes one breath of super heated air to sear the inside of a person’s lungs which would severely injure them at this time and possibly end their life. If it is found in violation, it will have to be lowered or removed. There will not be any building of decks or any other structures in student’s rooms on campus unless specific permission has been received by EHS. You must contact the Safety Coordinator for approval prior to building anything in your dorm rooms. EHS will contact the House Corp. President to discuss. (Quite a few have been built that may be jeopardizing the safety of the student and that is being addressed now).
2. Lofts should be freestanding, which means they may not be attached to the walls, floor, or ceiling. The house corporation president may approve if the loft is not against window and cannot obstruct doorway. Being against a window is a fire hazard and fireman cannot evacuate student through window if student is trapped and cannot escape through the door.
3. Lofts should not exceed the floor area of the beds they replace (maximum size 4 ft. x 8 ft.).
4. The occupant must be able to get out of the loft quickly.
5. Lofts may not obstruct the functioning of windows and must be placed in such a way as to allow rapid egress from the room.
6. Wiring shall not be attached to a loft.
7. Lofts may not interfere with the functioning of smoke detectors. An additional hardwired smoke detector may be required.
8. Flammable materials such as paneling, tapestries, curtains, flags, posters, and fishnet may not be attached to or enclose the loft.
9. Lofts may not be placed near any heat-producing source.
10. Protruding objects such as coat hooks, nails, etc. are considered hazardous and are prohibited.
11. Lofts or beds cannot be placed on more than one concrete block. The concrete block must be positioned under the bed with the longest, solid side on the floor.
Lofts that do not conform to the above loft regulations are considered to be in violation, and a student is allowed seven days to make alterations for compliance. The loft is then re-evaluated, and if it is still found to be unacceptable, it is then removed at the student's expense.
Any alterations after the initial inspection must be discussed with the EHS before any revisions are made.
Failure to Follow Safety Guidelines
The Staff Handbook provides recommendations for corrective action, including counseling, training and disciplinary action for failure to follow safety guidelines. Campus specific safety guidelines are available on the EHS website www.bama.ua.edu/~ehs or by contacting EHS at 348-5905.