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Overview of Environmental Safety & Health at James Madison University

May 31, 2001

Providing a safe environment for faculty and support staff to work and students to learn is a primary concern of the James Madison University administration and campus community. All of us, regardless of our job description or title, desire a safe and healthy environment. Critical to this goal is being knowledgeable about what to do in the event of an emergency. Planning and being prepared is our shared responsibility.

Approach is Comprehensive and Multi-Organizational

James Madison University's approach is comprehensive and multi-departmental in that it is both inter-agency and intra-agency in nature. Contingent is the cooperative efforts of the following departments and outside agencies of public safety:

  • JMU Public Safety
    • University Police
    • Safety Engineer
    • Emergency Communications
  • JMU Academic Affairs
    • College of Arts & Letters (Art and Theater & Dance Departments)
    • College of Mathematics & Sciences (Chemistry and Biology in Hazardous Materials response)
    • College of Integrated Science and Technology (for matters pertaining to Domestic Preparedness and Consequence Management)
    • Office of Policy and Legal Affairs
  • JMU Facilities Management
    • Maintenance
    • Engineering
    • Landscaping Services
    • Transportation and Garage
    • Housekeeping
    • Facilities Planning and Construction
  • JMU Dining Services

  • JMU Human Resources

  • JMU Information Technology & Information Systems
    • Technical Services
    • Telecommunications
  • JMU Parking Services

  • JMU Resource Planning
    • Risk Management
  • JMU Student Affairs

  • JMU University Relations and External Programs
    • Media Relations
    • News Bureau
    • Web Office
  • OUTSIDE AGENCIES, including but not limited to...
    • Harrisonburg Fire Department & Rescue Squad

      • Hazardous Materials Response Team
      • Fire Fighting Units
      • Rescue Squad

    • Virginia Department of Public Safety, Deputy Secretary's office in coordinating/liaison with campus on matters pertaining to Domestic Preparedness and Consequence Management

    • Virginia State Police Hazardous Materials Response Team

    • Virginia State Fire Marshal

    • Virginia Department of Information Technology

    • Virginia Department of Labor & Industry

      • Occupational Safety & Health Act enforcement

    • Virginia and Federal EPA (Environmental Protection)

    • Virginia Bureau of Hazardous Waste Management

    • Virginia Office of Risk Management

    • Virginia Division Engineering & Buildings

    • Virginia & Federal Departments of Transportation

    • United States Department of Education (Life Safety)

    Administrative Responsibility

    James Madison University provides administrative responsibility for environmental health and safety. The basic provisional support for this appears in Policy Number 3108, Health & Safety currently found under "STUDENT AFFAIRS," Policy Series 3000, of the University's Manual of Policies and Procedures. The administrative mandate is with the University's Division for Administration and Finance. Coordination of Environmental Safety and Health is the responsibility of the university's Safety Engineer who is supervised by the Director of Public Safety. The Director of Public Safety reports to the Assistant Vice President for Resource Planning and Risk Management, Division of Administration and Finance. He in turn reports to the Vice President of Administration and Finance who reports to the University's President.

    The university's Safety Engineer is directly involved, assists, or coordinates the efforts of others, relating to state and federal mandates for Environmental Safety and Health on campuses. The approach is comprehensive and covers matters related, but not limited to:

    • Scheduled Training and Awareness programs
    • Inspections and Monitoring of Facilities and Equipment
    • Asbestos Abatement
    • Bloodborne Pathogens
    • Development of Contingency Plans
    • Measured Response to Emergencies and other Situations - "Man made" and Natural
    • Reporting and Analysis
    • Providing Consultations and Advice
    • Assisting in Construction Preplanning and Plans Review
    • Handling of Hazardous Materials
    • Toxic Waste Disposal
    • Maintenance of Materials Safety Data Sheet files
    • Maintenance of Workman's' Compensation Report files

    The university's Safety Engineer conducts classes for University employees in their "Right to Know" about the materials and chemicals with which they work or may come in contact. Much of the information is derived from Materials Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) provided by vendors. Meetings are routinely held with Food Service, Housekeeping, Maintenance and Trades, faculty and students in various Art programs, and in the Sciences, primarily, but not limited to, Chemistry and Biology.

    Classes are routinely scheduled with housekeepers, Dining Services staff, groundskeepers, maintenance and trades staff, garage mechanics, laboratory technicians, Art faculty and staff, and others in "Workplace Safety," "Proper Disposal of Toxic Wastes," "Hazardous Materials Handling," "Response to Toxic Spills," and other "Emergency Procedures."

    Classes are routinely scheduled for Residence Life in "Fire Safety," "Safe Practices," and "Expectations in Response to and Reporting of Unsafe Situations and Emergencies."

    Classes are conducted for the Police officers in "Familiarization with Fire Safety Equipment," "Recognition of and Reporting of Unsafe Situations," "Contact with Infectious Diseases through Bloodborne Pathogens and Other Bodily Fluids," and other mutual concerns.

    The university's Safety Engineer conducts routine Life Safety inspections of all residential, administrative, academic, and maintenance shop facilities and provides preplanning consultations and plans review on new construction and renovations. The Safety Engineer provides guidelines and follow-up inspections of arrangements for Special Events with substantial public assemblies.

    The Safety Engineer provides liaison with appropriate laboratory technicians, maintenance and trades personnel, and others to monitor the handling and storage of hazardous materials plus the proper packaging and disposal of toxic wastes.

    The Safety Engineer insures that related records are compiled and maintained and provides liaison with representatives of concerned agencies of public safety relative these matters, i.e., local fire officials administering the Hazardous Materials Response Team, Hazardous Waste Bureau inspectors, Risk Management officials, EPA inspectors, Labor and Industry officials, and others.

    The Safety Engineer routinely provides assistance and liaison with various outside contractors providing installation, inspection, and maintenance of fire detection, suspression, and other life and asset protection equipment, whether on periodic service or other contractual arrangement.

    Contingency Plans

    Contingency plans are formulated through the university's Safety Engineer and Director Public Safety in cooperation with the Director of Facilities Management for:

    • JMU Emergency Response Plan/Guidelines for the
    • Institutional Response to Major Disruptions or Crisis
    • Notification of Appropriate University Officials
    • Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials Spills
    • Demonstrations and Disorders
    • Man Made and Natural Catastrophes
    • Fire and Bomb Threats
    • Evacuation of Constituents
    • Other pertinent subjects

    Contingency plans for dealing with the media during times of major disruption or crisis are formulated by the Director of Media Relations with assistant from Public Safety resulting in:

    • JMU Crisis Communications Plan

    Measured Response to Emergencies and Other Situations is insured through training of officers in matters pertaining, but not limited to:

    • Proper notification of Fire Fighters and Hazardous Materials Teams
    • Proper "staging" of apparatus and familiarization the aforementioned practitioners concerns
    • Proper approach to Hazardous Materials spills
    • Equipping police vehicles and communications desk with US DOT's Emergency Response Guidebook P 5800.3

    Reporting and analysis is related, but not limited to:

    • Recordable and Non-Recordable accidents, injuries, and illnesses due to job related factors...
      • Matters that are "recordable" related to
      • Injuries incurring loss of motion, loss of consciousness, lost time, restricted activity, and/or necessity for direct medical aid.
      • Information is compiled from Workman's Comp, accident investigation, and other reports.
      • Year-end reports are made to OSHA.
    • Hazardous Materials Spills
    • Any, all, and other matters of Non Serious, Serious, or Imminent Danger
    • Periodic reporting of Toxic Waste Disposal to Concerned Agencies

    Providing consultations and advice may pertain to:

    • Preplanning of new construction and renovations
    • Plans review of projects in construction phase
    • Storage of Hazardous Materials
    • Toxic Waste Disposal

    Cooperative Efforts - Hazardous Materials Incidents

    Demonstrating the multi-disciplinary approach to environmental safety and health issues on campus is the cooperative effort between JMU's Chemistry Department, the university's Safety Engineer, and the Harrisonburg Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Response Team. A chemistry faculty member acts as an advisor to the HAZMAT team and is "on call" as an unpaid consulting supervisor. The HAZMAT team is stationed at a facility in close proximity to the campus. The HAZMAT team responds to all Hazardous Materials incidents occurring on campus. The Safety Engineer routinely provides familiarization tours of the campus to Harrisonburg Fire Department personnel. Indirectly related, the Public Safety Director facilitates training and familiarization of the campus in liaison with the Harrisonburg Police Department's Tactical Response unit.

    Initiated during the early 1980's, the Chief of the Harrisonburg Fire Department, the Hazardous Materials officer of the Virginia State Police, and the university's Safety Engineer presented a workshop on management of hazardous materials incidents, followed by periodic update programs. This was prompted by heightened concerns related to hazardous materials emergencies and federal mandates calling for local governmental bodies' involvement in such responses. Clearly stated were responsibilities for making the public aware of the ramifications of such incidents. Police officers, fire fighters, and municipal officials joined with personnel from this department in the formulation of a campus HAZMAT program. Subsequently, the department developed a general response policy in outline format. Supplied to each officer through placement in each patrol vehicle and at the communications desk are copies of the U. S. Department of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook for Hazardous Materials Incidents. This serves as a quick and handy reference for the initially responding officer.

    Evacuation and/or Relocation

    In the event of a spill or disaster, consideration of limited or mass evacuations depends on the nature and extent of the emergency. Measured response would be the approach taken.

    With the affected zone limited to a relatively confined area, residents in close proximity are to be relocated to residential units outside the zone of danger. In evacuations of a larger scope, the University, as a contractual participant in the Harrisonburg Transit System, would utilize city buses in addition to coaches and vans from the institution's motor pool. All city bus routes originate and terminate at the "hub" bus stand, centrally located on campus contiguous to the Campus Police headquarters. All city buses are radio equipped and dispatched from the municipal transit office.

    Harrisonburg and Rockingham county provide numerous sites for emergency assembly such as two other colleges, all with auditoriums and gymnasiums. All could, and have, serve as remote evacuation sites, witness the tragic flood of November 1985 that left so many homeless in outlying areas of the county. Harrisonburg/Rockingham mobilized to meet the emergency needs of the affected populations and is prepared to do so again in the event of a manmade or natural disaster.

    Uninterrupted Emergency Communication

    JMU's Telecommunications Department maintains an auxiliary power unit (APU) that provides backup power for the University's telephone system and to the University Police's reserve 450MHz band repeater base transceiver in Wilson Hall. A separate APUs supply backup power to the University Police's primary repeater at Showker Hall, main base (dispatch) station at the Shenandoah Hall Emergency Communications Center, and alternate substation at Chesapeake Hall. They all automatically assume provision of power in the event of interruption of electrical service to campus.

    Suspension of Normal Operations

    With a hazardous materials disaster wide in scope and long in duration (protracted and complicated cleanup) with direct impact on campus, normal operations and classes could be suspended. Students then would be sent home; or alternative arrangements made for their welfare. They would be summoned back to classes upon safe resolution of the incident or situation. Such an incident or exigent circumstance would involve not only the campus, but contiguous residential communities, and would call for involvement by state, federal, and local emergency preparedness and coordination officials. The university's Safety Engineer maintains ongoing liaison and excellent working relationships with all counterpart agencies and peer personnel.

    An accompanying site map identifies the specific location of the James Madison University's buildings and their relative locations. It also identifies the locations of natural features, structures, roads, parking areas, and major campus population concentrations.

    Cooperative Agencies of Public Safety

    The Harrisonburg Fire Department, with fully paid, trained, and certified personnel, is up to the task of dealing with toxic waste and hazardous materials spills with its continuously trained and comprehensively equipped Hazardous Materials Response (HazMat) Team previously cited in this report. The Fire Department provides, in addition the fire fighting, first medical response pending the arrival of a Rescue Squad unit.

    The Virginia State Police maintains a similar trained unit regionally located ready to respond at a moment's notice.

    The Harrisonburg Police Department and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office maintain ready tactical response and other special operations teams that can assist HazMat teams in Dealing with deliberate acts involving hazardous materials. The Harrisonburg teams periodically conduct practical exercises in representative campus facilities.

    Maintained at the Campus Police Headquarters is a constantly updated floor plan directory available to all appropriate response teams.

    The Harrisonburg Volunteer Rescue Squad headquartered in close proximity to campus is well staffed, trained, certified, and comprehensively equipped. A significant number of its Emergency Medical Technicians are students of this institution, all with a vested interest in the welfare of the campus and its community.1

    One Campus Police officer is a fully certified EMT and is an instructor in CPR and First Responder Basic First Aid at the regional police academy. This officer provides training in those areas and Bloodborne Pathogens "in house" as well.

    Rockingham Memorial Hospital is located directly north of and contiguous to the west campus.

    The University maintains an alternative-landing zone to Rockingham Memorial Hospital's primary "helipad" rotary wing Medical evacuation site. These sites principally serve the Pegasus medivac helicopters, stationed at the University of Virginia's (UVA) Medical Center, fifteen minutes air time away from Harrisonburg.2

    UVA's Medical Center is one of the nation's most advanced facilities for emergency trauma, critical, and burn care. The campus is also thirty to forty-five minutes flying time from equivalent emergency medical units in Richmond and Roanoke. Similar medivac ships serve these units.

    With a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, Merck, and a chemical producer, Dupont located within thirty to forty minutes, other highly trained hazardous materials response teams are available to provide highly technical expert assistance in the event of toxic or hazardous spills. Both are involved with ongoing community interfacing with public safety agencies. Merck provides community based awareness programs for local industries, businesses, and governmental bodies in cooperation with the local Chamber of Commerce, in which this department has participated.

    Commonly utilized reference materials and resources:

    • U.S. Dept. of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook for Hazardous Materials Incidents DOT P 5800.3
    • Hazardous Waste Management at Educational Institutions published by the National Assn. of College & University Business Officers
    • Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (Chemtrec) of the Chemical Manufacturer's Assn. (800)424-9300
    • Superfund Hotline (800)424-9346
    • Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity (US-EPA) Form 8700-12
    • Hazardous Waste Regulations, Virginia Bureau of Hazardous Waste Management, Virginia Dept. of Health
    • National Fire Codes, promulgated by the National Fire Protection Assn. (NFPA) including Life Safety Code 101
    • Emergency Handling of Hazardous Materials in Surface Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway
    • Virginia RF Radiation Exposure Compliance Plan for Building- and Tower-based Antenna Sites, Mobiles And Maintenance
    • Virginia OSHA Standards for General Industry, Dept of Labor and Industry
    • Work Area Protection Manual, VA Dept. of Transportation
    • Fire Resistance Directory, Underwriters Laboratories
    • Building Materials Directory, Underwriters Laboratories
    • The BOCA National Building Code, Building Officials & Code Administrators
    • The BOCA National Fire Prevention Code
    • The BOCA National Plumbing Code
    • The BOCA National Mechanical Code
    • The BOCA National Existing Structures Code
    • The BOCA National Energy Conservation Code
    • The Virginia Hazard Communication Standard, VOSH/OSHA
    • The Federal Hazard Communication Standard: An Introduction to the New Legislation and How It Will Effect James Madison University
    • Dept. of Waste Management, Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, 672-10-1, Commonwealth of Virginia
    • Guide to Preventative Maintenance of State Facilities, Virginia Division of Engineering & Buildings
    • Virginia Confined Space Standard for General Industry and the Construction Industry
    • Underground Storage Tank Regulations, Virginia Dept. of Community Development and the State Water Control Board
    • JMU's College of Integrated Science and Technology Safety Policies and Guidelines
    • JMU's Dept. of Biology Laboratory Information, Safety and Policy Manual
    • JMU's Dept. of Chemistry Laboratory Information, Safety and Policy Manual
    • JMU Academic Departments' Field Trip Exigency Manuals
    • JMU's Facilities Management Safety Manual
    • JMU's Facilities Management Safety Standards Policy
    • JMU's Facilities Management Disaster Recovery Plan
    • JMU's Theater Safety Handbook
    • JMU's Master Fire Safety Plan and Emergency Procedure Manual
    • JMU Campus Police's Standard Operating Procedure and Field Training Manual
    • JMU Campus Police's Student Cadet Program's Policy and Field Training Manuals
    • American National Standards (ANSI) Code 117.1 pertaining the Handicapped Accessibility
    • Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, FED - STD - 795 Federal Register, Friday July 26, 1991, Part III, Department of Justice, 28 CFR Part 36, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities; Final Rule
    • Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (Commonly known as "ADAAG") Uniform Standards for Accessible Design
    • Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens; Final Rule, Federal Register, Friday December 6, 1991, Part II, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    • Student Assistance General Provisions; Final Rule, Federal Register, Monday November 1, 1999, Part IX, Department of Education, 34 CFR Part 668, Section 668.46 Institutional Security Policies and Crime Statistics In support of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act of 1998

    It is significant to note that various representatives of regulatory bodies in Virginia have confidence in the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the university's Safety Engineer. They routinely delegate authority to him to act in their behalf. The Safety Engineer is given latitude by them to interpret laws and regulations found in the above referenced sources.

    All cited publications and documents are available for review at the Department of Public Safety, Shenandoah Hall, South Main street.

    1Some of these student volunteers with the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad are also employed as Campus Police Patrol Cadets.

    2Pegasus is equipped with dedicated, purpose built Bell 230 and MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 medivac helicopters, both, twin engine craft featuring sufficient redundancy in the event of failure of one of the turbines. Both the Bell 230 and the BK 117 also have sufficient power in marginal conditions for enhanced safety.

  • JMU Division of Administration and Finance James Madison University Website