University Safety Rules
- Administration, Deans, and Department Heads
- Department Managers and Supervisors
- Off-Campus Facilities and Organizations
- Office of RMEH&S
Fire Prevention & Life Safety
- Lifting and Carrying
- Ladders, Scaffolds and Work Platforms
- Machinery, Equipment and Tools
- Electrical Safety
- Welding and Cutting (Hot Work)
- Trenching, Shoring and Excavation
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Compressed Gas Cylinder Storage and Use
Fleet Safety Program
- Fire Extinguishers
- Emergency Exits
- Emergency Plan for Persons with Disabilities
- Emergency Evacuation Plan
- Emergency Guidelines for Fires
Additional EH&S Programs and Resources
- Hazard Communication Program
- Chemical Hygiene Plan
- Hazardous Waste Management
The safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is a
primary consideration in the planning and execution of all University
activities. It is the University’s goal to build facilities, plan activities
and conduct business in a manner that minimizes and/or eliminates the
possibility of accidents that could result in personal injury and/or damage to
Southern Methodist University is committed to providing a
safe and healthy workplace and community for its students, faculty, staff and
visitors. The University’s approach incorporates the practice of risk
management, occupational safety and health, environmental protection, property
conservation and regulatory compliance.
This handbook has been developed to introduce you to the
basics of the University’s Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)
Program that has been established to provide a safe and healthy campus
environment. Since this handbook cannot cover all safety, health and
environmental issues, it is essential that you, as a member of the University
team, act in a safe and responsible manner at all times. If at any time you are
not sure of the proper procedure or safety precautions to take -- ask your
manager or supervisor . If you identify or become aware of any situations
or conditions which could directly or indirectly contribute to an injury,
illness or property damage, report it to your manager or supervisor immediately.
SAFETY: What Does It Mean?
At SMU, safety is Thinking, Acting and Working in such a
manner that unsafe acts and conditions are avoided . Your safety and health,
along with that of your co-workers, has the highest priority at this University.
As such, we want and expect our University to be accident free. Avoiding these
unsafe acts and conditions requires everyone to have the proper "SAFETY
What Is A SAFETY MINDSET?
Having a safety mindset means making safety an
integral part of your life. It means that you are constantly observing your
surroundings and preventing unsafe acts from happening - whether by you or your
co-workers. If unsafe conditions are present, it is your responsibility to alert
others about them and initiate action to get them corrected. Overall, someone
who has a safety mindset makes safety and health the number one priority
in everything he/she does or observes. To develop or enhance your safety
mindset, you must actively participate.
Avoiding Unsafe Conditions
Employees have the right to refuse a work assignment if there
is a reasonable belief that the task would endanger his/her physical safety
(beyond the normal hazards associated with the occupation), or would violate
governmental safety standards. Any employee who refuses to perform the assigned
work task shall not be required to resume the work assignment until either the
hazard has been corrected or a determination has been made by a qualified person
stating that the work is not unsafe or dangerous.
Whenever dangerous working conditions exists which requires
immediate corrective action, the employee(s) shall notify their
manager/supervisor at once. The manager/supervisor shall take immediate action
to correct the hazard. If corrective action is not taken immediately by the
manager/supervisor, the employee(s) shall notify the Director/Department Head of
their department. The Director/Department Head shall take immediate action to
correct the hazard. If the appropriate corrective action is still not taken
immediately, the employee(s) shall notify the Office of Risk Management and
Environmental Health & Safety (RMEH&S).
No employee who refuses to perform work in accordance with
this section shall be disciplined, retaliated against or lose the right to
perform the work once the hazardous condition has been corrected.
Delegation of Responsibilities
The University is committed to providing a safe and healthy
environment for its students, faculty, staff and visitors.
The responsibility for implementing the policies and
procedures of the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Program begins
with the President and reaches through the entire University to include each
faculty member, staff member and student.
All members of the University community, at every level, have
the responsibility to actively participate in helping to create a safe and
healthy campus environment. Each individual must accept their responsibility to
prevent injuries to themselves and their fellow members of the University
community by prudently following the policies and procedures established under
the EH&S Program. In so doing, they will benefit themselves, their families,
and the University.
Administration, Deans, and Department
Management shall provide the incentive, resources and full
support of all safety procedures and programs, training and hazard elimination
practices. Specific responsibilities under the EH&S Program include, but are
not limited to:
- Maintain and enforce compliance with all rules, procedures and programs as
established under the EH&S Program that are applicable to their
operations. Also, with the assistance of the EH&S Department, ensure
compliance with all applicable regulatory standards and guidelines.
- Identify facilities and/or equipment that present a risk to safety and
health and implement the appropriate corrective action(s). If the corrective
action requires the replacement, upgrade or addition of new equipment or
facilities, management shall provide the appropriate funds and resources as
- Ensure that all managers, supervisors, and department personnel are
properly informed of and fully understand all University and departmental
safety rules and procedures.
- Allocate adequate funds and resources to provide the appropriate safety
equipment, protective devices and tools that departmental personnel need to
perform their jobs safely and effectively.
- Ensure that all departmental personnel are provided proper medical
treatment when a work-related injury or illness occurs.
- Ensure that all accidents resulting in or having the potential to result
in a loss due to injury, illness and/or property damage are properly
reported, investigated, and that appropriate corrective actions are
- Actively solicit suggestions or recommendations from all department
personnel which will contribute to the continuous improvement of the
Department Managers and Supervisors
Managers and supervisors are directly responsible for the
instruction of all personnel under their supervision in regard to proper
procedures and safe methods to be utilized in performing assigned activities,
for taking appropriate corrective actions to eliminate hazardous conditions and
or practices necessary to prevent accidents. Specific responsibilities under the
EH&S Program include, but are not limited to:
- Enforce, at all times, the rules and procedures established under the
- Shall not permit safety or health to be compromised for any reason
regardless of productivity, time limitations or lack of available resources
- Develop and implement safe standard operating procedures and departmental
safety rules for all job tasks or activities.
- Ensure that all personnel under their supervision are properly trained on
and fully understand the rules and procedures established under the EH&S
program and or specific departmental procedures.
- Provide personnel with needed personal protective equipment, safety
devices and/or proper tools, and ensure that personnel can demonstrate the
proper use and limitations of the equipment assigned to them.
- Ensure that all work areas are inspected for hazardous conditions or
unsafe practices and utilize all available resources to identify the
appropriate corrective actions necessary to minimize or eliminate the
potential hazard sources.
- Investigate all accidents promptly to identify all direct and contributing
causative factors and report said findings to the appropriate management
personnel and the EH&S Department.
- Ensure that any injured or ill personnel receive prompt medical treatment
and that all incidents are properly reported and investigated.
- Accident records and overall safety performance should be included as part
of the annual performance review for each individual under your supervision.
- Motivate interest in health and safety by commending and recognizing
personnel who demonstrate a safety mindset, maintain an accident-free work
record and, who contributes ideas and practices for continuous improvement
of the safety program.
All University employees, including full-time and part-time
faculty, staff and student workers, shall comply with the rules and procedures
established under the EH&S Program and any and all departmental rules and
procedures which do not conflict or compromise the intent of the overall
University safety program. Specific responsibilities include, but are not
- No employee shall perform any task or activity which is considered
hazardous, or is known to be hazardous, without requesting and obtaining
assistance from their supervisor as to the proper safety procedures and
controls. Safety and health related problems or disputes that cannot be
settled at either the supervisor or department level shall be referred to
the Office of Risk Management/EH&S Department for final resolution.
- No employee shall perform any task or activity that compromises and/or
violates any rules or procedures established under the EH&S Program, any
departmental rules or procedures, or any regulatory standard or guideline.
- Report any unsafe conditions, practices or equipment to your
manager/supervisor whenever deficiencies are observed as often as necessary
to ensure that the appropriate corrective action is taken.
- Immediately report to your manager/supervisor all accidents resulting in
or having the potential to result in injury, illness, or property damage.
Assist in obtaining prompt medical attention for any co-worker who is
injured or becomes ill.
- Understand and comply with all University and departmental safety
instructions, whether written or verbal, when performing assigned tasks or
- Employees shall not use, store or handle any hazardous chemicals or
materials without receiving proper training.
- Faculty members shall ensure that all students are properly informed of
all applicable safety rules and procedures specific to their academic tasks
- Faculty members shall ensure that all students are properly trained to use
any and all equipment and tools required to perform their assigned tasks
and/or activities. Provide periodic observation and evaluation of the
students required skills and implement appropriate corrective or counseling
measures when needed.
- Submit to your manager, supervisor or safety committee representative any
recommendations you believe can effectively contribute to the continuous
improvement of either the overall EH&S Program and/or departmental
All University facilities and organizations located off the
main campus are an integral part of the total University community. These
facilities and organizations shall comply with the same responsibilities related
to safety, health and environmental issues as their counterparts located at the
main campus. Each facility and organization shall adopted all applicable rules
and regulations as established under the EH&S Program and shall develop
procedures and rules as necessary for their specific operations.
Risk Management and Environmental
Health & Safety (RMEH&S)
The Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health &
Safety (RMEH&S), in conjunction with the various operating units, is
responsible for the planning, implementation and administration of the
University’s risk management and environmental health and safety program. RMEH&S
shall be the primary source for reviewing and interpreting new codes and
regulatory guidelines, as established by Federal, State and local agencies, and
identifying their applicability to the various University operations.
A primary function of RMEH&S is to assist the University’s
Administration, Deans, Department Chairs and Directors in meeting their assigned
responsibilities as outlined under the EH&S Program. RMEH&S shall
provide technical and administrative consultation to each operating unit to
assist in identifying, developing and implementing proactive rules and
procedures designed to reduce or eliminate potential risks and hazards which
could adversely impact the safety and well-being of the University community and
its neighboring communities. Specific responsibilities of RMEH&S include,
but are not limited to:
- Serve as the University’s primary liaison with all regulatory agencies
responsible for safety, health and environmental standards, codes and
- Assist in the review of academic research proposals and contracts to
ensure that applicable safety, health and environmental controls are
incorporated into the grants and projects submitted by and/or awarded to
University personnel and/or departments.
- Assist all operating units in identifying and developing appropriate
education and awareness programs and assist with identifying suitable and
cost effective training resources and tools.
- Assure that no University operation or activity presents any unrecognized
or excessive exposure to harmful chemicals and/or agents that exceed
established allowable limits.
- Assist each operating unit in the investigation of all incidents that
result in personal injury, illness, or property damage to identify causative
factors and develop appropriate corrective actions to eliminate or reduce
- Provide professional and technical advise on applicable safety codes and
practices in construction of new and modification of existing buildings,
facilities or other structures.
The following rules apply to all employees at SMU. Each
department may implement additional rules and procedures that address specific
hazards and/or conditions which may be unique to their operations. Your
manager/supervisor is responsible for reviewing these rules and/or procedures
with you at the time of your initial assignment to the department.
- Notify your manager or supervisor of any unsafe condition(s) or unsafe act(s)
that exist in your work area.
- Be aware of all potential hazards that may exist in your work area. Know
your responsibilities regarding reporting and handling emergencies.
- Know when safety devices, equipment and procedures are required and use
- Read and observe all warning signs. Do not remove or deface any warning sign
that has been posted in your work area.
- Horseplay and practical jokes are prohibited at the work place. Walk - do
not run, except when an emergency warrants it.
- Walk up or down stairs one step at a time and always use the handrail for
- Do not walk or stand under a suspended load. When operating a lifting
device, it is your responsibility to enforce this rule.
- Use designated aisles and walkways at all times. Do not take short cuts
through roped-off areas, work areas, across ditches or over rough ground.
- Use of illegal drugs and consumption of alcohol on the job is prohibited.
Notify your manager or supervisor if you are taking a legally prescribed
medication which could impair your ability to work or operate equipment or
- In accordance with University Policy 8.7 – "All areas in University
buildings, including residence halls and Greek houses, will be
- Keep aisles and walkways clear and usable at all times. Do not block access
to doors, equipment or electrical panels.
- Keep desk drawers, file cabinets and locker doors closed when not in use.
- Clean up spilled, non-hazardous material (liquid or solid) properly,
promptly and completely. If hazardous material is involved, notify your
manager/supervisor or follow appropriate procedures.
- Keep all floor surfaces clean and dry. "Caution" or "Wet
Floor" signs shall be posted when floors are wet.
- Remove and properly dispose of all excess and scrap material upon job
- Oil and/or solvent soaked rags shall be properly stored or disposed of in
appropriate fire-proof containers.
- Do not stockpile supplies of potentially hazardous material (such as
solvents, chemicals or paints). Be alert to the compatibility of materials
being stored together.
- In accordance with local fire codes, if your building has a fire sprinkler
system, do not store any materials within 18 inches of the ceiling. If your
building is not equipped with a fire sprinkler system, materials can only be
stored within 24 inches of the ceiling
Lifting and Carrying
- Do not attempt to lift or carry an object or load which is too large or
weighs more than you can safely manage. Get help from a co-worker or use a
lifting/moving device such as a dolly or pallet jack.
- Do not lift heavy or cumbersome objects higher than waist level.
- Before lifting and carrying heavy or large objects, you must first check the
route of travel for distance, floor conditions and clearances. Always maintain
a clear view over the load.
- Make sure that the object to be handled is clean and free of sharp edges or
projections that could cause cuts or punctures. Wipe any grease, oil, water
and or dirt off the load before lifting.
- When lifting, keep your back straight and knees bent. Lift with your leg
muscles in a gradual and smooth motion. Avoid jerking or twisting, and keep
the load close to your body. Reverse the procedures when setting an object
- When two or more people are handling the same object/load, one should be
designated to call the signals and provide directions. Warn each other if you
start to lose your grip or cannot control the load.
- Managers/supervisors are responsible for making the appropriate material
handling devices available to their employees and ensuring that the proper
devices are used and maintained.
Ladders, Scaffolds and Work
- Do not use a chair, box, carton, shelves or anything else that is handy as a
ladder. Use only approved ladders, step-stools, scaffolds or work platforms
for reaching heights.
- Inspect the ladders, stools, scaffolds, etc., prior to each use to ensure
that they are in good condition. Do not climb or use any device that has a
broken, bent or loose rail, rung or support. Do not try to repair any damaged
- In setting up an extension or straight ladder follow the 4-to-1 rule ,
for every 4 feet of ladder height, position the ladder’s base one foot away
from the vertical support.
- Do not use metal or wet wooden ladders near power lines. Fiberglass or other
insulated ladders, rated for electrical work, are required when working on or
around electrical equipment.
- Secure (tie off) the ladder as close to the top as you can. While you secure
or unfasten a tie-off, have someone hold the ladder to keep it steady.
- Rest the ladder’s feet on a solid, level surface. If the surface is
slightly uneven, use a flat board as a shim. Tie off the feet so that the
ladder won’t slide off the board.
- Extend the ladder at least three (3) feet above the supporting edge when you’ll
be climbing onto a roof or platform. Hold the side rails that extend above the
ladder’s support to steady yourself as you climb on and off a roof or
- Block any doors that open into or near the ladder. For extra security, keep
the surrounding area clear of people and traffic.
- Keep the area near the ladder’s base free of clutter and debris.
- Stay off the top three rungs of an extension or straight ladder. Stay off
the top two rungs of a stepladder.
- When using a step ladder, make sure that it is fully spread and locked.
Check for unsafe hinges as well as damaged steps and uprights.
- Do not climb a ladder that is occupied by someone else, unless it is
designed and certified for such use by the manufacturer.
- When climbing or descending, face the ladder, hold onto each rung and stay
centered between the rails. Carry tools in a belt or apron, or raise and lower
them by a hand line.
- Never lean the center of your body out past the side rails. No attempt
should be made to reach beyond a normal arm’s length while standing on the
- Scaffolds and any related ropes and lines shall be in good repair and
equipped with operable safety brakes. Inspect scaffolds each time they are
erected and before each use.
- Move, if possible, or protect persons, furniture, equipment or machinery,
under a scaffold.
- Where a scaffold or work platform is above six (6) feet high, guardrails and
toe boards must be installed on any open side or end.
- Scaffolds shall not be moved horizontally while in use. Do not work on
scaffolds or ladders during a storm or high wind.
- Employees working at elevations of six (6) feet or higher shall wear an
approved safety harness attached to a lifeline. The lifeline shall be attached
to a structurally sound part of the building or to securely rigged lines. Do
not attach the lifeline to the scaffold or its supports.
- Work platforms or man-lifts that are equipped with out-riggers must be
properly positioned and secured before work begins.
- Managers, supervisors and employees share equally in the responsibility for
ensuring that equipment and tools are safe. Employees shall immediately notify
the manager/supervisor of any defective equipment.
- Only appropriately trained employees shall be authorized to operate tools
and machinery. The manager/supervisor is responsible for ensuring that
employees are properly trained.
- All tools and equipment are to be kept clean and in a safe operating
condition. Keep all tools properly lubricated and make sure all cutting tools
- Use a tool only for the purposes for which it was designed.
- Do not carry any tool or piece of equipment by the cord or yank the cord to
disconnect it from the receptacle.
- Secure your work by using clamps or a vise.
- When sawing, never reach under the material being cut.
- Never exceed the manufacturer’s recommended speed (RPM) on any rotary
- All rotary operating machines and all pinch points must be protected by a
proper guard or shield.
- Electric tools shall be grounded or double-insulated in an approved manner
and control switches shall be placed at a readily accessible point.
- Buffers, floor machines and wet-dry vacuums are to be grounded and the cords
shall be kept clear of water.
- When using powder-activated or pneumatic-driven equipment (e.g., nail guns,
RAM SET, etc.), extreme caution shall be used. Only properly trained employees
shall use this type of equipment.
- Air-powered (pneumatic) tools shall be secured to the hose in such a manner
as to prevent disconnection, and the manufacturer’s recommended safe
operating pressure shall not be exceeded.
- Compressed air used for cleaning purposes shall be properly regulated to not
exceed 30 psi.
- Tractors or other equipment with power take-off shafts shall be guarded.
This equipment shall be shut off before the operator dismounts to make any
repairs or adjustments.
- Abrasive wheel and stand grinders shall be provided with safety guards which
cover the spindle ends, nut and flange projections, and are strong enough to
withstand the effects of a bursting wheel.
- Floor and bench-mounted grinders shall be equipped with a rigid work rest
adjusted to a clearance not to exceed 1/8 inch between the rest and the wheel
- Abrasive wheels shall be closely inspected and ring-tested before mounting
to ensure they are free from defects. Abrasive wheels should be inspected
daily for cracks.
- Before any repairs or adjustments are made to equipment or machinery, the
power/energy source shall be properly disconnected and locked and tagged
out-of-service in accordance with the University’s Control of Hazardous
Energy - Lockout/Tagout operating procedure (RMEHS.002).
- Coffee pots, hot plates, electric irons and other special heating equipment
shall only be used when plugged directly into a wall outlet. No extension cord
may be used for these type of appliances.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only and must be properly sized or
rated for the tool or equipment being used.
- Always use grounded electrical outlets and do not overload them. Never
remove the grounding post from a three-prong plug to make it fit into a
- If additional electrical outlets are needed in a work area, only power
strips equipped with a 15-amp (minimum) circuit breaker, for overload
protection, shall be used.
- Do not use any extension cords that are frayed or have been spliced
- All electrical cords and cables shall be properly secured and located as not
to present a tripping hazard.
- Extension cords that are used outdoors and/or near water sources shall be
equipped with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Any electrical receptacle located within six (6) feet of a water source (
e.g., sink, water fountain, etc.), shall be protected by a GFCI.
- Proper clearance (36 inches) shall be maintained in front of all electrical
panels and switch gears. Electrical rooms shall not be used for storage and
should be secured at all times.
- Before any work or repairs is conducted on an electrical source, the
power/energy source shall be properly disconnected and locked and tagged
out-of-service in accordance with the University’s Control of Hazardous
Energy - Lockout/Tagout operating procedure (RMEHS.002).
Welding and Cutting
- Welding and cutting are two forms of hot work that require special safety
precautions. Other forms of hot work include burning, brazing, soldering,
grinding or any process that uses an open-flame or produces sparks that can
cause a fire.
- All hot work must be conducted in a designated "hot work area"
such as a welding shop, or a hot work permit must be issued to perform the
work in a "non-designated hot work area". The hot work permit must
be issued in accordance with the University’s Permit Program for Hot Work
Operations operating procedure (RMEHS.005).
- Before conducting any welding or cutting operations, all equipment must be
inspected. Welding leads must be completely insulated and in good condition.
- Cutting tools must be leak-free and equipped with proper fittings, gauges,
regulators, and flashback devices. Oxygen and acetylene tanks must be secured
and stored upright.
- Select the proper personal protective equipment for the type of hot work to
be performed. Welding helmets shall provide adequate shielding and visor tint
to protect the eyes from harmful UV-light. Wear fireproof aprons and gloves.
- Take care to protect other people who may be working in or adjacent to the
hot work area. Use a welding curtain to protect other employees from sparks or
- A fire extinguisher, properly rated for the type of fire hazard, shall be
present or readily accessible at all times.
Trenching, Shoring and Excavation
- Before opening any excavation, the area shall be properly reviewed with all
available sources, including non-University sources, to determine if there are
any underground utility installations that could present a hazard and/or be
- The walls and faces of trenches five (5) feet or more deep and all
excavations, in which employees are exposed to danger from moving ground or
cave-in, shall be guarded by either a shoring system, sloping the ground, or
combination of both.
- All open excavations shall be properly barricaded and marked with
appropriate warning signs or devices.
- Excavated material must be shored or retained two (2) feet or more from the
edge of the excavation.
- Trenches of four (4) feet deep or more shall have an adequate means of exit
such as ladders or steps, located so as to require no more than twenty-five
(25) feet of lateral travel.
- Daily inspections of excavations shall be made by the job supervisor. If
evidence of possible cave-ins or slides is apparent, all work in the
excavation shall cease until the necessary precautions have been taken to
safeguard the employees.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Managers/supervisors are responsible for conducting a hazard assessment of
their work areas to determine whether or not and what types of PPE is required
for their employees in accordance with the University’s Hazard Assessment
and Personal Protective Equipment Selection operating procedure
- Managers/supervisors are responsible for furnishing each employee with the
appropriate PPE as identified through the hazard assessment procedure.
- It is the employee’s responsibility to use, maintain and clean the PPE
furnished to them.
- Eye and face protection shall be provided and worn when there is the
potential for injury from chemical splashes, flying particles or projectiles,
and/or injurious radiant energy.
- Head protection (hard hat) shall be provided and worn when there is
potential for injury from falling objects or if you work near exposed
electrical conductors which could contact the head.
- Hand protection shall be provided and worn when there is a potential for
injury from skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations,
severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns and harmful
- Foot protection (safety shoes) shall be provided and worn when there is a
potential for injury from heavy or sharp objects falling on or rolling over
the foot, or from objects piercing the sole of your shoe.
- Hearing protection shall be provided and worn when the noise exposure in a
work area exceeds 85 dBA (time-weighted average) over an 8-hour work period.
If you feel your work area has a noise problem, contact the EH&S
Department to conduct a noise survey.
- Respiratory protection shall be provided and worn whenever there is
potential for exposure to harmful fumes, vapors, dust, etc., and local exhaust
or general ventilation cannot be adequately provided.
- Before an employee can use a respirator, they must be medically evaluated
and certified, fit-tested and properly trained in the use, care and limitation
of the respirator.
- No single respirator can provide protection against all contaminants. The
right type of respiratory protection must be selected based on the contaminant
- Air-purifying respirators (dusts masks/chemical cartridges) shall not be
used in an oxygen-deficient (less than 19.5%) atmosphere.
- In accordance with OSHA’s Interpretation of Standard , dated March
8, 1991, SMU does not recognize "back belts" as control measures to
prevent back injury and therefore does not endorse their use and will not
provide these devices to employees.
Compressed Gas Cylinder
Storage and Use
- All cylinders (full or empty) shall be stored and secured, with a chain or
strap, in an upright position at all times, except if necessary for short
periods of time when the cylinders are being hoisted or carried.
- The valve protection cap shall be in place when cylinders are transported,
moved or stored.
- Cylinder valves shall be closed when work is completed and when cylinders
are empty or are moved.
- Cylinders shall be marked/tagged to indicate the cylinder usage status
(e.g., FULL, IN USE, or EMPTY).
- Cylinders containing flammable gases shall be kept at a safe distance or
shielded from welding or cutting operations. Cylinders shall be placed where
they cannot come into contact with an electrical circuit.
- Cylinders containing flammable materials shall be separated from oxidizers
by a distance of at least twenty (20) feet, or they must be separated by a
five (5) foot high fire wall, when stored and/or not in use.
- Empty re-usable cylinders shall be returned to the original gas supplier.
Empty cylinders shall not be re-filled or modified for other uses.
& Life Safety
The Fire Safety Division of the Office of Risk Management and
Environmental Health & Safety (RMEH&S) administers the fire prevention
and life safety programs for the University. The program includes inspection and
testing of fire protection systems to ensure they are operating properly, life
safety inspections of campus buildings to ensure compliance with local fire
codes, investigation of fire-related incidents to identify causes and
preventative measures, and the training of employees in fire prevention
The Fire Safety Division is involved in all new building
construction and renovations to ensure compliance with applicable fire and life
safety codes and standards, compatibility with current campus systems and
operations, and to recommend standards and practices to reduce or eliminate fire
risks. The following guidelines are provided to assist each University employee
on how to protect themselves, co-workers and University property from fire
A portable fire extinguisher is a "first aid"
device and can be very effective in protecting lives and property when used
while the fire is small and in its early (incipient) stage. The key factor is
that the fire extinguisher must match the type of fire class and only be used by
an individual who has been trained in the proper use and limitations of the
device. As an example, a pressurized-water extinguisher is only effective for
fighting a fire involving ordinary combustibles (Class A Fire) such as paper,
wood and cloth, and would not be effective against a chemical or electrical
fire. It is essential that you know the type of fire hazards in your work area
and the type and locations of fire extinguishers that are available in your work
Extinguishers shall be conspicuously located and readily
accessible in all campus buildings. The devices shall be located along normal
paths of travel and egress such as hallways, corridors and common areas. Fire
extinguishers should not be stored in locked offices or closets which would
prevent ready access to the units. If you should find a fire extinguisher that
has been discharged, tampered with, or in need of service, please contact the
RMEH&S Fire Safety Division.
Although SMU does provide fire extinguisher training for its
employees, through the Fire Safety Division, the University does not require its
employees to fight fires. In the event of a fire every employee is expected to
alert other employees of the situation, immediately evacuate the building in an
orderly manner, and notify the SMU Police Department.
Every exit shall be clearly visible, or the route to it
conspicuously identified in such a manner that building occupants will be able
to readily identify the direction of egress from any point within the building.
Exit (egress) paths, including main corridors and stairwells, shall not be
obstructed in any manner that would hinder exiting from the building. At no time
shall exit doors be locked, chained or blocked in any manner that would prevent
egress from the building at any time. Stairwells are designed to be fire
resistant and can act as a barrier to flames and smoke as long as the doors are
kept closed. DO NOT BLOCK OPEN doors to stairwells.
Any door way or passageway that is not an exit or access way
to an exit should be clearly marked with a sign indicating "Not An
Exit" or a sign indicating the actual usage (i.e., Janitor’s Closet,
Mechanical Room, etc.). Exits and exit paths shall be clearly marked.
Emergency Plan for Persons
Any manager or supervisor who has an employee(s) with any
disability that might hamper or prevent the employee(s) from safely evacuating a
building, is responsible for developing and implementing an emergency plan to
provide for the care and protection of the employee(s) in the event that an
evacuation of the building is required. The plan should enlist the input of the
disabled person(s). The plan must take into consideration the building’s
layout, the individual’s work location, the type of disability, level of
assistance required, and the availability of assistance. No one is required to
endanger him/herself in order to effect or assist with the evacuation of others,
but everyone has the duty to ensure that other occupants are aware of the
emergency. Similarly, it is expected that employees will aid any individual
requiring assistance to safely evacuate the premises.
The President’s Advisory Committee for Persons with
Disabilities has published a brochure, Emergency Evacuation Procedures for
Persons with Physical Disabilities , that provides extensive guidelines on
how to accommodate employees that may need assistance during an evacuation
emergency. Copies of this brochure are available from the RMEH&S Fire Safety
Each facility shall develop an emergency evacuation plan in
accordance with the Campus Emergency Management Plan (CEMP)
published by the SMU Police Department. This plan should be coordinated through
the designated facilities manager for each building and should address, as a
minimum, the following issues:
- Evacuation notification for building occupants. In buildings equipped with
a fire alarm system, activate the fire alarm. Buildings that are not
equipped with a fire alarm system will require some form of verbal
communication to notify building occupants.
- Special procedures to shutdown or maintain critical processes such as
utilities or research reactions/experiments.
- Securing of moneys and sensitive materials that could be damaged or stolen
during an evacuation.
- Accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
- Designated evacuation routes and pre-designated assembly areas for
- If the fire alarm system is to be used for emergencies other than a fire,
make sure advance notification is provided to the SMU - Police Department so
that they can properly inform the local response agency of the type of
Emergency Guidelines for Fires
If you discover a fire:
- Activate the nearest fire alarm. If there is no fire alarm system for the
building, initiate verbal notification to the building occupants.
- Notify the SMU-Police Department (SMU-PD)by dialing 911 . Give your
name, the nature of the emergency and the location of the emergency.
Attempt to fight the fire ONLY if:
- The fire department has been properly notified, AND
- The fire is small and confined to its area of origin, AND
- You can attack the fire while maintaining an unobstructed route of egress,
- You have the proper type of extinguisher that is in good working order, AND
- You have been properly trained to use an extinguisher.
If you hear a fire alarm or evacuation notification:
- Evacuate the area immediately. Close windows and shut your door as you
leave. DO NOT lock the door unless there is a special security issue.
- Leave the building and move away from the exits to a pre-designated assembly
area. Do not block or interfere with emergency operations.
- Report to your manager/supervisor so they can determine that all personnel
have safely evacuated and are accounted for.
- Remain outside until the proper authorities (Fire Department or SMU-PD) have
given an "ALL CLEAR" notification to return to the building.
- Learn at least two escape routes and emergency exits from your area.
- Never use an elevator as part of your escape route.
- Learn the location of and how to activate the fire alarm in your building.
- Take an active part in fire drills when they are held in your building.
Additional information and training on fire prevention and
life safety is available from RMEH&S Fire Safety Division. A listing
of the department contacts are provided at the bottom of this handbook.
Fleet Safety Program
This program is designed to reduce and/or prevent losses to
the University resulting from motor vehicle accidents and to ensure the safety
of the faculty, staff and students who operate University-controlled vehicles.
The program establishes specific guidelines and procedures that all University
employees are required to comply with. The primary elements of the program
- Maintenance of all motor vehicles in a proper and safe operating
- Ensuring that all motor vehicles meet federal, state and local regulations
and operating requirements.
- Proper designation of personnel who are authorized to operate
University-controlled vehicles, and verification of their qualifications
through motor vehicle record (MVR) checks.
- Mandatory driver safety training for all University personnel authorized
to operate a University-controlled vehicle.
A complete copy of the SMU Fleet Safety Program can be
obtained from RMEH&S. It is the responsibility of each
manager/supervisor to review this program with their employees and to ensure
compliance with the rules and procedures established by the program.
For years asbestos was known as the "material of a
thousand uses." It was used for insulation, fireproofing and soundproofing
in offices, homes and theaters around the country, as well as a host of other
Asbestos is a naturally occurring family of minerals formed
by the combination of magnesium and silicon. These minerals take the form of
hollow, microscopic fibers which are nearly indestructible and can be densely
packed -- making a tough, flexible and very useful material. As with most
buildings constructed prior to the 1980’s, asbestos can be found in many
places in our older buildings on campus. Examples of asbestos-containing
materials (ACM) include:
- Thermal system insulation (TSI) on furnaces, ducts, boilers and hot water
- Sprayed-on or troweled-on surfacing materials on ceilings and walls.
- Resilient asphalt and vinyl flooring.
- Suspended ceiling tiles.
- Fireproof drywall.
- Fireproof drapes and curtains.
- Roofing felts and shingles.
- Exterior siding shingles.
- Sprayed-on fireproofing on metal beams and columns.
- High-temperature gaskets and valve insulation.
The University has conducted an extensive survey to identify
the types and locations of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) on our campus.
copy of these surveys are available through either RMEH&S or the
University’s Campus Planning and Plant Operations. Prior to any construction,
remodeling or maintenance work, these survey reports shall be reviewed to
determine if ACM is present and if there is potential to disturb the material.
Any questions regarding the locations of asbestos materials should be directed
to RMEH&S or the Physical Plant.
Chemical Safety Programs
Due to the variety of operations that are performed within
the University involving hazardous chemicals and/or substances there is a
potential for serious safety and health problems to arise. SMU has developed and
implemented several programs designed to inform employees of these hazards and
provide guidelines for the proper usage, storage and disposal.
Hazard Communication Program
Employees have the right to know about hazardous materials
used in their workplace. The University’s Hazard Communication Program
(RMEHS.006) was developed to help employees better understand the hazards
associated with the chemicals they may work with. This program is available to
all employees and includes the following components:
- Hazard determination and classification
- Material safety data sheets (MSDS)
- Container labeling and other forms of warning
- Employee training and information
- Chemical inventories
- Informing contractors of the presence and location of hazardous materials
Chemical Hygiene Plan
(Lab Safety Standard)
The Chemical Hygiene Plan was developed to provide safety and
health information and guidelines for personnel who may have a potential for
exposure to hazardous chemicals and/or substances while working in laboratories.
This program is available to all employees who work in laboratory operations and
includes the following components:
- Assignment of responsibilities
- Protective apparel and equipment
- General principles for exposure minimization
- Record-keeping and program documentation
- Laboratory facility guidelines and operations
- Warning signs and labels
- Chemical procurement, distribution and storage
- Medical surveillance and industrial hygiene programs
- Education and training programs
- Housekeeping, inspections and maintenance guidelines
- Waste management and minimization guidelines
For more information regarding the University’s Hazard
Communication Program and/or the Chemical Hygiene Plan, contact your
manager/supervisor or RMEH&S.
Hazardous and Controlled Waste
The Hazardous Waste Management Program has been established
by the SMU RMEH&S to provide for the safe and efficient disposal of
hazardous chemicals and controlled waste materials in accordance with strict
Federal and State regulations. The collection and disposal of these waste
materials is controlled by the EH&S Department.
If your work area generates any waste that exhibits the
following characteristics, it shall be treated as hazardous and shall be
disposed of through the Waste Management Program.
Flammable - solvents such as acetone, toluene, alcohol’s,
ethyl ether, etc.,
Corrosive - acids or bases such as sulfuric or
hydrochloric acid, potassium hydroxide, etc.,
Reactive - unstable materials such as sodium metal,
perchloric acid, methyl-dichlorosilane, etc.,
Toxic - poisons or highly toxic materials such as
chloroform, phenol, nitrobenzene, etc.,
Waste Disposal Guidelines:
- Each generator shall complete a "Disposal Request Form". These
forms are available from the EH&S Department or can be electronically
submitted via e-mail. No waste shall be
collected if a request form has not been submitted.
- Each container shall be properly labeled using the full chemical name - no
abbreviations or chemical formulas shall be used. If the waste is a mixture,
the label shall list each component and the percentage.
- The waste must be packaged in a container that is compatible with the
compound, must be leak proof, and shall have lids that are securely closed.
- Once you have completed the "Disposal Request Form" fax, mail or
e-mail the document to the EH&S Department for review. If the request form
is in order, the EH&S Department will schedule a pick-up date and time.
- Chemicals or mixtures that are "unknowns" will not be processed by
the EH&S Department. It is your responsibility as the generator to
identify the waste compounds. If you do not have the capability to identify
the waste, the EH&S Department can collect samples and have them analyzed
by a waste disposal laboratory. The costs for these tests will be the
responsibility of the generator.
- Special waste such as radioactive materials or infectious waste shall be
handled on a case by case basis.
Additional Programs and Resources
The Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health &
Safety can provide additional information and operating guidelines on the
- Asbestos Management
- Hazard Communication
- Accident Reporting and Investigation
- Hazardous Waste
- Biohazard Safety
- Indoor Air Quality -- Industrial Hygiene
- Chemical Hygiene Plan (Lab Safety)
- Lockout/Tagout (Energy Control)
- Confined Space Entry
- Loss Prevention
- Environmental Site Assessments
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Office Safety
- Fire Prevention & Life Safety
- Radiation and Laser Safety
- Fleet (Motor Vehicle) Safety
- Risk Assessments