Revised on
07/05/18 03:42pm
SafetyNet #

Safety Management Program Guidelines for Department Chairs

Contact information

Department Chairs perform a critical safety function in Campus Departments.  Department Chairs are responsible for allocating resources to, and providing leadership of the department’s Safety Management program.  A brief summary of the elements of the Safety Management Program are included in this SafetyNet.


UC Davis Policy and Procedure 290-15 outlines the UC Davis Safety Management Program and defines the responsibilities of the Department Chair for this program. Some of the basic responsibilities of the Department Chair are also defined in this P&P, although departments may further define expectations and/or specific responsibilities

Illness and Injury Prevention Program (IIPP): Under University Policy (UCD Policy & Procedure Manual Section 290-15: Safety Management Program) and California Code of Regulations (8 CCR, Section 3203), department chairs are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).  This program defines all of the key elements of a department’s safety program that are required by law. The IIPP is the first document that a Cal-OSHA inspector will review when visiting a department. EH&S provides a basic IIPP template on our web site that each department must individualize depending on the work activities and hazards present in their department. The IIPP is a “living document” that must be updated as the work activities and hazards in the department change. Annual training on the provisions of the IIPP must be provided and documented for all department employees.

Emergency Action & Evacuation Plan: Each employer is required by law to train workers on emergency evacuation procedures on an annual basis and post maps of evacuation routes and emergency equipment locations within their building. This training must be documented as part of the department’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program. The Department Safety Coordinator (DSC) often plays a key role in the development of this plan and/or the annual training.

Incident Investigation: EH&S will assist departments in notifying Cal-OSHA whenever there is an illness or injury that must be reported to Cal/OSHA. Please refer to SafetyNet # 121 for further details on these reporting requirements. Supervisors are required to conduct a detailed investigation following an injury or illness. The purpose of the investigation is to identify direct and contributory causes for the incident and define and assign preventative actions. Department Chairs are responsible for reviewing and signing the completed Employer's First Report.  Implementation of corrective action must also be documented in the IIPP.

Department Safety Committee: P&PM 290-15 recommends that departments have a Safety Committee to develop and implement the safety program within the department. Generally the Department Chair leads this committee and appoints its members. This committee supports the role of the DSC. Communication on safety issues within the department is enhanced by committee participation of both faculty and staff. Prioritization of safety issues is facilitated, benefiting the department by directing resources where they are most needed.

Safety Training for Department Employees: One of the key elements of a department’s Safety Management program is to define training that is required for each employee or category of employee in the department. Each supervisor has responsibility for defining, implementing, and documenting training for their employees. DSCs may be asked to provide assistance to supervisors in meeting this requirement.  The campus Ergonomics Program policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and Principal Investigators in reducing musculoskeletal injuries.

Field Safety: Field research activities range from on-campus agricultural or animal research to off-campus research sites of nearly infinite variety.  The field safety issues for a research group/laboratory may entail very unique hazards related to specialized research.  Principal Investigators and the Department Safety Coordinator review these hazards to ensure that the department’s IIPP includes all known hazards and is updated whenever new hazards are introduced or recognized.  If boat-supported research is planned, visit the boating safety webpage.  For scientific diving activities, P&PM 290-80 describes those requirements.

Hazardous Materials Training and Management

  • Hazard Communication Program: Employees must be provided with training on the chemical hazards to which they might be exposed.  This training must include how to access and interpret a safety data sheet (SDS), where to get help for chemical hazards and how to respond to chemical emergencies.  Access to SDSs is required for all employees who might use chemicals.  EH&S recommends hard copy SDSs be maintained in the work area for chemicals that are used routinely or in large quantities and for those chemicals that are particularly hazardous or toxic.  The University of California Office of the President maintains a subscription to a comprehensive on-line SDS database.  Access is free to any UC Davis IP address.  If an SDS doesn’t appear to exist for a chemical, please contact EH&S.
  • Chemical Inventory System (CIS) and CUPA Self-Audit Program: Hazardous materials located in laboratories and chemical storage areas on campus must be included in the Chemical Inventory System.  See the CIS web page for more information on these requirements.  Annual hazardous materials inventory reporting is required for the laboratory, through the CIS program.  The Yolo County CUPA program monitors this inventory and inspects campus laboratories to verify compliance with hazardous materials and waste storage and handling and required training.  The CUPA Self-Audit program detailed on the EH&S website was established to help campus facilities comply with these requirements.
  • Hazardous Waste Disposal: Hazardous waste on campus is picked up for disposal by EH&S.  The EH&S website provides information on hazardous waste disposal and how to request a pick-up. The  EH&S website also provides information on allowable drain disposal including links to the waste water treatment plant local limits program which addresses permitted sewer disposal.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Access to SDSs is required for all employees who might use chemicals.  EH&S recommends hard copy SDSs be maintained in the lab for chemicals that are used routinely or in large quantities and for those chemicals that are particularly hazardous or toxic.  All employees must be trained on how to access SDSs.  The University of California Office of the President maintains a subscription to a comprehensive on-line SDS database.  Access is free to any UC Davis IP address.  If an SDS doesn’t appear to exist for a chemical, please contact EH&S.
  • Shipping Hazardous Materials:
    • Mail Services offers shipping service limited to non-infectious human/animal samples, dry ice shipments and hazardous materials in excepted quantities. All other hazardous materials shipping is facilitated by Environmental Health and Safety. To request shipping services for all other hazardous please email a completed Hazardous Material Information Sheet to Environmental Health and Safety at  Environmental Health and Safety will assist with classification, packaging and transportation of your hazardous materials shipment to Mail Services for shipment. 
    • Hazardous materials (including dry ice) must be packaged, marked, labeled, and certified to meet Federal regulations. In addition, there are federally mandated training requirements for those individuals involved in the packaging and shipment of hazardous materials. For more information please visit the Department of Transportation's webpage (ICAO) regulations. In addition, any person preparing, packaging or offering dry ice for transport must be certified to do so under Title 49, Subpart H, §172.700-172.704
    • Once training has been completed you may reference the Dry Ice Job Aid for additional/refresher information on the packaging and shipping of dry ice.


  • Chemical Hygiene Plan: A laboratory-specific Chemical Hygiene Plan is required under P&PM 290-15.  This plan defines the safety program in the lab and describes lab-specific requirements for hazardous materials use.  Detailed requirements of this plan and a template can be found in the Chemical Safety Manual published by EH&S on the EH&S website.
  • Authorization Program: If the research will include radioactive or biological materials, or research lasers, a Radiation Use Authorization (RUA), a Biological Use Authorization (BUA), or a Laser Use Authorization (LUA) may be required.  Please contact EH&S for assistance.  If the research includes animal use, an animal use protocol may be required.  Contact the Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee for assistance.
  • Carcinogen Use Program: The campus is required to report use of California-regulated carcinogens annually.  Laboratories possessing campus recognized carcinogens are required to report carcinogen use through the CIS program.  PIs will then be required to perform a self-audit to help the lab comply with the regulatory requirements.
  • Safety Training for Laboratory Employees: All employees must be trained, at least annually, on the hazards to which they might be exposed and how to protect themselves from those hazards.  Employees also need to be trained on the provisions of the lab-specific chemical hygiene plan.  Regular lab meetings are an excellent opportunity to provide needed training.  All training must be documented – even “informal” training sessions, lab meetings, etc.  EH&S recommends that all new lab employees take Chemical and Laboratory Safety Training, offered through EH&S.


Injury & Illness Reduction: Supervisors can reduce employee risk of injury and illness by observing employee behavior, coaching, motivating and intervening when employees engage in unsafe acts or practices. Supervisors and Department Chairs also have access to 'Be Smart About Safety' funds to help pay for injury/illness prevention equipment and tools. In addition, the injury prevention specialist will work with departments to establish creative solutions (i.e. work re-design, ergonomic equipment, etc.) to prevent injuries.

EH&S Web Site: The EH&S website is continually being updated to include the latest information in the most user-friendly format. In addition to serving as the source for all EH&S program documents, there are also useful links to other sites to help Department Chairs get answers to a wide variety of questions.

SafetyNets: SafetyNets are available at the EH&S website to provide detailed information on many typical safety questions. New SafetyNets are frequently developed based on safety needs of the campus community.  FireNets are now part of the SafetyNets and provide detailed information on a variety of fire-related safety topics and requirements.  FireNets are updated and developed based on information needs of the campus.

UC Davis Police Department Resources: The Police Department website provides information on crime prevention, recent criminal activity on campus, and other Police Department services.  Alert bulletins are distributed to campus via department mail and fax, and posted on the Crime Prevention website.  To subscribe to receive alert bulletins via email, send a message to

Equipment Specific Requirements: Some equipment used by your department may have additional regulatory requirements for permitting, certifications or inspections.

Safety Training Resources for Department Chairs

Training Provided by EH&S: EH&S  offers a wide range of classes on Animal Safety, Biological Safety, Chemical/Laboratory Safety, Ergonomics, Hazardous Waste Management, Physical Hazards, Radiological Safety, and much more. To sign up for these classes, visit the Safety Services web site. All EH&S classes are free to UC Davis staff, students, and faculty.