Reporting and Managing Safety Issues

EHS is committed to developing a culture where safety and health are core values, adopted and practiced throughout all levels of the University.

All faculty, staff and students have a role to play - ensuring people under their direction have all that they need to work and study safely, using good judgment and adhering to environmental health and safety precautions, and looking out for each other to avoid injuries, illnesses and environmental harm.  When something goes wrong or even almost goes wrong and when something just doesn't seem safe, it is important to report concerns to supervisors and/or to EHS.

Managing Safety Issues

Department Chairs, Heads of Offices, Directors of Programs, Laboratory Directors, Principal Investigators, managers, supervisors, foremen, etc. are responsible for the health and safety of students and employees engaged in activities under their direction or supervision.  These supervisors must ensure that their employees or students:

  • perform work activities in a safety and considerate manner.
  • comply with all relevant regulations and accepted standards.
  • have the engineering controls or protective equipment needed to perform work safely.
  • complete applicable EHS-required training and have access to training records.
  • receive additional job or activity-specific training as needed.
  • ensure visitors are safe from and aware of hazards in the area or workplace.

Faculty, staff and students are responsible for:

  • adhering to all University and departmental or office safety policies and procedures and comply with safety directives issued by their individual supervisors.
  • complying with the applicable provisions of health and safety standards and regulations promulgated by regulatory agencies.
  • attending required training.
  • raising safety concerns.

Additional information for faculty and staff is included in Section 8.0.1, Workplace Health & Safety of the Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual.

Reporting Safety Issues

Individuals with specific safety questions or concerns are encouraged to raise them with their immediate supervisor. 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, you may contact a member of the EHS staff directly. 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.

If you are truly not comfortable speaking with someone directly, you may use the Princeton University Hotline to make a report anonymously.  The University has selected EthicsPoint, an independent provider of hotline services, to provide you with a simple and anonymous way to report your concerns. EthicsPoint is always available and offers multi-lingual translators.  Go to the University's EthicsPoint page to submit a report online or via telephone, or to follow up on an existing report.

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).