Workplace Health & Safety


Policy Number and Title Workplace Health & Safety Policies & Responsibilities
Applicable to: All Regular Employees
Effective Date: January 26, 2016
Responsible Executive: Treby Williams
Responsible Office: Office of Environmental Health & Safety
Contacts: Kelly States, Assistant Director, Office of Environmental Health & Safety
Last Update: October 27, 2010

Policy Description

Princeton University is committed to providing a safe and healthful environment for its employees.
This policy describes:

  • various specific health and safety policies applicable to employees at Princeton University;
  • responsibilities of staff, supervisors and departments in support of these policies;
  • procedures for raising safety concerns;
  • procedures for reporting work-related accidents;
  • emergency response; and
  • contacts for health and safety services and resources.

Additional Policy Information

The following policies concerning health and safety at Princeton University have been adopted by various University bodies, such as the Environmental Safety and Risk Management (ESRM) Committee and the Radiation Safety Committee. The overarching policy is the University Environmental, Health and Safety Policy, stated here in its entirety. Other health and safety policies are available on the Office of Environmental Health and Safety EHS website.

Beyond these policies, there are regulatory requirements as well as recommended health and safety practices described in detail on the EHS website.

Environmental Health & Safety Policy

Princeton University is committed to providing a safe and healthful environment for its employees, students and visitors and managing the University in an environmentally sensitive and responsible manner. We further recognize an obligation to demonstrate safety and environmental leadership by maintaining the highest standards and serving as an example to our students as well as the community at large.
The University will strive to continuously improve our safety and environmental performance by adhering to the following policy objectives:

  • developing and improving programs and procedures to assure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations;
  • ensuring that personnel are properly trained and provided with appropriate safety and emergency equipment;
  • taking appropriate action to correct hazards or conditions that endanger health, safety, or the environment;
  • considering safety and environmental factors in all operating decisions including planning and acquisition;
  • engaging in sound reuse and recycling practices and exploring feasible opportunities to minimize the amount and toxicity of waste generated;
  • using energy efficiently throughout our operations;
  • encouraging personal accountability and emphasizing compliance with standards and conformance with University policies and best practices during employee training and in performance reviews;
  • communicating our desire to continuously improve our performance and fostering the expectation that every employee, student, and contractor on University premises will follow this policy and report any environmental, health, or safety concern to Princeton University management; and
  • monitoring our progress through periodic evaluations.

Generally Applicable Health & Safety Policies

Environmental, Health and Safety Policy
Fines Attendant on Regulatory Inspections
Fire Emergencies
First Aid
ID Badge Policy
Mail Handling
Pesticide Use
Pranks & Hoaxes
Respiratory Protection
Roof Safety
Undergraduate Machine Shops
Use of University Structures for Climbing
Variance from OSHA Standards
Working Alone
Workers' Compensation

Health & Safety Policies Specifically Applicable to Science & Engineering Departments

All Laboratories:

Drain Disposal of Chemical Wastes
Laboratory Security
Laboratory Safety Training
Minors in the Laboratory 

Radioisotope-Using laboratories:

Protective Clothing for Radioisotope Users
Radioisotope Security
Training for Personnel in Radioisotope Laboratories
Eating and Drinking in Radioisotope Laboratories
Transferring Radioactive Materials between University Laboratories

Roles & Responsibilities


Department chairs, heads of offices, directors of programs, laboratory directors, principal investigators, managers, supervisors, foremen, etc. are responsible for the health and safety of employees engaged in activities under their direction or supervision.

They must ensure that their employees comply with all relevant regulations and accepted standards and that work activities are performed in a safe and considerate manner.

Supervisors are also responsible for taking corrective actions when employees fail to follow safety rules or standards. 


Each employee is responsible for complying with the applicable provisions of health and safety standards and regulations promulgated by regulatory agencies.
They also must adhere to all University and departmental or office safety policies and procedures and comply with safety directives issued by their individual supervisors. Further, each employee is responsible for reporting any environmental, health, or safety concern to their supervisor.

Departmental Safety Managers

Many University departments have appointed a departmental safety manager to act as a liaison between the department and EHS. In most academic departments, the department manager has taken on this role. Individuals may contact the department manager or their supervisor to determine whom acts in this role in their department.
The departmental safety manager has responsibility for oversight of health and safety within the department and is a principal contact for faculty, staff and students to address health and safety issues or concerns.
The departmental safety manager works with faculty, management and supervisory personnel in the department to identify potential hazards associated with their operations and activities. The main objective is to clearly identify and understand safety responsibilities while providing the means and authority necessary to carry out those responsibilities.
In some departments, the departmental safety manager has assembled a safety committee, consisting of representatives from a cross-section of the department. The safety committee may assist the departmental safety manager in developing and implementing action plans to address health and safety concerns.

Emergency Coordinators

Each building on campus that houses University employees has a designated emergency coordinator (EC). The emergency coordinator is expected to establish and update the building’s Emergency Action Plan, with assistance from EHS and the Department of Public Safety (DPS), to include emergency evacuation procedures; shelter-in-place areas within the building; facility-related topics, such as access management, life safety controls, utility shut-offs, etc.; and any other special emergency planning or shut-down procedures specific to the building.
The EC is encouraged to establish an emergency coordinator team or succession plan in order to reasonably ensure an EC is present during regular business hours.
Training for emergency coordinators is provided by EHS and DPS and is mandatory for ECs and members of the EC teams. The ECs are in turn responsible for training building occupants on the specific elements of the Emergency Action Plan.

University Committees with Environmental Health & Safety Responsibilities

The following committees have been established by Princeton University to manage or to provide oversight of various aspects of environmental health and safety:
Environmental Safety & Risk Management Committee
Fire Safety Committee
Fleet Safety Committee
Institutional Biosafety Committee
Pedestrian Safety Committee
Radiation Safety Committee 
In addition to these University-wide Committees, various Departments have established safety committees to address health and safety concerns on a department-wide level.

Contact Risk Management for questions regarding worker's compensation and long term disability claims.

Application of This Policy

Raising Safety Concerns

The responsibility for safety at Princeton University is discussed in the Roles and Responsibilities section of this policy. Both supervisors and workers play an important role in ensuring a safe and healthful workplace at Princeton University.
Individuals with specific safety questions or concerns are encouraged to raise them with their immediate supervisor or their department safety manager. Dealing with safety issues through the supervisory chain of command is the preferred method. However, when this approach is unsuccessful in resolving a safety issue, concerns may be raised by direct contact with an EHS staff member.
EHS staff will, on request, keep the name of a complainant confidential. However, in some instances, this constraint may prevent thorough investigation and resolution of a complaint.
Federal labor law prevents an employer from discriminating against an employee for engaging in certain "protected activities," such as filing of safety complaints with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Although employees have the legal right to file an OSHA complaint, they are encouraged to first exhaust all internal mechanisms for addressing safety issues, including supervisory staff, departmental safety managers and safety committees, EHS, or the University Environmental, Safety and Risk Management Committee (ESRM).

When serious safety concerns arise after normal University business hours, the Department of Public Safety should be contacted at 258-1000.

Reporting Requirements for Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Princeton University, in accordance with the workers’ compensation law of the State of New Jersey, provides for employees who experience a work-related injury, illness, disability or death. The details of Princeton University’s Workers’ Compensation Policy, including notification and reporting requirements, are provided in policy 3.1.11 Workers' Compensation Leave and Benefits.


Disciplinary Procedures

Employees are responsible for complying with the applicable provisions of health and safety laws, standards and regulations, adherence to all University and departmental or office safety policies and procedures, and complying with safety directives issued by their individual supervisors. When employees do not meet these standards, it is the supervisor's responsibility to act in a timely manner and initiate a program of disciplinary steps to address the problem, as outlined in the University’s Disciplinary Procedure.

Contacts & Other Resources

Office of Environmental Health & Safety
The EHS staff works in a coordinated effort to address health and safety issues in four broad areas: workplace safety, chemical safety, radiation safety, and biosafety and sanitation.

(609) 258-5294

Office of Employee Health
The Office of Employee Health provides services to promote, protect and restore the employee’s health within the context of a safe and healthy work environment. Contact Employee Health for matters related to work-related injuries and illnesses.

(609) 258-5035

Department of Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety works around the clock to maintain a safe atmosphere and to serve as a resource for students, faculty, staff and visitors. 

(609) 258-1000

Department of Risk Management
The Department of Risk Management is responsible for the management of the University's Property and Casualty Insurance Program and the financial support of various employee benefit plans and the Student Health Plan.
Contact Risk Management for questions regarding worker's compensation and long term disability claims.

(609) 258-3046

Update Log

January 26, 2016: Updated hyperlinks, contact and outdated information.
August 20, 2019: Added policy to EHS website, updated hyperlinks.