The University of Iowa

Health and Safety Policy

Guiding Principles and Commitments Related to Health & Safety

The University of Iowa is committed to excellence and leadership in protecting the environment and the safety and health of its students, faculty, staff, patients, and visitors, hereafter defined as the "University Community" [Policy Manual Ch. 43].  Pursuant to that goal, the University will:

  • Recognize appropriate safety and environmental management as among its highest priorities.
  • Strive to increase the University community's understanding of how to work safely, avoid injuries, and minimize events that could adversely affect the safety and health of individuals and the environment.
  • Require the University community, tenants, and others using University property or engaging in University activities to comply with applicable safety, health, and environmental laws, and regulations.
  • Encourage the University community to take an active role in their own safety and health and the safety and health of those around them.
  • Foster openness and dialogue among members of the University community to facilitate a cooperative effort to prevent workplace injuries, and to encourage timely reporting of incidents and accidents when they do occur.


All faculty, staff, students, and volunteers at the University of Iowa are expected to perform their work safely and to that end, adherence to good health and safety practices is a responsibility of everyone.  Oversight begins with the supervisor in the workplace, laboratory, and classroom and rises through the administrative levels.  Final responsibility for health and safety policies and programs rests with the President of the University.

The Vice President for Research is committed to continually improving the safety and health programs at the University and is responsible for setting program expectations and ensuring overall institutional compliance with policies and regulations.

The Director of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and the University safety committees, including the Campus Safety Committee, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and the Laboratory Safety Committee, are responsible for developing and administrating University-wide health and safety policies.  The safety committees are comprised of faculty, staff, and students representing academic colleges and other administrative units.

Implementation of health and safety policies is the responsibility of the University community.  The table below outlines the roles and responsibilities. 

Role Responsibility

 Managers, both academic and administrative, including directors, department executive officers, deans, and vice presidents, are responsible for ensuring that:

  • Subordinates understand that health and safety of persons in the workplace, laboratory, and classroom (hereafter referred to as “workplace”) are among the highest priorities at the University of Iowa.
  • Subordinates have the authority to implement appropriate health and safety policies, practices, and programs.
  • Workplaces have adequate resources for health and safety programs, practices, and equipment.
  • Workplaces follow University of Iowa health and safety policies, practices, and programs applicable to their areas of jurisdiction.
  • Safety performance is part of every individual's role and responsibility as well as performance expectation and evaluation.
Supervisors and Instructors

 Supervisors (administrative, academic, and functional) and instructors (classroom, teaching assistants) are responsible for protecting the health and safety of individuals under their direction or supervision.  Supervisors and instructors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring workplaces are in compliance with University of Iowa health and safety policies, practices and programs.
  • Ensuring workplaces and equipment are safe, maintained, and properly operated.
  • Ensuring all individuals under their direction have been provided appropriate safety training and information, and adhere to health and safety policies, practices, and programs.
  • Ensuring appropriate safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and apparel are provided, maintained, and properly used by individuals under their direction
  • Fostering a positive, nonpunitive environment for individuals to raise safety concerns and communicate freely about safety and health issues.
  • Taking prompt corrective action when unsafe conditions are reported or observed.
Employees, Students, and Volunteers

 Employees, students, and volunteers are responsible for:

  • Adhering to all health and safety policies, practices and programs in the workplace and classroom.
  • Evaluating operations/experiments for hazards and implementing the proper controls.
  • Acquiring prior authorization and instruction for hazardous operations/experiments.
  • Completing all safety training required by University policy, supervisors and instructors.
  • Wearing prescribed personal protective equipment and apparel, and utilizing safety equipment.
  • Reporting injuries, incidents, potentially unsafe practices and hazards, as well as any concerns in the workplace, laboratory or classroom to supervisors, instructors, or EHS staff.
  • Participating in establishing, evaluating, and improving the health and safety culture at the University of Iowa.