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7.4.1 Health and Safety Training and Communication

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This Guide Memo was approved by the Vice Provost & Dean of Research.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 25.4

This Guide Memo describes supervisory duties mandated by California Senate Bill 198, the Occupational Injury and Illness Prevention Act. These responsibilities for health and safety training and communication apply to all supervisors, both faculty and staff, and to all workplaces, including laboratories, classrooms, shops, and offices.

1. Training Responsibilities

Supervisors, both faculty and staff, have the specific responsibility to see that systems for communicating with employees and students about health and safety matters in their jurisdiction are implemented and maintained. Information must be presented in a manner readily understandable to the affected employees and students. Due attention must be paid to levels of literacy and to language barriers. Oral communications should be supplemented with written materials or postings. Whenever appropriate, regulations, statutes and policies affecting employees and students should be available in their workplaces.

2. When to Train

Employees and students must be trained:

  • When an employee or student first begins work.
  • When an employee or student is given a new assignment for which training has not previously been received.
  • Whenever new hazards are introduced into the workplace by new substances, processes or equipment. (Training is required when a new and different category of hazards is introduced, for example, radiological materials or corrosives, or when a new piece of equipment presents substantially different hazards than already exist.)
  • Whenever the supervisor is made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard.

3. Content of Training

Stanford's training takes place in three tiers:

  • Tier 1 is a general University orientation provided by the Human Resources staff for all new University employees. It includes information on Stanford's health and safety policies and practices, employee health and safety rights and responsibilities, health and safety services at Stanford, and what the employee should generally expect in terms of further training and information from their supervisor or management.

  • Tier 2 training is provided by the school, department or building safety representatives in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for employees and students in labs, shops, kitchens, or other workplaces where special hazards may be encountered. Tier 2 includes general information applicable to the school, department, building, service shop, kitchen, or office about safety administration, programs, and procedures.

  • Tier 3 training is provided by the principal investigators, lab directors, shop/kitchen supervisors and class instructors for laboratory researchers and assistants, lab class students, and shop and food service workers. Tier 3 consists of information specific to labs, research groups, and shops regarding the special hazards of their work and the specific protocols and procedures to be performed by the individual.

See the Stanford Safety Manual for more specific information on tier training contents.

4. Training Resources

EH&S has a safety video library, a collection of safety publications, and technical staff to assist supervisors and departments in implementing training programs. EH&S's Office of Health Physics provides special programs for training in radiological safety. EH&S assists schools and departments, in collaboration with the University Safety Partners, in providing general laboratory safety training to students, staff and faculty. Call EH&S's Communications Office (725-1470) with any questions about training or training materials, or talk to the relevant University Safety Partner about establishing a training program for a particular department.

5. Keeping Records

Supervisors must document health and safety training and communications, whether conducted in classroom-style, safety meetings, or one-on-one job safety training sessions. Records must be kept of who was trained, who did the training, when the training occurred, and what was taught. Documentation should include safety meeting or training session agendas, sign-up sheets with signatures of attendees, and copies of any written communications. Records of training must be kept for at least one year and be readily available for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for inspection. For guidance on records retention, refer to the Environmental Health and Safety website.