This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: April 2014
Physical facilities are to be inspected at least annually to ensure that workplaces are free from recognized safety hazards.
To achieve full compliance with the requirement, inspections will be performed by one or more of the following: self-inspection, i.e., inspection by the employee(s) occupying the area; Environment, Health and Safety Committee members; Department of Environment, Health and Safety personnel; State and federal agency personnel; insurance underwriter personnel; or a combination of these.
Reports, Notification of Violations, and Corrective Action
Each inspection report is to include observed environment, health and safety violations, non-compliance items, and deficiencies. Inspection findings are to be forwarded to the Environment, Health and Safety Office for preparation of a written inspection report.
The Department of Environment, Health and Safety will send the written report to the person in charge of the facility or function being inspected, the appropriate Environment, Health and Safety Work Environment Committee, and Facilities Services, if the corrective action involves maintenance or capital improvement items.
The person responsible for the area is to respond to the Department of Environment, Health and Safety by the designated date, indicating the corrective action accomplished with regard to each reported violation or deficiency.
Imminent Danger Action
In the event that any manipulation, process, action or condition is discovered which in the opinion of the Director of the Department of Environment, Health and Safety or his/her designee constitutes an immediate threat to the life of an employee or the public, the Director or his/her designee may order the immediate cessation or modification of such manipulation, action or condition. In addition to the Director, such orders may be given by any of the Environment, Health and Safety Section Managers: (Biological Safety Manager; Chemical Safety; Industrial Hygiene Manager; Radiation Safety Officer; Fire Safety Officer; Workplace Safety Manager; CLIP Manager; Environmental Affairs Manager; or Hazardous Waste Manager).
Any University employee who has a direct personal involvement in the facilities being inspected is to be permitted and encouraged to participate in such inspections, including calling possible violations to the attention of the inspector.
Request for Special Safety Investigation
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina provides that employees may request an inspection or evaluation of conditions which they believe may constitute a health or safety hazard. University employees are encouraged to request a “Special Investigation” into the need for corrective action.
The Department of Environment, Health and Safety staff will respond to any request or complaint. University employees who are aware of a health hazard or unsafe condition should notify the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, CB #1650, 1120 Estes Drive Extension, 919-962-5507.
Employees are encouraged to seek resolution of hazardous conditions through the University Environment, Health and Safety Office but, under Section II(d)(1) of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Act, an employee is guaranteed the right to request an inspection from the State Department of Labor (919-733-3332, or 1-800-LABOR NC, Raleigh, N.C.) by giving notice to them of a violation of a safety or health standard that he/she believes threatens physical harm or constitutes immediate danger.
The rights of an employee in reporting complaints of matters affecting occupation environment, health and safety shall be exercised without retaliation on the part of any other person.
Persons requesting an inspection by the Department of Environment, Health and Safety (or the Department of Labor) may request confidentiality and, by law, their name will not appear on any record published, released, or made available to the public or to the immediate supervisor or department head.
Notification of Findings
If the Department of Environment, Health and Safety or the Department of Labor determines that there are reasonable grounds for believing that a violation or danger exists, it will notify the employees or representative of the employees in writing of such determination.
After the Department of Environment, Health and Safety has concluded its investigation, the results will be communicated to the party requesting the investigation and to other appropriate University personnel with due consideration of requests for anonymity. If action is called for that does not constitute a capital improvement such as minor repairs, change of procedure, limitations of access, and so forth, recommendations will be made to the proper departments.
Conditions That Should Be Reported
The types of hazardous conditions that should be reported include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Unsafe work practices
- Suspected health hazards
- Failure to wear required personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Failure to guard machines and cutting instruments
- Improper storage of chemicals, supplies, and other excess materials
- Presence of irritating or noxious odors
- Fire hazards
- Interference with safe egress
- Natural gas odors
- Chemical spills, mercury spills
- Petroleum or gasoline spills
- Compressed gas release
- Radiation exposure or contamination