Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Fire and Life Safety Responsibilities

The health and safety of university employees, students, and visitors to our campus is of paramount importance to everyone working and learning at the university. It directly impacts both the quality and value of the university. The concern the university displays for its employees, students and visitors mirrors the character and strength of Virginia Tech's commitment to its academic mission.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide each employee "a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm". All employees - including managers and supervisors - play a role in helping the university meet this general duty obligation.


Departments are expected to maintain safe and healthy living, learning, and working environments for faculty, staff, students, and visitors to our campus. Departments must require that faculty, staff, students, and visitors perform work in a safe and healthy manner and in compliance with regulatory requirements and university policies. Departments must ensure that employees are provided required training, that worksites are inspected on a periodic basis to identify and correct hazards, and that all other elements of this program are developed and implemented as needed.

Responsibility for this program lies with the highest supervisory level of each departmental unit unless otherwise specified. It is recommended that each department designate this responsibility to supervisory personnel; however, other appropriate persons may be designated.

Supervisors and Principal Investigators

Supervisors and Principal Investigators (PI's) must implement the requirements of this program to assure compliance with applicable codes, regulations, and policies. They must be aware of the applicable training requirements necessary under OSHA programs or the fire code, and assure that worksites are periodically inspected to identify hazards so that they may be corrected. EHSS personnel are available to assist supervisors with finding solutions for eliminating identified hazards.

In the laboratory setting, the PI is also responsible for assuring the proper storage, use and disposal of chemicals, and that portable fire extinguishers are inspected as required.

Employees and Students

Staff, faculty, students and visitors play an important part in assuring safety: they must do what they can to protect themselves and others within the university community and respond appropriately to emergencies. Employees must avail themselves of information pertaining to the safe conduct of their work, regardless of the setting. Students must also participate in fire and life safety programs and respect the safety of others and their own safety. EHSS offers fire safety training programs for both the employee and student.


Contractors working at the university are expected to observe and abide by state and federal codes and regulations as well as policies and procedures established for the university community. Refer to Virginia Tech's Safety Requirements for Contractors and Subcontractors for detailed information.