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Safety and Risk Management

Safety and Risk Management


Our Mission:

The Safety and Risk Management Office is committed to supporting the University’s mission by promoting a safe and environmentally sound culture shared by all persons of our campus community. The office is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining environmental, occupational safety and health, insurance liability, and workers’ compensation programs.


Environmental Affairs and Hazardous Waste Management

The Safety Office has responsibility for oversight of environmental permitting and compliance activities, such as underground/above ground storage tank management, storm water management, environmental assessments and hazardous waste disposal programs.

Fire and Emergency Response

The Safety Office is responsible for enforcing the North Carolina Building and Fire Codes, investigating fire incidents, developing evacuation procedures and maintaining fire alarm and extinguishing systems and coordinating the Emergency Response Team.


The University has incident reporting procedures in place to comply with federal and state regulations.  Incidents resulting in personal injuries to students, staff, faculty, and visitors while on University property, or in the course of University employment or activity, are to be reported to the Safety and Risk Management Office (828-227-7443) within 24 hours.

Accidental Injuries

Incidents which result in hospitalization, lost work time, or which require medical treatment must be reported to the Safety and Risk Management Office within 24 hours.  The Safety Office will investigate the incident for the purpose of analyzing the circumstances surrounding the injury, the possible need for corrective action, and whether it is compensable under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act.

Occupational Illness
Occupational illnesses are medical disorders resulting from exposures to workplace environmental factors such as chemicals, biological agents, noise, repetitive motion, radiation, etc.  The exposure may be a short term over-exposure or may occur over a longer period of time.  Acute illness from short term over-exposure and any direct exposure to blood or body fluids are to be reported to the Safety and Risk Management Office following the same procedure as accidental injuries.  Illness from long term suspected exposures are to be reported within 24 hours of the time the employee is informed of a possible chronic illness by a medical physician.

Near Miss Incidents
Incidents which do not result in an injury or illness but could have under slightly different circumstances should also be reported to the Safety and Risk Management Office.  Reporting a near miss allows us to determine how and why it occurred and to take action to prevent a similar, or more serious, incident from happening in the future.

Employee Incident Report Form
Employees involved in an accident or occupational illness should report it to their supervisor immediately and will be required to complete an Employee Incident Report Form providing factual information about the accident or illness.  The form must be forwarded to the Safety and Risk Management Office within 24 hours of the incident.

Supervisor Incident Investigation Report
The immediate supervisor of an employee involved in an accident or occupational illness is responsible for determining the cause of the accident or illness.  As the manager in charge of daily work activities, supervisors are expected to know what happened, why it happened, and how it happened.  After conducting the incident investigation, the supervisor must submit the Supervisor Incident Investigation Report to the Safety and Risk Management Office within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident.

Eye Witness Statement
A statement should be taken from each person who witnessed the incident using the NC Witness Statement Form and forwarded to the Safety and Risk Management Office within 24 hours.  The witness may have actually seen the accident, or may have acquired knowledge about the accident from another source.  

Indoor Air Quality

The Safety and Risk Management Office investigates complaints that may be related to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and considers recommendations from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to provide a work environment that is free of recognized hazards.  

Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

The Safety and Risk Management Office inspects University work environments to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control personnel exposures to chemical and physical hazards, manages personnel monitoring programs, and assesses the suitability of protective equipment.  

Workplace Safety

The Safety and Risk Management Office provides support in maintenance, construction projects, ergonomics, respiratory protection, safety training, and workers' compensation.

Risk Management and Insurance

The Safety & Risk Management Office handles 25 different types of property and liability insurance policies for Western Carolina University.  These include coverage for buildings, state vehicles, study abroad, medical malpractice, student internship liability, and others.

Hazard Hero Program

North Carolina's Injury Prevention Program helps employees to identify and eliminate work place hazards.  Employees play a crucial role in promoting a safe working environment while stopping unsafe working conditions.  To report an incident or unsafe situation, please submit the Hazard Hero Form.   If you have any questions, contact the Office of Safety and Risk Management at (828) 227-7443.


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