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3.11 Physical Resources

Comprehensive Standard:

3.11.2 The institution takes reasonable steps to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for all members of the campus community. (Institutional environment)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia is committed to providing a healthy, safe, and secure environment for all members of the campus community.  Collaboration with university officials and their respective representatives achieves that commitment. The University of West Georgia upholds compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.

This narrative provides evidence of compliance by describing the various campus entities and programs that assume responsibility for different categories of safety, security, and health-related issues.  Although providing a healthy, safe, and secure environment is a responsibility of all departments, key campus entities and programs include the following:

Vice President for Business and Finance [1]

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management [2]

The Office of Risk Management/Environmental Health and Safety (RM/EHS) [3], is one of three departments within the Office of Campus Planning and Facilities.  Each provides a safe and healthy workplace for the campus community in all facilities owned and/or operated by the University of West Georgia. The RM/EHS is composed of four professional staff with the education and experience for the specific disciplines in the programs described below. Each staff member is assigned a specific field of expertise.  Staff skill levels are continuously enhanced by participation in training, presentations, and group brainstorming activities with the ultimate goal of establishing a best field practice to promote safety.  Numerous programs with associated policies and procedures, training courses, inspections and audits, and record keeping compose each functional area.  Each program is governed by local, state, and federal regulations and is subject to inspections by regulatory agencies.  The university publishes policies and procedures that address safety, security, and health-related issues on the university’s website in the student [4], staff [5], and faculty handbooks [6].  RM/EHS has developed unique online video training programs to reinforce risk management principles.  All employees are required to take annual training.  RM/EHS also maintains procedures particular to their office.

Risk Management focuses on loss control and insurance.  RM/EHS [3] has fully implemented the State of Georgia Department of Administrative Services Comprehensive Loss Control Program [7].  The University of West Georgia is currently developing a framework for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) that enforces Board of Regents Policy 7.15 [8], adopted in August 2010.  In doing so, the Center for Business Excellence was created to support the Division of Business and Finance.  Enterprise Risk Management is defined as a process driven tool that enables management to visualize, assess, and manage significant risks that may adversely impact the attainment of key organizational objectives.  It is the responsibility of the University System of Georgia and institutional leaders to identify, assess, and manage risks using the ERM process.  The successful implementation of ERM policies and practices can enhance potential opportunities to help achieve organizational objectives.

Fire Safety performs fire safety inspections of campus buildings and posts evacuation plans in each occupied campus building [9]. The University Police Department provides additional fire safety information [10].  RM/EHS offers consultation on special events to ensure the safety of the campus community.  The unit also oversees the fire extinguisher contract, conducts fire extinguisher training, and fire drills with the assistance of Housing and Residence Life, the University Police Department, and Facilities and Grounds.  Facilities and Grounds test all fire safety equipment on campus.  RM/EHS provides oversight, code interpretation, and best practices for construction of new buildings and renovation activities. The contractor risk assessment program includes the completion of the hazard mitigation form by the contractor, pre-construction and construction meetings, as well as final project review.  Emergency response coordination and communication between RM/EHS, the University Police Department, Facilities and Grounds, and the Carrollton Fire Department are integral in the best practices of the program.

General Safety Program serves to assist all university personnel in taking an active role in various campus safety programs by initiating preventive measures to control hazards associated with their activities.  All buildings are inspected for discrepancies related to life safety, fire safety, food safety, general safety, security, ADA compliance, occupational safety, environmental compliance, resource management, housekeeping, and building improvements.  RM/EHS reviews specific contracts, agreements and waivers that may put the university or its community at risk [11]. RM/EHS provides safety training for university personnel, and students working at the university, at no cost to the participants.  The University of West Georgia Safety Manual is available on the website and all offices have a printed copy [12]. The document is currently being revised to correspond with new policy development initiatives and the State of Georgia Comprehensive Loss Program mentioned earlier.

Occupational Health and Safety provides services which extend to various disciplines such as ergonomics, job hazard analysis, chemical safety, hazard communication, asbestos, lead, indoor air quality, respiratory protection, noise monitoring, hearing conservation, and a new health and wellness program.  In addition, RM/EHS publishes a semester newsletter Due Diligence to further expand the education on these programs [13].

Workers’ Compensation Administration provides quality customer service in compliance with the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act equally to all university employees who have been injured on the job.  Upon a first report of injury from an individual, RM/EHS serves as a liaison between the employee, supervisor, medical provider, and the State Department of Administrative Services Risk Management Office to complete the necessary forms and facilitate the worker’s return to work.  All on-the-job injuries are investigated to determine whether or not corrective action is appropriate [14].

Environmental Programs helps to preserve natural resources and oversees all regulatory compliance.  Services extend to various disciplines such as asbestos management, universal waste management, storm water run-off, underground storage tank inspections, bio-safety, laboratory inspections, eye wash and safety shower testing, training programs, and responding to all incidents or concerns relating to these programs [15]

Hazardous Materials Management administers the Hazardous Waste Management Program, of which chemical management is the main focus.  All hazardous materials must be approved by RM/EHS prior to purchase.  Individuals ordering chemicals must complete the basic Right-to-Know training [16].  Individuals who use hazardous materials must complete chemical specific Right-to-Know training and Hazardous Waste Awareness training [17] annually. RM/EHS maintains a current chemical inventory for each department and conducts on-site inventory verifications.  Through the accomplishments of this program, the University of West Georgia has dropped from being a large quantity generator in 2006, to primarily a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) consistently for 30 months, and occasionally falls into the small generator status.  Waste is collected monthly from the following departments: Art; Chemistry; Facilities and Grounds; Geosciences; and other satellite accumulation areas on campus as needed.  Although not required as a CESQG, the University of West Georgia maintains a Contingency Plan and Emergency Procedures Manual [18].  The procedures are reviewed annually and updated when a change to the operation or facility occurs.

In April of 2008, the University of West Georgia was one of the first of 35 institutions to undergo the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) self-audit of all environmental programs.  In April of 2011, EPA issued a letter stating that the University of West Georgia is in full compliance with all programs audited and no further action is warranted.

The University of West Georgia Internal Audit [19] periodically reviews RM/EHS and assigns risk factors to areas of concern involving probability of occurrence, impact and breadth to the university.  RM/EHS strives to minimize risks by conducting risk management training on identifying, assessing and managing potential risks, and thus, creating an entire community of risk managers.  In addition RM/EHS conducts risk assessments and performs risk analysis of university events, student events, and non-university events conducted on campus to determine potential areas of risk and exposure.

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Project Services (AEC) [20] provides services which include: planning for the long-range development of the campus; coordination of planning and design; construction of physical facilities; development of capital requests for the Board of Regents' approval and funding; construction administration; regulatory compliance assurance; and maintenance of facility information.  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is a priority at the University of West Georgia, and during the last decade the university has taken significant steps in making the campus more accessible.  These initiatives include: new elevator additions to several buildings; curb cuts and raised sidewalks are in place throughout the campus; handrails have been added at various campus locations; and at least one entrance to all campus buildings is equipped with an automatic door opener to increase accessibility.

AEC regularly conducts Facility Condition Assessments (FCA) to assess and benchmark the condition of major campus facilities and building systems.  The FCA encompasses such inspection criteria as: site; architectural; structural; interior finishes; ADA requirements; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); electrical, plumbing; life safety and fire protection; environmental health; and building accessibility. In 2012, at the request of the University of West Georgia, ISES Corporation completed Facility Condition Assessments, field inspections, which are necessary to define the capital renewal, deferred maintenance and plant adaption needs on university selected campus buildings.  The FCA inspection reports (see sample report [21]) recommend just under $97,556,520 worth of upgrades and improvements for the almost 955,361 GSF of buildings over the next ten years.

Facilities & Grounds [22] plays a key role in maintaining and improving the campus environment and is comprised of: the Work Information Center; Maintenance; Motor Pool; Custodial Services; Moves/Set-ups; Paint Shop; Construction; and Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance.  The functions of repair and routine maintenance, energy management, and special projects are scheduled, performed, and managed for more than 2 million GSF of building floor space.  Since 2000, the university has made significant improvements in Facilities & Grounds' ability to control temperature and humidity in campus buildings.  The efforts help ensure healthy, comfortable interior conditions conducive to the mission of the university.  Outdoor lighting has been significantly upgraded throughout the campus.  Photo-cells ensure outdoor lighting is on when needed, and campus security inspects parking lots and campus streets during routine patrols to ensure lights are operational.

The University Police Department (UPD) [23] is committed to providing the university community with a safe and peaceful environment conductive to learning and research. Their efforts enhance the ability of our students to succeed, and our faculty and staff to work in an environment without fear of crime and violence.

The UPD, a department within the Division of Business and Finance, is a certified, full-service police agency that provides law enforcement and crime prevention for the university community.  The department is organized into the following divisions: Administrative Division; Patrol Division; Criminal Investigations Division; Communications & Technology Division; Professional Standards & Training Division; and Locksmith Services.

The UPD Communications Center is the heart of the department’s radio and telephone communications system. The center is staffed around the clock with personnel monitoring all burglar and fire alarm systems, access control and weather radar. The center receives all incoming calls for service and information, dispatches officers, and monitors radio communications from the university police, as well as the surrounding police agencies.

The UPD has instituted numerous programs to safeguard the campus community such as Wolf Guard [24], CrimeWatch [25], and Rape Aggression Defense Basic Personal Defense System (RAD) classes [26].  The UPD has also put in place an emergency notification system called Wolf Alert [27] and a cell phone based “safety escort” system called the Wolf Guardian [28].

The UPD maintains all emergency plans [29].  The University of West Georgia conducted a campus-wide mock emergency safety drill in the fall of 2009, and a mock fire drill in 2011 specifically oriented for Housing and Residence Life.

Campus security has been substantially bolstered in the last decade by the adoption of card access, a new key standard, and the use of video surveillance.

The UPD maintains an accessible database of Crime Statistics information [30].

Parking & Transportation Services [31], a department in the Office of Business and Auxiliary Enterprises, includes the campus shuttle services, off campus shuttle, transportation for special events, and enforcement of the Parking Code.  The shuttle service is designed to provide safe, convenient, on-campus transportation for all students, faculty, and staff.

The Center for Business Excellence (CBE) is an office that was created to support the Division of Business and Finance focus on enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, and economy by deploying continuous improvement methodologies, benchmarking applications, customer service training, and other training opportunities associated with or related to the Division of Business and Finance [32].  In addition, CBE facilitates enterprise risk management guidance to the institution and administers annual required training for all employees in the areas of Ethics, Right to Know, Motor Vehicle Safety, and Risk Management.

Human Resources is a department within the Division of Business and Finance that provides Benefits Administration, Staff Recruitment, Training, Workers Compensation, and Payroll Administration services to the West Georgia campus community.  Its staff is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the institution’s mission, policies, and procedures.  Issues that relate to this standard include assurances that policies and procedures on discrimination, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol use, possession of weapons, workplace violence, smoking, etc. are enforced for campus employees [5].

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) [33], a department within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, provides a safe and welcoming community for student residents and Housing and Residence Life staff. The department publishes a number of documents that carefully outline the rights and responsibilities of all residents. HRL policies address alcohol, appliances, drugs, fire safety, hazing, and other issues. The student conduct process with regard to reporting incidents, the judicial process, judicial sanctions, and judicial appeals are clearly outlined [34].

The HRL staff is able to respond to student concerns and emergencies 24 hours a day throughout the year via their ResSTAR (Students Together Assisting Residents) system.  Staff members are on-call and work closely with the University Police Department, Facilities and Grounds, RM/EHS and the Student Development Center to respond to any and all calls for assistance. Safety and security is the number one priority of the department.  For additional security, all residence hall doors are locked around the clock.  Students are required to use their student ID cards to gain access to their assigned residence hall. University police routinely patrol residential areas of the campus, including the perimeter parking lots.  The university police are also available to provide escorts upon request.

Health Services [35], a department within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, provides medical services that support the physical and mental health needs of students. Specific services include an in-house pharmacy, immunizations, health education, and patient advocacy.  Students pay a medical service fee each semester that entitles them to unlimited access to the Health Services.

As recommended by the Center for Disease Control and the American College Health Association, the University System of Georgia requires that first year students provide proof of immunization against Bacterial Meningitis or provide a Meningitis Waver form. The waver form is required if the student declines the vaccination after reading the risks and hazards of Bacterial Meningitis. In addition, Hepatitis B, DTAP, OPV, and MMR shot records must be current upon admission, or in the process of being completed by the first semester [36].  As required under the HIPPA Protection Act, student records are secured in Health Services.

Students in the Nursing Program are required to have annual physicals and TB skin tests. A needle stick policy is in place to ensure testing for HIV and hepatitis if an accidental exposure occurs.

The University of West Georgia maintains a safe and healthy work environment in an ongoing effort to protect each employee from potentially hazardous or unsafe conditions.  Health Services works in conjunction with RM/EHS to identify risks.  Health Services is a first responder for injured employees to triage for continued treatment.  Health Services also participates on the campus Emergency Preparedness Committee, which develops protocol for the university community responses to health crises. The protocol was challenged during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-10, and as a result Health Services offers influenza vaccines annually to students, faculty and staff. In October 2011 alone, 1150 vaccines were dispensed.

The Counseling and Career Developmental Center provides individual counseling for all personal concerns.  Counselors are experienced in working with college students of all ages and backgrounds, and are appropriately trained and credentialed. Georgia law generally protects the confidentiality of information discussed in psychotherapy, but the Center considers all contacts to be private.  Topics often discussed with the counseling staff include, but are not limited to adjustment to college; relationships; general personal and family concerns; substance abuse; depression; anxiety; rape and sexual abuse; eating disorders; and anger problems [37].

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) [38], a department within the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, is a federally mandated body responsible for the protection of human subjects involved in research.  The IRB reviews, approves, and monitors research conducted by University of West Georgia faculty, staff, and students.  The primary function of the IRB is to safeguard the welfare and rights of human subjects in compliance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The committee assists investigators in ensuring that the rights and welfare of subjects are adequately protected.

The Office of Information Technology Services is dedicated to providing members of the University of West Georgia community with the technological resources and support needed to be successful and productive.  One of those resources is Information Security (InfoSec [39]), which is dedicated to protecting UWG users and resources from potential attacks on personal information.

Supporting Documentation: