Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Responsibilities

EHSS

EHSS is responsible for coordinating the following program elements:

  • Identification of “at risk” employees.
  • Conducting introductory training classes.
  • Conducting infection control classes before work that has potential for exposure begins, conducting classes when the work changes (such as a new organism is being handled, or duties change), or verifying that such training has been administered.
  • Conduct yearly BBP training for those who must comply with OSHA’s BBP standard.
  • Maintaining records of training and vaccination for all program participants.
  • Funding the available Infectious Agent vaccinations of at risk employees. (See Appendix D for diseases for which a vaccine is available and provided by EHSS to at-risk employees per OSHA or CDC recommendation)
  • Creating, distributing, and revising (as regulations or recommendations change) the university-wide Infection Control Plan.
  • Operating a Regulated Medical Waste disposal program, in compliance with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regulations.
  • Oversight of departmental compliance.

Departments

Each department with employees at risk of occupational exposure to infectious disease has the following compliance responsibilities and functions:

  • Assigning accountability for program implementation to departmental coordinators and/or supervisory personnel. Supervisors of employees with occupational exposure to potentially infectious material or microorganisms should have this responsibility listed in their P-112’s, the Personnel Performance Plan and Evaluation forms.
  • Compliance with Virginia Tech’s Health and Safety Policy.
  • Circulating, to appropriate staff, the appendices of the Infection Control Plan that have been customized by the Department to document policies and procedures addressing exposures that exist in departmental worksites.
  • Assuring that a personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment has been performed for workplace exposures .
  • Funding and providing personal protective equipment, as needed.
  • Notifying EHSS before establishing research endeavors involving infectious material or infectious agents.
  • Notifying EHSS of employee turnover. Contacting EHSS to enroll new hires in the program, within 10 days of the date of hire.
  • Ensuring that new hires do not engage in activities with potential exposure until they have had the introductory training.
  • Assuring all “at risk” employees attend required training sessions, are familiar with the Infection Control Plan, and follow safe work practices at all times. Please see Table 2 for information on at risk categories.

Departmental Coordinators/Supervisors

Designated departmental coordinators and/or supervisors of “at risk” employees are responsible for ensuring that the Infection Control Plan (ICP) is complete and accessible. Completion of the ICP involves inserting department-specific policies and procedures where indicated. Accessibility means that all at-risk employees must be informed of the location of the departmental ICP and encouraged to read its contents. The departmental coordinator and/or supervisor is responsible for:

  • Receiving the university ICP
  • Completing department-specific sections of the ICP
  • Storing the ICP in accessible location
  • Communicating the ICP location to all at-risk employees
  • Reviewing and updating department-specific sections annually or earlier if work processes change
  • Conducting annual review sessions with employees
  • Notifying EHSS no later than 10 days after an employee is hired or assigned to an at-risk occupation
  • Assuring that employees receive introductory training prior to exposure to the hazard
  • Allowing employees to attend training and vaccinations during normal work hours
  • Providing gloves and other protective equipment for use by employees
  • Reporting exposure incidents to EHSS and assist with report paperwork.

At-risk Employees

Every employee that can reasonably anticipate exposure to infectious material or infectious agents has certain compliance responsibilities. These include:

  • Attending training sessions
  • Complying with procedures outlined in this plan
  • Adhering to Universal Precautions
  • Reporting exposure incidents to supervisors and EHSS

Employees who work with potentially infectious material in research labs at Virginia Tech must be familiar with, and closely follow, the policies and procedures described in “Biosafety for Laboratory Workers

Employees with occupational exposure to human tissue, blood, fluids or other potentially infectious material (OPIM) of human origin must be familiar with, and closely follow, the requirements in OSHA’s BBP standard 29 CFR Part 1910.130 including development of an Exposure Control Plan.

Contractors

Contractors must follow procedures outlined in the “Virginia Tech’s Safety Guide for Contractors and Subcontractors” document.