Safety Equipment on College Campuses

By: Joanne Benz, Haws

Injuries caused during a chemical spill back in 2016 at Sacramento State College set off an alarm with officials at the California State Auditor’s office.  The California State University Chancellor’s Office claimed that it does not consider itself as an oversight entity responsible for health and safety, but instead provides guidance, resource materials and collaboration.  Most college campuses use hazardous material for instruction and research.  Students and employees can be exposed to chemicals in laboratories, classrooms and stockrooms. The Auditor also found that campuses do not always conduct regular inspections of safety equipment such as emergency showers and/or emergency eye washes. After the auditor found that 46% of the 23 California State Universities do not seek input when assessing risk to employ health and safety in chemical stockrooms or laboratory areas. Since the audit, the CSU Chancellor’s office and university officials involved concurred and said they will comply with the auditor’s recommendation.  The Chancellor’s Office now plans to conduct health and safety audits at all 23 campuses beginning in 2019.    Four CSU Sacramento employees filed an $80 million claim against the university over the chemical spill.

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