7 Safety, Security, and Health

In this chapter:

7.1 Emergency Closures

On rare occasions, classes may need to be canceled and offices closed due to adverse weather conditions or for other emergency reasons. 

The President’s Executive Leadership Team decides if conditions warrant canceling classes, closing offices, or both. Major considerations are road conditions, ice, utility service disruption, and how long the severe weather or emergency is likely to last. This decision is generally made by 6 a.m. for day classes and by 2 p.m. for evening classes. 

Once the decision is made to cancel classes, close offices, or both, the Office of University Communications notifies local media and the university community. Announcements specify whether the closure impacts the university’s Newberg campus, Portland Center and/or Salem Center, as well as other teaching sites. 

To find out if a closure decision has been made when bad weather occurs, employees can do any of the following: 

When the university is closed, employees receive pay for that closed day as if they worked. Employees that were scheduled to use vacation or sick leave on any closed days will still be required to use vacation or sick leave despite the closure. Employees that are required to work during a closure as part of an emergency Plant Services crew or in any other capacity deemed essential by their supervisors are allowed to take corresponding time off within the following 30 days.

In unique circumstances, a decision may be made to cancel classes but keep offices open. Since radio and television announcements about school closings may not make a distinction between classes being canceled and offices being closed, it is important to check the recorded messages and the university’s website for complete information. If an employee fails to check regarding a possible closure and comes to work at his or her regular time during a closure, that person is not allowed corresponding time off. 

Weather may make it difficult or even impossible for some employees to come to work even though the university is open for business as usual. In no circumstances should employees or students put themselves in danger or peril in an attempt to get to campus. If they feel conditions are too hazardous for travel, they should not make the attempt. In this case, as soon as possible after 8 a.m., the employee should call and notify his or her supervisor of an absence or late arrival. Time missed from work in these situations should be recorded as vacation. If no vacation is available, it should be recorded as time off without pay. 

Employees that are already scheduled for vacation or are taking sick leave on days that the decision is made to close the campus should record their time off as it was originally scheduled – as vacation or sick leave.

7.2 Key Policy

7.2.1 Issuance of Keys 

Employees on the Newberg and Portland campuses are issued necessary keys or card keys by Plant Services after submitting a completed Key Authorization form with the required signatures. Keys to the Salem Center are issued by the administrative assistant upon receipt of a completed and signed Key Authorization form.

The employee, his or her department head, and the building monitor’s signatures are required before a key can be issued. The employee to whom the key is being issued must pick it up personally. Authority to pick up one’s keys cannot be delegated to anyone else. Such keys are not normally issued to students.

Certain employees whose jobs require the use of a building master key (which opens the exterior and all interior doors of one building) must have authorization from the Building Monitor. Except for employees that work in the plant services department, employees whose jobs require the use of a grand master key (which opens the exterior and all interior doors in two or more buildings) must have the authorization of the plant services director and the employee’s vice president or provost. Plant Services employees need only have the plant services director’s authorization.

Employees who have master or grand master keys are not allowed to use these keys to enter a building or office except in the performance of their job duties. Employees should not use their master keys to open doors for others unless they are certain those people have authority to be in the building or office.

Occasionally, the need may arise for a student employee to be issued a building or office key. In such cases, the key authorization form must be signed by both the department head and the building monitor. Master and grand master keys are not normally issued to students.

Loaning of any university-issued keys to another person is not allowed. Also, duplication of keys is to be done only by a university locksmith upon authorization by the director of plant services. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

7.2.2 Replacement of Keys

If a key is lost or stolen, the employee should notify Plant Services as soon as possible. Employees are assessed a replacement charge by Plant Services for lost or stolen keys that must be paid before a new key is issued.

7.2.3 Returning Keys

Employees are required to return their keys promptly to Plant Services (in Salem, to the administrative assistant) when the purpose for which the keys were issued has been fulfilled. Adjunct faculty must return their keys at the end of the last semester in which they teach. Employees who terminate employment with the university are required to return their key(s) to Plant Services as part of their checkout process, which includes obtaining a signature from Plant Services verifying any keys have been returned.

7.3 Mandatory Passenger Van Driver Safety Training

All drivers of university-owned or rented 15-passenger vans are required to have driver safety training on passenger van driving skills. In addition, all drivers of such vans must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

7.4 On-the-Job Injuries

The university is concerned about its employees’ health and recovery from on-the-job injuries or illnesses. The following information is provided to help employees understand their responsibilities and procedures should an on-the-job injury occur.

All employees of the university are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Covered expenses related to on-the-job injuries or illnesses are processed through the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The university’s Human Resources Office assists employees in getting their claims processed promptly, including reimbursement for covered medical expenses connected to the claim and time-loss payments if an onthe-job injury results in missed time from work. During the processing of a claim, a representative from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may contact the employee.

If you are injured on the job, you should:

  1. Report any accident or injury, no matter how slight, immediately to your supervisor and the Human Resources Office.
  2. If you need to see a doctor and your injury is not an emergency, ask your supervisor or the Human Resources Office for:

    • A Workers’ Compensation Claim form (Form 801)
    • A Notice to the Physician/Work Status form.

    Complete the “worker” portion of the Form 801 and give it to your supervisor. Take the Notice to the Physician/Work Status form with you to the doctor. (It is advisable to go to your primary-care physician or an urgent-care center.) Inform your doctor that light duty may be available and ask him or her to complete the form at the end of your exam/treatment.
  3. If an on-the-job injury is an emergency or life threatening, report to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Notify your supervisor or the Human Resources Office as soon as it is practical, and the university will work with you to complete the required paperwork within three (3) days.
  4. . Following your doctor visit, return the completed Notice to the Physician/Work Status form to the Human Resources Office within one working day. If you have been instructed by your doctor not to return to work or are restricted to a light duty assignment, you should notify your supervisor and the Human Resources Office accordingly. This procedure should be followed after each doctor visit or treatment.
  5. Once you are released to light duty or regular duty, you are required to notify the Human Resources Office immediately. Failure to do so may adversely affect your workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, you are required to return to work on the date your doctor releases you.
  6. . If you have questions regarding a workers’ compensation claim, please contact the Human Resources Office.

7.5 Environmental Safety

7.5.1 Hazardous Materials

In compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the university maintains a bloodborne pathogen exposure-control plan. It is intended to eliminate or minimize employee occupational exposure to hepatitis B virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and other bloodborne pathogens. Most employees at the university have a very low exposure risk but are expected to follow these basic safety precautions:

  1. Always exercise the universal precaution: assume anything with blood on it may be infectious. Do not handle anything with blood or other body fluids without proper training and protective equipment.
  2. Notify your supervisor to have a qualified and trained person clean up or handle a situation involving blood or other body fluids.
  3. Immediately notify your supervisor or get medical treatment if you think you have accidentally come in contact with infectious blood or other body fluid.
  4. Beware of biohazard-labeled or red trash bags. These may be found in Health and Counseling Services, in Wheeler Sports Center, or in the science departments. Only qualified persons should handle these materials.
  5. Take care in handling any trash, laundry, or sharp instrument. Most occupational infection occurs through a puncture or cut wound.
  6. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Training is required for employees who have work duties that may incur occupational exposure, regardless of frequency. These positions include sports medicine trainers, coaches, the campus nurse, nurse practitioner or doctor, some custodial workers, and science lab workers.

The university also has a hazard-communication program to protect employees from occupational exposure to chemical hazards. This program includes a written program, a training program for employees whose jobs potentially expose them to harmful chemicals, Material Safety Data Sheets, and hazardous chemical container labeling. A copy of the university’s hazard communication program is available from Plant Services.

7.5.2 Fire Safety

Each employee is responsible for helping to prevent fires. Following is a summary of basic fire prevention measures that all employees must comply with at all times. An employee must stop work and notify a supervisor immediately if they are aware of an unsafe condition or missing or faulty fire or life-safety systems.

  1. Be aware of potential fire hazards.
    • Use only grounded extension cords and UL-listed power strips.
    • Use only UL-listed heaters with a tip-over safety shutoff switch.
    • Do not use halogen lamps. Besides being inefficient, they may start a fire if near combustible material.
    • Keep your work area clean and neat, free of large piles of papers, files, magazines, etc. Be sure your exit route is unobstructed.
    • Posters, paper, or decorations should never cover more than 20 percent of a wall or ceiling surface.
    • Keep all flammable liquids in an approved steel storage cabinet.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the fire-safety systems in your building, including the location of all exits, fire extinguishers, and fire alarm pull boxes. Have a plan in case of a fire. Have a mental picture of your exit route — in the dark with smoke — stay low, plan to crawl to the nearest exit, know how many doorways you will pass and how many corners to turn. Stay calm, sound the alarm, assist others, and close doors behind you if you are the last one out, but don’t threaten your own life. Call the fire department from a safe location, and never re-enter a building. Once outside, stand clear and report to the assembly area for your building.
  3. Do not block hallways, stairways, or stair landings. Do not prop open fire doors. Do not tamper with smoke detectors, fire-alarm systems, or fire extinguishers.
  4. Never use open lights, fire, fireworks, or explosives of any kind indoors without written approval from the director of safety. Do not plan an outdoor burn or fire, campfire, or bonfire of any kind without written approval from the director of safety. He must obtain permission for these types of activities from the fire chief or fire marshal.

7.5.3 Workplace Safety Committee

George Fox University is committed to accident prevention in order to protect the safety and health of all our employees. Injury and illness losses due to hazards are needless, costly, and preventable. To prevent these losses, a joint management/employee Workplace Safety Committee has been established. Employee involvement in accident prevention, along with management and employee support of Workplace Safety Committee members and activities further ensure a safe and healthful workplace.

The formation of the Workplace Safety Committee is in compliance with Oregon law that requires us to have a safety committee that meets monthly during normal work hours and whose members are to equally represent management and non-management staff.

The university Workplace Safety Committee is made up of the following positions:

  • Director of Safety
  • Faculty representative
  • Plant Services representative
  • Representative from the Staff Development Committee
  • Student housing representative
  • Representative from Tilikum
  • Chemical hygienist (may also serve as the faculty representative)
  • Director or Associate Director of Human Resources (ex officio)
  • Representative from Portland campus

Each representative serves a two-year term with the exception of the director or assistant director of human resources and the director of safety, who remain on the committee. Membership rotation is by alternate calendar years, with half of employee representatives and half of management representatives rotating off each year.

7.5.4 Emergency Operations and Response

The university has a written Emergency Operations Plan that is implemented in the unlikely event of major widespread emergency or disaster. In general, only Plant Services, Campus Public Safety, the Office of Student Life staff, vice presidents, the provost, and the Office of the President have specified assigned responsibilities in the Emergency Operations Plan. Other employees receive instructions from their supervisors or other university administrative staff on an as-needed basis during an emergency. The emergency response plan can be viewed at emergency.georgefox.edu.

7.6 Parking

Parking on campus is free to employees. Employees are each issued one parking permit at no charge that can be easily moved from one vehicle to another. A replacement fee is charged for a lost permit. A second permit for an additional vehicle may also be purchased for a fee. Children of employees that are university students are not allowed to use employee parking permits. Employees are subject to fines for parking violations.

7.7 Weapons Policy

The university has a zero-tolerance policy regarding firearms or weapons on campus. Specifically, students, employees, and others performing services for the university (including temporary employees, consultants, contractors, and vendors) are prohibited from carrying, possessing, or using guns or other dangerous weapons or devices for any purpose at any time on university premises except for educational purposes and when registered with Campus Public Safety. This includes weapons kept in vehicles on university property. Weapons and other dangerous devices are also prohibited off university premises while on university business or at university-sponsored events.

People who possess a concealed-weapons permit are not allowed to carry weapons on university property or while representing the university.

Anyone who observes or has knowledge of someone violating this policy should immediately report the incident to Campus Public Safety. The complainant should be prepared to provide any relevant information that caused him or her to observe or suspect the violation. Campus security officers have the right to confiscate weapons from people in violation of this policy. Weapons are held while an investigation of the incident is conducted.

Failure to adhere to the university’s weapons policy or failure to cooperate in an investigation is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

7.8 Workplace Violence Policy

The university is committed to maintaining a safe environment for our employees and students and does not tolerate any form of workplace violence committed by or against its employees. Workplace violence includes but is not limited to harassment, stalking, physical violence, the use of weapons of any kind, the direct or implied threat of physical violence toward any student or employee of the university, intentionally damaging university property or the property of another employee, or committing acts motivated by or related to sexual harassment or domestic violence. Any potentially dangerous situation should be reported immediately to a supervisor or Campus Public Safety. Any observed or reported form of workplace violence is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Reports or incidents warranting confidentiality are handled appropriately, and confidentiality is maintained to the extent possible. Any confirmed offenses may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.

7.9 Workplace Searches

Out of concern for the safety of our employees, students, vendors, and other visitors, the security of George Fox University, and the maintenance of a drug-free workplace, the university reserves the right to conduct workplace searches and investigations at its discretion and in the manner considered by the university to be appropriate to the circumstances.

Employees should be aware that searches and university investigations could include searches of university premises, vehicles and equipment (including an employee’s office, desk, computer and other files, or other university property); questioning of employees and other people on university premises; and inspection or search of packages, vehicles, or other personal possessions or articles brought onto university premises. It should be noted that all offices, desks, other furniture, computers, and computer files (including electronic mail), other files, and articles and equipment provided by the university are the property of George Fox and may be searched at any time at the university’s discretion. When a search involves personal property, employees usually should be asked to sign a consent form permitting a search. An employee who fails or refuses to cooperate with an inspection, search, or investigation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.