Frequently Asked Questions
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- Will the University defend me if I'm sued by one of my students or anyone else?
If I have an accident while driving my personally owned vehicle on University business,
will the University cover the claims cost?
In the state of Alaska, vehicle owners are required by law to insure for liability. The University will cover liability claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, occurring during the course and scope of employment, excess the employee's own personal insurance. Physical damage to personal vehicles is not covered by the University. To compensate employees for using their own vehicles for business activities, employees can apply for mileage reimbursement. The reimbursement amount covers the cost of insurance, maintenance, depreciation, fuel, etc. (see EHS/RMS Statement 38, Self-Insurance Coverage).
If I have an accident in a rental car while on University travel status, will the
University cover the claims cost?
If you were authorized to rent the vehicle and the accident occurred during the course and scope of your employment, the University will cover the claims costs. However, if you were on a personal errand or were breaking a law, the University reserves the right to deny the claim or initiate actions against you to recover costs. Keep in mind that there is usually a $1,000 property damage deductible on claims. Is your department prepared to cover that potential?
Employees and supervisors should carefully evaluate the need to rent vehicles. Often times, it is less expensive to use airport shuttles and taxis during travel. In addition, most accidents occur when employees are driving rented vehicles in unfamiliar territory. Therefore as a matter of safety, employees should seriously consider using taxis and shuttles instead of rental vehicles whenever practical. This decision flow chart for employees and supervisors is provided for your use.
If I receive a traffic or parking citation while driving on University business, who
pays the fine?
You pay the fine. Receiving citations is not within the course and scope of your employment. However, if the citation is for a vehicle deficiency that was not obvious to you when the vehicle was assigned to you, the department claiming control of the vehicle is responsible for paying or mitigating the situation. In those cases, EHS/RMS will provide assistance upon request (contact information).
If my deparment receives a regulatory citation for violating an occupational, environmental,
fire/life safety, or other code, who is responsible for paying the citation?
The responsible department must make arrangements to pay the fines associated with regulatory citations. If the cost of the citation exceeds the financial resources of the responsible department, the department must go through its administrative channels to secure funding. Regulatory actions against the University must be reported to EHS/RMS immediately. EHS/RMS will assist the affected department with mitigation, remediation, and defense if needed. (see EHS/RMS Statement 13, Regulatory Agency Activities).
- As an employee, I notice an unsafe situation or practice. Who should I report this
to and who is responsible for correcting the deficiency?Unsafe situations and practices should be reported to your supervisor and your department should take appropriate corrective action. EHS/RMS (contact information) will assist departments and employees upon request with addressing safety concerns. EHS/RMS can also provide facility and program safety audits upon request. If employees are uncomfortable with reporting conditions directly to their supervisors, they can report directly to EHS/RMS. However, it is EHS/RMS’s policy to involve supervisors in addressing concerns whenever practical. In some cases, attempts at preserving anonymity will be made. Keep in mind that EHS/RMS is not a regulatory or police agency. Except in cases of imminent threat to life or property, EHS/RMS’s authority is vested in its advisory role only. Even in extreme situations, EHS/RMS defers enforcement actions to emergency responders such as the University Police Department.
- I need to set up a program, contract, or agreement with a non-University entity.
Who should I talk to about doing this?
The first persons to discuss this matter with are your department head and dean or director. Deans and Directors have authority to sign off on a Memoranda of Agreement (MoA). A sample MoA, entitled Joint Projects Template, is available for use with low-risk projects only.
Keep in mind that you must consult with EHS/RMS (contact information) prior to agreeing to any indemnification or insurance requirements. Per the General Counsel, the University does not to enter into agreements that require the University to indemnify, defend or hold harmless other persons or entities from liability or damages unless such agreements are both necessary and the wording has been approved by the General Counsel's office in the context of the particular situation.
In addition, Grants & Contracts, 786-1557, must be consulted if the agreement or program involves any grant activity. Procurement Services (786-6500 or http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/procurement/) must also be consulted if the agreement involves the expenditure of University funds no matter what the source. Procurement Services must also be consulted on facility lease agreements. Facilities Planning & Construction (FP&C) (786-4900 or http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/fpc/) must be consulted on all construction, remodeling, or facility modifications. Construction and remodeling projects must go through your supervisorial chain prior to submitting them to FP&C. Often times, other University departments may need to assist you with contract negotiations so please provide as much lead time as possible.
- Can the University name others as additional insureds?No. The University is self-insured and we cannot name additional insureds on a commercial policy that we do not have. For more information see EHS/RMS Statement 38, Self-Insurance Coverage.
- Do I need a food service permit to hold a bake sale?
As long as no potentially hazardous foods are sold to the public, no special permit is required. Potentially hazardous foods are those foods that spoil easily without refrigeration or special preservation (some salad dressings, cream pies, meats and meat products obtained from non-commercial sources, etc.). In general, you're usually safe with dried baked goods and prepackaged, shelf storage items. Refer to EHS/RMS Statement 6, Food Service for further advice.
Before having a bake sale, be sure to consult with the appropriate building manager about concerns that they might have. In addition, the proceeds from bake sales must be used and controlled in accordance with acceptable University cashiering practices (786-1495 or http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/budfin/ar/staffinfo.cfm under Accounts Receivable). Also keep in mind that the University has exclusivity contracts with food service providers and we do not want to incur contract violations. So, if you’re planning something big, please consult with Housing, Dining and Conference Services (751-7200 or http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/ccs/). No permits are required for small office parties and other events that are closed to the public; however, departments should still follow good sanitary procedures.
Licensed food service providers are responsible for assuring compliance with all pertinent sanitarian regulations and permit requirements for events that they are catering. EHS/RMS can inspect contracted food service providers to assist with sanitation standards compliance. Extraordinary janitorial efforts required cleaning up after a bake sale or office party may be charged back to the individuals, departments, or clubs responsible for the event.
- Who do I call for safety and ergonomic evaluations?Contact EHS/RMS. There is no charge for this service. Comfortable and healthy employees are more productive so we want to do whatever we can, within our means, to provide our employees with safe and healthy workplaces.
- Who do I call to arrange for disposal of hazardous or infections waste?
Arrangements to dispose of hazardous waste can be made by contacting EHS/RMS. See EHS/RMS Statement 18, Hazardous Material Management for further details. Disposal of hazardous wastes at the Hiland Road facility must be pre-authorized by EHS/RMS.
Currently we have no cheap and easy mechanism to dispose of acutely hazardous waste Any generation and disposal needs associated with acutely hazardous waste are the responsibility of the generating department. In addition, disposal of acutely hazardous waste will cause UAA to change generator status and the same department will be held responsible for paying the overall increase in hazardous waste disposal costs for all of UAA. That cost could exceed $20,000! If you have potential hazardous waste that is listed on Appendix 21, please contact EHS/RMS immediately and assistance will be provided in exploring alternative management and disposal techniques.
Infectious waste disposal is the responsibility of the department generating the infectious waste and is usually accomplished through a licensed service provider. See EHS/RMS Statement 22, Disposal of Medical and Infectious Waste for further details.
- Who do I call for certificates of insurance?Since the University is self-insured, we do not issue certificates of insurance. Instead we issue letters evidencing coverage against a contract or agreement. To obtain a letter of coverage, send a copy of the contract or agreement to EHS/RMS (contact information). Letters of coverage will not be issued without EHS/RMS first having reviewed the contract or agreement. A current copy of the contract is required even if you are simply renewing an old contract. Electronic versions are preferable over hard copies. See EHS/RMS Statement 38, Self-Insurance Coverage for further details. Often times, a copy of that policy will satisfy the requestor in lieu of a letter of coverage.
- Who do I call for an indoor air quality concern or problems with the heating and ventilation
The best place to start is by calling Facilities Maintenance Services (FMS) dispatch center at 786-6980. By calling there first, maintenance crews will be able to provide quicker service especially if there is a mechanical problem. FMS will contact EHS/RMS for assistance if the problem is not something that they can easily rectify or requires a more in depth analysis.
Some of the most common causes of indoor air quality problems are: HVAC systems not operating properly, plants and potting soil (mildew, molds and pollens), perfumes and aftershaves, vehicle exhaust, scented cleaning products, scented candles, low or high humidity and temperatures, outdoor conditions, annoying and often times subliminal noises, and poor lighting conditions. Before calling the dispatch center, you should investigate the area by first looking for obvious problems associated with the most common causes of IAQ problems. Your investigation will be especially helpful when the problem is transient.
Many specialists also attribute a high percentage of IAQ problems to socio-political pressures within the workplace. Examples of this might be:
- Unreasonable deadlines
- Long work hours
- Short notice changes in shifts
- Crowded and cluttered workplaces
- Negative interactions with colleagues and supervisors
- Problems at home.
- What is the difference between the System Office of Risk Services (SORS) and UAA's
Environmental Health & Safety and Risk Management Support (EHS/RMS)? Who should I
There are many distinct programs and areas of responsibility associated with both offices. For the most part, SORS handles:
- Insurance procurement for all units of the University
- Workers Compensation case management
- Policy and procedure development that effects the entire University
- Liability and some property insurance claims management
- Management of the University's self-insurance risk pool
UAA's EHS/RMS handles most of the health and safety issues and assists SORS and the General Counsel's office with investigations and policy development. EHS/RMS also provides risk assessments and provides advice to UAA administration and other employees.
It's not important that you understand the differences between the two operations since both offices, including the General Counsel's Office, work closely together and are in constant communication with each other. Rest assured that you could contact any of the offices and your concerns will be addressed by or directed to the office or person who is in the best position and who has the best qualifications to provide the requested service. While it is often more prudent to contact UAA EHS/RMS first for your concerns, the following contacts are provided for your convenience:
- Why does EHS/RMS require my department to minimize hazardous waste generations and
Because of UAA's stringent hazardous waste management policies, we are classified by EPA as a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) of hazardous waste. Believe it or not, UAA generates hazardous waste at a level less than that of the average Alaska household! We do this by:
- Substituting hazardous products with more environmentally friendly materials
- Internally and externally recycling hazardous materials
- Using end-process detoxification of hazardous materials
- Using micro-scale techniques in some of our laboratories
- Prohibiting or strictly controlling the procurement of certain hazardous materials
- Using specific language in our contracts with vendors and service providers to require or encourage environmentally responsible management
Because we have been able to maintain the most favorable EPA classification, we can use the Hiland Road facility to dispose of our hazardous waste at a substantial savings to the University. If we lost our EPA status and changed our generator category, the cost to the University would increase enormously (some estimates place that cost in excess of $20,000 per year).
Remember that there are many departments at UAA that generate or potentially generate hazardous waste and what one department does can adversely impact many other departments. Currently there is no charge to departments for hazardous waste disposal, but if the costs dramatically increase, departments would be required to fund those increases.
For additional information on hazardous waste management please refer to EHS/RMS Statement 18, Hazardous Material Management or contact EHS/RMS.
- Do I need any special permits to hold an event at UAA?
That all depends on the type of event. Some events may require temporary food service permits from the Municipality and/or special assembly permits from the Fire Marshall's office.
If the event is serving food from a licensed food vendor, no special food service permit is needed. If the event serves food prepared in a non-commercial or non-inspected facility, a permit will be needed. In addition, there will be restrictions on what can be served. Refer to EHS/RMS Statement 6, Food Service for more information.
If the event involves the non-traditional use of a facility or a use of a facility that was not listed on the facility's original building permit documents, a special assembly permit from the Fire Marshall's office will be required. This is always true for “haunted house” activities, especially those involving minors. Since no UAA facilities were originally designated for dance events, all dance events require special assembly permits too. On the other hand, theatrical presentations and events held in the Williamson Auditorium and UAA theaters seldom require permits because those facilities were specifically designed for those types of events. Please consult with EHS/RMS (contact information) well in advance of permit needed events as the municipal authorities sometimes require a few weeks to schedule the inspection process.
Additional information is available in EHS/RMS Statement 12, Special Event Permits and Approval.
- One of my employees was injured at work. What should I do?
Your first responsibility is to make sure that the injured employee is receiving appropriate medical or emergency care. When in doubt or in the case of a serious injury, call for an ambulance (9-911 within the 786- or 751- system or 911 from outside lines) then immediately call the University Police Department at 786-1120. UPD will assist the emergency responders with locating the injured employee. Unless absolutely necessary, do not transport the injured employee yourself. If you do so and have an accident in transit, your personal insurance might be used to handle any subsequent damage or injury claims.
After looking after the immediate medical needs of the employee, begin to complete the Report of Occupational Illness and Injury form. That form is not available in electronic form, but can be obtained from the System Office of Risk Services (SORS) (786-7755 or email@example.com). It is essential that the report be delivered to SWORM within a few days after the accident so the Workers Compensation claim process can be initiated and the State required reporting deadlines can be met. SWORM or EHS/RMS (contact information) personnel will provide advice on completing the form if needed. Fines associated with delinquent reports can be charged to the supervisor's department.
If the injury involves an overnight stay in a hospital, it is critical that you notify EHS/RMS as all those types of injuries must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, EHS/RMS and SWORM may investigate further; therefore, it is important that you keep good notes and lists of witness and contact numbers. At times, it may even be advantageous to take photographs of the accident area to document conditions.
- What do I do if I see an accident involving a non-employee (student, visitor, or volunteer)?
Your first action is to make sure that the injured person is receiving appropriate medical or emergency care. When in doubt or in the case of a serious injury, call for an ambulance (9-911 within the 786- or 751- system or 911 from outside lines) then immediately call the University Police Department at 786-1120. UPD will assist the emergency responders with locating the injured person. Unless absolutely necessary, do not transport the injured person yourself. If you do so and have an accident in transit, your personal insurance might be used to handle any subsequent damage or injury claims.
Since the police generally complete a report of injury, you are not always required to do one yourself. However, you may be asked for a statement during an investigation so you should consider keeping detailed notes concerning: location, date and time, name of injured person, details of the incident, etc. Report forms for various incidents are available at EHS/RMS's UA and UAA Authorized Forms and Templates claims webpage .
Never admit liability on behalf of the University. Never make any promises to injured parties concerning who is responsible and who is going to pay. That is the job of qualified claims adjustors and General Council. However, if non-employees (third parties) want to file claims against the University, provide them with the appropriate forms (above) or let them contact the SWORM adjustor at 786-7755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I order/purchase hazardous material on my Procard or use petty cash?Ordering or purchasing hazardous materials is regulated on the University campus. Please contact EHS/RMS for specifics.
- Does the University provided health or other forms of insurance for students?
Students are responsible for their own insurance needs as clearly stated in the Student Handbook. Often times, students can be covered under their parents' health insurance policy. In addition, the Student Health and Counseling Center offers a policy that students can purchase. In some cases, departments purchase special health care policies for graduate students. Often times, professional organizations offer health care and other plans to students in the professional organizations' discipline.
For more hazardous activities, the System Office of Risk Services (SORS) offers a special student travel accident policy that is specific for an activity or event. However, that policy only provides for accidental injuries and not illnesses and is secondary to any existing program that the student may have. SORS also manages other insurance policies such as: Foreign Visitors, Student Professional Liability and Special Event Policies. All of the SORS managed policies are paid by means of a department JV and individuals cannot purchase them directly. Forms and brochures for the SORS managed plans are available at EHS/RMS's UA and UAA Authorized Forms and Templates webpage.
- Will the fluid that sometimes leaks out of the heating system harm me?UAA uses propylene glycol (food grade) vs. ethylene glycol (automotive grade) in its building heating systems. Food grade glycol is a common ingredient in such things as hand cream, soft drinks, cosmetics, ice cream and other things. However, we do not encourage employees to taste material that leaks from the heating system as it is contaminated with rust and scale and contains some preservatives or stabilizers. The main concern with the leaking material is repairing the system and cleaning up the sticky mess that results from a leak so please report leaks promptly to Facilities and Maintenance and Operations at 786-6980 or to your local maintenance department.
- Why can't I put furniture in corridors?Corridors are considered the means of egress for building occupants and are not under the control of departments. Any unauthorized furnishing of corridors may result in items removed at the departments' expense. There is no eminent domain or grandfathering on this and UAA has come close to having buildings shut down by the Fire Marshall in the past for means of egress violations. Besides impeding the smooth flow of pedestrian traffic during normal operations, loose furniture can bounce around and create dangerous obstacles during emergency situations. In addition, furnishing corridors tends to send the message to others that they can do whatever they want in the corridors which results in clutter and more severe egress problems. In some cases, it may be possible to install fixed furnishings as defined under the fire and building codes. Detailed plans can be submitted to EHS (contact information) using UAA Campus Floorplans.
- Is safety training required?
Yes. Here at UAA there are 7 required training courses. These courses are:
- Office Safety
- Hazard Communication
- Ergonomic Awareness
- Electrical Safety Awareness
- Back Safety
- Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Building Emergency Plan
Not only is safety training important because it reduces the rate of injuries and incidents, it's also legally required. EHS has selected these courses because they represent a mix of legally required training and prevention training for the majority of the injuries or safety violations we see here on campus. More information on accessing the 7 courses can be found on the Skillsoft information page.
In addition, depending on the job tasks that you are assigned at UAA, there may be more safety training which is required of you. In order to determine if you have accomplished all the necessary training for your position, contact your supervisor. If you have any questions about what training may or may not be necessary for the tasks you are accomplishing or the equipment that you work with, please contact our office. We would be more than happy to assist you in this endeavor.