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All workers, students and community members have the right to work, visit and live in a safe and healthy environment. The campus Safety team promotes this concept through programs and services designed to prevent illness and injuries on the job, and as a general foundation around campus. Our department works proactively with staff, faculty, and students to reduce occupational injuries and illness by providing consultation, education, and safety performance evaluations geared toward improving the safety climate on the campus.  Expand each section below to learn more about Recognizing, Assessing, and Mitigating risks and hazards, in addition to ways you can Prepare for emergencies and Perform safely every day (RAMPP).

The proactive Occupational Health Program partners the employee, the Supervisor, the Safety team, and a variety of UT Dallas departments to understand working conditions and to ensure that precautions are taken to protect the University’s most valuable asset — our employees.

UT Dallas collaborates with UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) as our Occupational Health provider.  The UT Dallas Safety team assists Departments and supervisory personnel in completing exposure assessments.  Exposure assessments identify work practices that may place employees at increased risk for the development of occupational injury or illness. Individuals performing these work tasks are offered access to the UT Dallas-UTSW Occupational Health Program to promote workers’ health and support employees’ working ability. After consulting with their Supervisor and the Safety team, an individual completes the online Occupational Health Program Enrollment – Intake Form to begin the enrollment process. Once enrolled in the program, individuals will establish a secure and private “My Health” account through the ReadySet® occupational health management system, and complete a Health History Questionnaire (HHQ) for review by the UTSW Occupational Health Nurse.  UTSW will assess the working conditions that personnel will be exposed to, and determine if any additional procedures or practices are recommended to protect the health and safety of the individual.

Additional procedures or practices may include:  Titer and/or administration of immunizations, Tuberculosis (TB) screening, spirometry testing and/or respirator fit testing, vision screening, latex allergy screening, or recommendations for consultation with other supporting medical providers.  All services are provided at the UTSW Occupational Health clinic.

Recognize Hazards

What should I recognize?
  • Hazards can be created by physical conditions, chemicals, biological agents, and radiation sources
  • Workplace safety can also be affected by the way we interact with our work environment – awkward positioning/ergonomic issues, noise, temperature, and ambient indoor air quality (IAQ) can influence our wellbeing
  • All UTD Community members should conduct a self-evaluation of their work area to identify potential hazards
  • The OSHA Small Business Handbook provides a good overview of hazards you might find on campus
  • This OSHA IAQ webpage, and the OSHA Indoor Air Quality publication can assist in navigating questions about your work environment
  • Supervisors are responsible to provide safety training to UTD employees, volunteers, and visitors.  The Safety Team is available to assist with training support
  • Consult the OSHA regulations and Texas Hazard Communication Act

Assess Risk

How can I assess?
  • How badly could you, or others, be injured as a result of the hazard? Assessing hazards is an ongoing process in the workplace, because conditions can change daily
  • The Safety Team administers the Occupational Health Program and oversees medical surveillance for all individuals working within UTD animal facilities, and those with potential exposure to certain biological, chemical and other physical hazards
  • University Departments work in partnership with the Safety Team to assess risks for events, daily activities, and work processes
  • Safety Specialists provide consultation regarding safety on construction projects and safe use of equipment
  • Industrial hygiene support is available for the recognition, evaluation, and control of risks including indoor air quality evaluations, chemical exposure assessments, ergonomic reviews, noise surveys, and PPE hazard assessments

Mitigate or Minimize Hazards

Who can mitigate?
  • In accordance with Standards of Conduct, UTD Community members have the responsibility and authority to  ensure that safety rules and accepted safety practices are followed
  • If you cannot eliminate or correct unsafe conditions yourself, report the condition to your Supervisor
  • When building or grounds repairs are required to eliminate hazards, Report the Problem to Facilities Management
  • The proactive Occupational Health Program includes health risk counseling and training, medical clearance, hearing and respiratory fit testing, job-specific drug testing, vaccinations and titers, fitness for duty and travel considerations
  • Ask for assistance from the SafetyTeam!

Prepare for Emergencies

How do I prepare?
  • Be familiar with your Department’s Emergency Action Plan, and identify evacuation routes in your building. Visit the Office of Emergency Management and know your Emergency Response Procedures.
  • Call 2222 from any campus phone for UTD medical or police assistance
  • Locate the nearest emergency shower/eyewash station before working with hazardous chemicals
  • Find the fire extinguisher that is closest to your work area
  • Know where your first aid kit is located, and ensure it is adequately stocked
  • Educate yourself on CPR / AED / Stop the Bleed / and First Aid response. For more information or to schedule training please contact the University Emergency Medical Response (UEMR) team.

Perform Safe Practices

How can I perform safely?
  • Ensure that control measures are working – track your progress and follow up regularly. Leading indicators are a good measure of safety success.
  • Never violate safety rules or accepted safety practices – follow your Department’s established safety policies
  • Ensure you are not creating a condition hazardous to yourself, or another person on the UTD premises
  • Evaluate your work area daily and establish regular processes so that you are not creating or contributing to unhealthy or unsanitary conditions
  • Develop Standard/Safe Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for hazardous tasks
  • Handle and dispose of hazardous waste properly

Learn More

Fall Protection

Background“In 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 1,224 construction workers died on the job, with 36 percent of those fatalities resulting from falls. Events surrounding these types of accidents often involve a number of factors, including unstable working surfaces, misuse of fall protection equipment and human error. Studies have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and travel-restriction systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls.” — OSHA

When Is Fall Protection Required?

Whenever a University employee engaged in construction/maintenance activities is exposed to a potential fall of 6 feet or greater from an unprotected side or edge, the OSHA Fall Protection Standard for Construction applies (29 CFR 1926.501). OSHA mandates that the University select either a guardrail system, safety net system or personal fall arrest system to protect the worker from a fall. Examples of common work tasks requiring fall protection equipment include: roofing, work from scaffolds and articulating boom trucks and work around holes — including skylights.

Other University operations involving fall hazards are covered under the OSHA General Industry Standard for Walking-Working Surfaces, Guarding Floor and Wall Openings and Holes (29 CFR 1910.23). Guardrails are required around any open-sided floor or work platform 4 feet or more above the adjacent floor. All floor holes and skylight openings must be guarded.

Confined Space Entry

A confined space has limited openings for entry or exit, is large enough for entering and working, and is not designed for continuous worker occupancy. Confined spaces include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, underground utility vaults and pipelines (29 CFR 1910.146).

Permit-required confined spaces are confined spaces that:

  • May contain a hazardous or potentially hazardous atmosphere.
  • May contain a material which can engulf an entrant.
  • May contain walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant.
  • May contain other serious physical hazards such as unguarded machines or exposed live wires.
  • Must be identified by the employer who must inform exposed employees of the existence and location of such spaces and their hazards.

What to do when a permit is required

  • Do not enter permit-required confined spaces without being trained and without having a permit to enter.
  • Review, understand and follow employer’s procedures before entering permit-required confined spaces and know how and when to exit.
  • Before entry, identify any physical hazards.
  • Before and during entry, test and monitor for oxygen content, flammability, toxicity or explosive hazards as necessary.
  • Use employer’s fall protection, rescue, air-monitoring, ventilation, lighting and communication equipment according to entry procedures.
  • Maintain contact at all times with a trained attendant either visually, via phone, or by two-way radio. This monitoring system enables the attendant and entry supervisor to order you to evacuate and to alert appropriately trained rescue personnel to rescue entrants when needed.

Useful links:

Lockout / Tagout

For specific support or guidance on University lockout/tagout programs or procedures, contact the Safety team.

The University follows the requirements of the OSHA Lockout/Tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147). This regulatory guidance covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. The OSHA standard establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy.

Heads of departments and Principal Investigators (PI’s) shall ensure that employees under their supervision receive training in equipment-specific lockout/tagout procedures, and ensure training records are maintained.

Through training, employees will be required to posses the knowledge and skills required for safe application, usage and removal of energy controls. It shall be the duty of each employee to become familiar with the contents of this program and ensure compliance with its procedures.

A wide variety of energy sources may need to be locked out during service or maintenance. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Electrical equipment
  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Mechanical
  • Gravity
  • Thermal
  • Chemical
  • Fluids and Gases
  • Water under pressure
  • Steam
Compressed Gas Safety

Handling, storage, and use of compressed gasses can present a high risk for injury or illness if hazards aren’t recognized or controlled. For general information, refer to the OSHA standards on this topic.

An informational checklist to help you identify best practices can be found here: Safety Checklist

Compressed gas cylinders (CGC) are under great pressures —often exceeding 2000 pounds per square inch or 136 atmospheres. At a minimum, to prevent any accidental uncontrolled release of energy, it is important to protect CGC from toppling over and rupturing their valve stems. All compressed gas cylinders, including lecture bottles, “empty” cylinders, and cylinders in transit, must be secured in protective structures such as racks, clamping devices, holders, and stands.

Emergency Shower and Eyewash

Emergency showers and eyewashes play a critical role in minimizing damage to skin or eyes in the event of a chemical exposure. In the event of gross chemical contamination, they can help save a life. Where hazardous chemicals are in use, an eyewash and safety shower should be within 10 seconds clear travel of your workspace. Ensure this equipment is never blocked or obstructed by stored materials or other items.

Never hesitate to use the emergency shower or eyewash in a chemical exposure situation! Most eyewash/shower stations are not routed to a floor drain, by design, and water will accumulate on the floor.

Eyewash and emergency shower stations are tested annually, and should have a current date written on their associated inspection tag. If you identify stations that are in need of testing or servicing, contact the Safety team.

Hazard Communication

Texas Hazard Communication Act (HS 502)

The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes that employees have a right and need to know the properties and potential safety and health hazards of substances to which you may be exposed in the course of performing your duties. Such knowledge is essential to maintaining the general health and welfare of faculty, staff, and students, and reducing the incidence and cost of occupational illness and injury.

It is the policy of UT Dallas to provide employees with appropriate training and information on the safe handling and work practices associated with hazardous chemicals, materials, and conditions to which employees may be exposed in the work place. This is accomplished by complying with the Texas Hazard Communication Act (HS 502) which is incorporated into our policy. Amendments to this standard become incorporated into our policy on the date they become effective.

Implementation of this policy is accomplished through the UTD Hazard Communication Program.

Hearing Protection

Work-related hearing loss is a critical workplace safety and health issue. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the occupational safety and health community named hearing loss one of the 21 priority areas for research in this century. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, but once acquired, is permanent and irreversible.

We must all take steps to protect our hearing.

Noise exposure levels at work should not exceed 85 dB over 8 working hours (as an 8-hour time weighted average “TWA”). Supervisors should monitor all employees whose noise exposure is equivalent to, or greater than, a noise exposure received in 8 hours where the noise level is constantly 85 dB.

Wear hearing protection such as ear plugs or ear muffs if you work in an area with equipment that exposes you to more than 85 dB.

Contact us if you’re not sure whether the noise in your area, or from your equipment, exceeds 85 dB.

Indoor Air Quality

UT Dallas has created a guiding policy (pdf) to minimize indoor air quality (IAQ) issues in our new construction / remodeling / renovation projects. We have adopted relevant sections of the Texas Department of Health Voluntary Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Government Buildings.

IAQ promotes practices that prevent or reduce contamination of indoor air which contributes to a safe, healthy, productive, and comfortable environment inside our buildings.

Indoor Air Quality Policy (pdf)

Pollen Allergy Forecast


Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design, for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue, injury, and discomfort. Workspace assessments are scheduled upon request by contacting us.


CPR / AED / Stop the Bleed / First Aid

For more information or to schedule training please contact the University Emergency Medical Response (UEMR) team.

University Emergency Medical Response (UEMR) strives to create a safer environment for the UT Dallas community by providing faster and more direct emergency medical care for everyone on campus.

In the United States, sudden cardiac arrest claims more than 350,000 lives each year. As a leading cause of death in the world it is frequently caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal, chaotic heart rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping blood. The most effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is delivering an electrical shock to the heart with a machine called a defibrillator. Recent advances in defibrillator design now make it possible for rescuers with limited training to provide defibrillation earlier following sudden cardiac arrest using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

CPR / AED Training teaches lay rescuers how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies, including cardiac arrest and choking for adult, child, and infant victims; and use of an AED for adult cardiac arrest victims. Students also learn to recognize the warning signs of heart attack and stroke in adults and breathing difficulties in children.

Forklift Training

OSHA Standard 1910.178(2)-(7) for forklift training states, trainees may operate a powered industrial truck only:

  • Under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence; and
  • Where such operation does not endanger the trainee or other employees.

Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (lecture, discussion, video, and written material), practical training, and evaluation of the operators performance in the workplace.

All operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and and evaluate their competence.

An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

If you would like more information regarding this standard, please visit OSHA.gov.

Forklift Inspection Checklist (docx)

Contact Us

  • Shane Solis,
    Shane Solis
    Senior Director, Research, Campus and Environmental Safety, 972-883-4730, RL 1.712, shane.solis@utdallas.edu, biosafety and chemical safety committee;emergencies;environmental management;fire and life safety;hazardous waste;lab access control;occupational safety and health;research and academic safety;research integrity and outreach;safety
  • Joan Wickersheim,
    Joan Wickersheim
    Associate Director, Research, Campus, and Environmental Safety, 972-883-7238, BSB 12.802, joan.wickersheim@utdallas.edu, biosafety and chemical safety committee;emergencies;fire and life safety;green-sustainable labs;occupational safety and health;research and academic safety;research integrity and outreach;safety
  • Renee Witherspoon,
    Renee Witherspoon
    Manager, Occupational Safety & Health, (972) 883-6111, SG 1.206, renee.witherspoon@utdallas.edu, occupational safety and health;research integrity and outreach;safety