An essential element of a successful safety culture is a program that includes positive recognition and constructive feedback. Recognition for excellent performance or contributions to the safety effort are shared to extend positive safety culture elements. Constructive feedback and appropriate action when required safety processes are violated contributes to the larger picture of institutional safety efforts. For purposes of this program, “safety” encompasses all aspects of safety, health, fire prevention, and environmental protection.

The Recognition of Best Practice and Safety Kudos program provides positive recognition opportunities via a process for identifying excellent performance worthy of recognition and the criteria to be examined for excellent safety performance.

Who is Eligible?

Recognition of Best Practice and Safety Kudos can include department level examples, individuals (students, faculty and staff) as well as teams or labs. A department representative may nominate an individual or group from their department for one of the awards listed. Self-nominations for an award are accepted also.

What’s Involved?

Recognition of Best Practice and Safety Kudos will cover three areas:

  •  Sustained Performance
  • Most Improved
  • Contribution to Department or University Safety Effort

Submission criteria will include individual key areas or a combination of performance in the key areas listed in the table below:

Identification of New Persons to Department Administration All new employees and visitors, full time or transient should be made known to department administrative staff at the outset of arrival.  Assuring that all person receive proper safety orientation and training builds from this process.  Assure inclusion of temporary employees and volunteers, with special emphasis on minors.
Safety Orientation Safety orientation for all new employees and visitors starts with completion of the NC State Safety Orientation Checklist, the Safety Training Matrix included in that document, and additional department specific safety procedures.
Employee Specific Task Training Employees should not only receive general new employee safety training from the onboarding process, but also review critical safety information specific to their work area(s) and tasks from their supervisor.
Use of Safety Plans and Self Assessments for Employee Training Review of the work area Safety Plan and the included Self Assessment should be used for timely training of all employees and kept up-to-date.  A department process to assure this is accomplished consistently is encouraged
Selection of Low Hazard Chemicals where possible Selection of least hazardous materials (an aspect of Green Chemistry) is a good start in reducing potential hazards in your work area. Successful research outcomes utilizing lower hazard materials can have benefits beyond the bounds of the university.
Ordering Hazardous Materials through Marketplace Chemicals and gases ordered through Marketplace are viewable online by EHS within after orders are placed.  This allows for selective hazard notification to the end user. It also should result in reduced costs to the user and university.  This method is always to be utilized where possible.
Conducting Hazard Assessments Prior to the start of new tasks or experiments a review with appropriate detail should be completed . This review may be done solely by the person performing the task for simple matters, but should include input from the supervisor or other experienced persons for processes or tasks which may be more complicated or involve hazards unfamiliar to the employee.  EHS involvement should be included where appropriate
Developing and Documenting Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) Developing and Documenting step by step operating procedures is an excellent tool for training of new employees. Always include necessary protective equipment for the task or experiment.
Maintaining Security of Building Interior and Exterior Exterior doors should not be chocked open.  Door to areas where chemicals, radioactive materials, or biohazards are present should be kept secured at all times.  In lab storage of highly toxic materials should involve locked storage compartments and documented inventory control processes.
Maintaining Clear Egress Routes and Fire/Smoke Separation Aisles must remain clear of obstacles which could impede the ability to exit quickly.  Interior Fire doors should not be chocked open which will allow the passage of smoke and fire to other areas, impeding safe building egress
Identifying and Using Necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Despite best efforts at training, hazard reviews, SOPS with precautions, and use of engineering controls, adverse events will happen and the last line of defense will be the safety glasses, lab coats, or other protective equipment being worn.  PPE requirement for specific tasks in your work area must be documented
Use of Engineering Controls to Limit Physical or Health Risks The use of engineering controls (containment, exhaust, interlocks, etc) with your process is the most reliable means to prevent exposure and other adverse incidents.  Include in process design where appropriate based on hazard assessment.
Lab or Work Area Self Inspections and Assessments (peer assessments) Self examination of safety conditions of work spaces, often involving peers or student teams, are all effective means to maintain a safe and compliant work area.
Managing Waste and Unwanted Material This is a tightly regulated process with significant fines for non compliance.  All workers who handle chemicals should be trained and conversant on this topic with containers carefully managed in the work area.
Protecting the Environment – Drain Disposal and Spill Retention Use lab sink drains only for allowable materials .  Use secondary spill protection for unwanted material containers or virgin materials to assure they do not reach drains
Moving or Shutting Down Your Lab A department process should be in place to assure that laboratory chemicals are disposed or reassigned prior to departure. Lab moves should be coordinated with EHS in advance to assure chemicals and gases are properly transported.
Documenting Emergency Planning, Response, and Recovery Plans All Departments should have comprehensive emergency planning, response, and recovery plans utilizing the template available through the EMMC Department.
Integrating Safety (into your daily activities) Performing tool box talks, pre-task mini hazard assessments, integration of safety into staff meeting content.
Student Involvement (student inspection teams, projects, engagement, etc) Use of student teams to review labs, recommend modifications to existing practices or conditions, etc
Protecting the Environment – Drain Disposal and Spill Retention Providing safety, health or environmental training well beyond minimum regulatory or site requirements
Conserving Energy while maintaining a safe work environment The success of energy conservation measures to reduce campus costs and benefit the environment. Examples..  Keep hood sashes lowered to reduce the costs of heating and cooling makeup air.  Avoid “one pass” water for cooling .
Innovation Implementation of innovative methods to reduce or eliminate safety or environmental risks
Continuous Communication inclusion of safety briefings on safe work practices, personal protective equipment needs, lessons learned as a routine part of college, department or work group communications.
Effective Use of Safety Committees Committees should be structured and administered with an appropriate mix of personnel, meaningful objectives, and feedback to department management on campus and department safety initiatives.
Employee Offboarding Process A process where the space and assets, including employees supervised, are promptly addressed (space clean, employee reassigned, etc.) when an employee leaves the department or University.

What’s the Process?

Have an idea for a Recognition of Best Practice Submission? Submit that here!
Have an idea for a Safety Kudo Submission? Submit that here!

Once you submit application information, it will be reviewed for recognition and shared via the Environmental Health and Safety webpage. Submitters and recipients will be notified of the review process and outcomes.

These Recognition of Best Practice and Safety Kudos, that recognize excellent performance, will be available for others to view, share and learn from!


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