Health and Safety

Safety and Health Policy

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls that every employee, student and visitor be afforded a safe and healthful working environment within the scope of available resources.

As a person enters employment at the university, the employee has the right to be informed and inquire about safe working conditions, and provided with proper working tools to perform safely on the job.

Using appropriate resources, it is the intent of the university to provide a mutually profitable and harmonious safe working environment for university employees. Therefore, the university will attempt to provide a safe work place, proper equipment and materials, and establish and monitor that proper safety procedures are practiced.

Everyone has a responsibility to make safety a continuing concern. Each university employee must share in the concern, regardless of the capacity in which he or she performs. With this attitude in mind, joint cooperation between the employee and the university will contribute significantly to safe working conditions and contribute to accident-free performance to the advantage of the entire university community.

Risk Management Policy

Risk Management is the assumption of responsibility for recognizing, measuring, and controlling the exposures to loss of both human life and property that are created by the activities of the university. The university is insistent upon promoting a policy of sound risk management to provide facilities, services and working conditions that are conducive to safety, security, and maximum efficiency.

UW-River Falls strives to operate a risk management program that is consistent with UW System, State, and Federal requirements. Such programs attempt to protect employees, students and members of the general public involved in university activities on or off the campus. It is also entrusted to protect the physical properties of the university and state. The university also expects its faculty, staff and students to exercise good judgment in connection with safety regulations and methods relating to their personal safety and well-being.

The Risk Management Officer provides guidance, advice and other aid as needed by department administrators, faculty members, staff, and students. This person gathers information and files claims regarding accidents and incidents and acts as a liaison between the university and Central Risk Management and/or State Risk Management. The Risk Management Officer works closely with University Police, Workers Compensation/Human Resources, Property Control/Purchasing Department, Physical Plant and Campus Planning Office in all loss control matters. The campus risk management responsibility is coordinated by the Assistant Chancellor for Business and Finance in cooperation with University Police.

Departmental chairpersons, unit supervisors, and instructors are expected to encourage employees, students, and visitors to comply with safety rules and regulations such as wearing of personal protective equipment and having safety guards in place. Their efforts should be directed toward maintaining a safe working environment in all areas under their direction. Their duties include protecting university property within their department areas from theft and damage.

Department and unit heads should report all accidents and injuries to the Risk Management Officer within 12 hours after their occurrence. Theft or malicious damage, lightning and weather-related damage, or any other destruction of property should be reported to the Risk Management Officer as soon as possible after the occurrence. These initial reports will be followed by written reports to appropriate university and state offices for possible insurance claim and reimbursement.

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Worker’s Compensation

Any work-related injury or illness must be reported to the supervisor and to the Worker’s Compensation Coordinator immediately. Questions regarding worker’s compensation can be directed to the campus Worker’s Compensation Coordinator. The Worker’s Compensation Coordinatormail is located in the Office of Human Resources, 218 North Hall, and can be reached at ext. 3247. Forms can be accessed on the Human Resources web site

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Return to Work/Light Duty Policy

The health and well-being of all employees is of great importance and concern to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. It is well documented that injuries affect the whole body and effective rehabilitation and treatment must address the whole body. Part of that treatment includes the concept of keeping physically and mentally active within the restrictions of the particular injury. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will make an effort to provide employees with the opportunity to maximize their rehabilitation and physical therapy and enable their return to work.

The Work/Light Duty program has been designed and developed to maintain the dignity and the work status of the employee; ensure the injured employee receives the best practical medical care in order to speed the recovery and return to work; return the employee to the original position as soon as possible; assist in the early evaluation of potential long-term disability cases in order to determine early job placement, rehabilitation or retraining needs when appropriate; and treat all injuries as legitimate unless an investigation reveals otherwise. It is the goal of the program to return the injured employee to their position as quickly as possible or to find alternative and productive work activities when possible.

Please contact Human Resources for detailed information regarding the Return to Work Policy.

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Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an assistance program for employees and their families. It is a free, confidential counseling resource available on campus in Counseling Services for use by employees who would like help in dealing with personal problems. Supervisors will not be informed if an employee is seeking help unless the employee requests it. Visits to the EAP Counselor will not be entered in the personnel file. Voluntary contacts with the EAP coordinator may remain confidential.

The purpose of the Employee Assistance Program is to help employees resolve problems in ways that keep their work performance from being affected negatively. Questions regarding the program or requests to make an appointment with a counselor can be handled at Counseling Services, 715-425-3884.

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Drug-Free Workplace

Congress enacted the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which took effect March 18, 1989, and places certain responsibilities on the university as the recipient of federal grants and contracts. Pursuant to federal requirements and in keeping with current university policy, all UW-River Falls employees are reminded that university rules, policies and practices prohibit the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of controlled substances on all university property and worksites. Any employee who engages in any of these actions on university property or worksites or during work time may be referred to counseling or treatment and may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

Employees who are convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify their dean, director, or department chair within five days of conviction if the employees are employed by the university at the time of the conviction.

Employees who have problems with alcohol or controlled substances are encouraged to contact their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) coordinator voluntarily for referral to counseling or treatment programs. Early diagnosis and treatment of chemical abuse is in the best interests of the university and the employee. Voluntary contacts with the EAP coordinator may remain confidential. For questions regarding the program or to make an appointment to see a counselor, call Counseling Services at 715-425-3884.

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Safe Workplace Policy

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is committed to an environment which is safe and free from physical assault, threats, and harassing behaviors for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. All reports of possible workplace violence will be taken seriously by members of the campus community. The emphasis on campus will be proactive. The goals are education and training, early detection and intervention, and fair and expedient resolution. This policy is the result of cooperative efforts of the campus community including administrators, faculty, academic staff members, and classified staff members. The collaborative effort that developed this policy shows that a safe work environment is in the interest of all employees of the university and that prevention of workplace violence through training and mediation is the best way to ensure a safe work environment. This policy replaces the Employee Policy for Workplace Threats and Violence distributed to employees on November 27, 2006. This policy should not be construed as a comment on the legitimacy of the previous work place violence document.

Policy Statement
Workplace violence is the attempted, threatened, or actual conduct of a person who endangers or is likely to endanger the health and safety of campus community members (administrators, faculty, academic staff members, classified staff members, and students) or visitors.

Violence, threats, and harassment are always prohibited. Especially egregious are situations where: 1) the act, behavior, or communication is abusive and could cause another person physical, emotional, or psychological harm; and/or, 2) the act, behavior, or communication damages or threatens damage to UW-River Falls' or an individual's property or disrupts the education, work, or activities of an individual or group of people.

Employees who engage in actions or threats of violent behavior toward other employees, students, or the public while at UW-River Falls will be disciplined, up to and including dismissal and/or arrest. A purpose of this policy is to deal with workplace violence proactively, through education, mediation, consultation, before it escalates to the formal level of disciplinary action. Workplace violence incidents reaching the formal level will be dealt with by relevant rules, regulations, and policies.

Examples of workplace violence may include but are not limited to the following:

    * Threats of harm
    * Brandishing a weapon or an object which appears to be a weapon
    * Intimidating, threatening, or directing abusive language toward another person
    * Stalking a campus community member or visitor anywhere on the campus
    * Slapping, punching, or otherwise physically attacking a person
    * Telling another person you will "beat them up" to intimidate them
    * Non-verbal threats such as putting your closed fist close to another's face in an intimidating/threatening manner
    * Using greater physical size/strength or greater institutional power to intimidate another

Training: The University of Wisconsin – River Falls Human Resources Department is responsible for initiating training regarding the early detection, mediation, and prevention of workplace violence. This training will take place for all employees with special attention to training of front line supervisors and public safety officers.

Criminal Complaints of Workplace Violence: Any individual who experiences or witnesses violence, threats of violence or harassing behavior, or who has reason to suspect that these acts or behaviors are occurring, and may be of a criminal nature, should immediately notify University Police or local law enforcement. If these acts or behaviors occur off campus the local law enforcement jurisdiction should be contacted. If the incidents are likely to be work-related or could continue in the work place, University Police should be notified.

University Police will investigate any criminal allegation or coordinate with the local law enforcement agency and provide a report(s) on the result(s) to Human Resources. Alleged behaviors that may not be criminal may still be subject to UWRF policy and subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination subject to applicable state statutes and contractual agreements.

Non-Criminal Allegations of Workplace Violence: Alleged behaviors that may not be criminal may still be subject to UWRF policy. A student, faculty, staff, or visitor may wish to request informal campus review and action. If this is the case she/he should inform their supervisor, any dean or division officer, an employee representative, University Police, or Human Resources, either orally or in writing within 30 calendar days of the last occurrence. It is not necessary to inform a direct supervisor first if an employee would prefer to discuss this matter with any of the other individuals in the positions listed above.

The supervisor, dean or division officer, employee representative, or Human Resources staff will talk with the person reporting the workplace violence to get details about the events with the primary goal being to provide an opportunity to resolve the concerns through mediation, conflict resolution, and conciliation. Informal procedures at this time include, but are not limited to, separate meetings with the parties involved, joint meetings with the parties involved, and meetings of only the parties involved.

If resolution does not appear probable, referral of the complainant will be made to the appropriate UW-River Falls formal process for the complaint. Any member of the campus community can go directly to the appropriate formal process. The appropriate formal process will depend on the classification of the parties involved and the facts of the specific case.

False accusations are a serious matter and will be resolved through established procedures.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is important to encourage discussion on campus. Confidentiality will be maintained insofar as it is legal and ethical. It is not guaranteed. Depending upon the facts of a case it may be necessary for the University to take action, including consultation with others.

Retaliation: To better ensure a safe workplace and to encourage responsible reporting of violence in the workplace, retaliation or harassment against a person making a report in good faith, will not be tolerated and may subject the person engaging in alleged retaliation to discipline by relevant UWRF policy. Retaliation is prohibited regardless of the outcome of the underlying complaint.

*Sexual harassment is an act, which may be violent, which is dealt with under a separate policy. When the act constitutes sexual harassment, the policy on sexual harassment will be used.

NOTE: This Policy is intended to provide a foundation upon which more specific campus actions will be developed and evaluated for effectiveness that deal with such concerns as: support of victims of, and witnesses to, campus workplace violence, and their colleagues and family members; preventive measures such as education and training; and data collection, analysis, and utilization.

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Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

The development of a tobacco-free campus policy was based on faculty, staff, and student deliberations and recommendations.  The University of Wisconsin-River Fall acknowledges and supports the findings of the Surgeon General that tobacco use in any form, active and passive, is a significant health hazard.

For the purpose of this policy, "tobacco" is defined to include any lighted cigarette (such as clove, bidis, kreteks), cigars, pipes, and hookah products; any other smoking products (such as e-cigarettes); and any smokeless, spit or spitless, dissolvable, or inhaled tobacco products, including but not limited to dip, chew, snuff or snus, in any form (such as orbs, sticks, pellet, etc.).

Smoking or the use of other tobacco products (see above) is prohibited on all campus grounds (college owned, controlled, and/or leased); college owned or leased properties; and campus owned, leased, or rented vehicles. This includes but is not limited to all university streets and sidewalks, parking lots, landscaped areas, outdoor athletic facilities, and recreational areas; at lectures, conferences, meetings, and social and cultural events held on campus property or campus grounds.Smoking or the use of other tobacco products is also prohibited in the interior of all buildings, including campus residence halls.

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, and visitors during and after campus hours at all University of Wisconsin-River Falls sites.Back to top

Inclement Weather Policy for the University Community

In the event of weather emergencies, the chancellor or designee may cancel classes and close the campus to the public. In spite of inclement weather, it is unrealistic to close a campus. There are numerous vital services that must be maintained such as security services, food services for residential students, power plant operations, snow removal, etc. However, if inclement weather is severe enough, classes can be canceled and/or the campus can be closed to the public.


1. All employees (faculty, academic staff, classified, and students) are expected to make an earnest effort to report to work in the event that classes are canceled and the campus has been closed to the public. Safety and welfare should be the principles that guide an employee’s decision to leave work early or not to report to work. Employees are expected to inform their supervisors of their decisions.

2. In the event that classes have been canceled and the campus has been closed to the public, every attempt will be made to notify local and Twin Cities’ news media. Announcements by local media about closed state offices and universities are considered advisory only. Only the Chancellor is authorized to close the university.

3. In the event the campus has been closed to the public and employees are either unable to report to work or feel unsafe in reporting to work, they will be treated according to the appropriate state statute, university rule, policy, or applicable union contract provisions.

In general, employees who are in positions designated as:

Non-Exempt (hourly-based positions that earn overtime compensation for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week) employees who report late to work after having made an earnest effort to report to work on time but were unable to do so because of inclement weather, severe storm, or heeding an official travel advisory shall be allowed to work to make up for lost time during the current work week (including Saturdays if the employee’s work unit is in operation) as scheduled by the employer. Make-up shall be at the regular rate of pay. Employees may use vacation, personal holiday, or leave without pay in lieu of making up the time when approved by the employer. Where situations described above occur on the last day of the work week and the Employer cannot schedule the employee for make-up time, the employee may elect to use vacation, personal holiday or leave without pay.

Exempt (salaried positions that do not earn overtime compensation) employees who report late to work after having made an earnest effort to report to work because of inclement weather or severe storm or heeding and official travel advisory shall be allowed to work to make-up for lost time during the current or next pay period as scheduled by the employer. Make-up shall be at the regular rate of pay. Employees may elect to use vacation, personal holiday for the time absent.

Non-represented (not covered by a labor agreement) employees should abide by the appropriate provisions stated above based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) designation (non-exempt or exempt) for their positions.

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Protective Clothing

Union contract may require an employee’s department to pay an allowance toward the purchase of protective clothing, shoes, or glasses. Please refer to the union contract or talk to a union representative for additional information about protective clothing.

For non-represented employees, the department may require an employee to wear protective clothing. Employees should contact their supervisor for information regarding protective clothing.

Abnormally Hazardous Tasks

In the event an employee believes he or she has been assigned an abnormally dangerous task, the employee shall inform the immediate supervisor in writing on an Abnormally Hazardous Task Report form. Forms can be obtained from the Human Resources Office.

Please refer to the supervisor, union contract or union representative regarding specific policy information regarding an abnormally hazardous task.

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Bomb Threat Procedures

If employees receive a bomb threat telephone call, they should notify University Police at ext. 3133 immediately. There are several things the employee should try to note regarding the call and caller:

1. Time the call came in.
2. Gender and estimated age of the caller.
3. Any accent or speech characteristics (for example: loudness, raspy, high pitch, fast or slow, stutter, slurred, muffled, etc.)
4. Manner of the caller (for example: angry, calm, emotional, laughing, foul language, etc.)
5. Identify any background noise that may help identify the origin of the call.

If possible, the entire conversation should be written down. It is important to remain calm and courteous and try to get as much information as possible:

1. Where is the bomb?
2. When is it set to go off?
3. What kind or size is the bomb?

Try to keep the caller talking until vital information is obtained. The investigating personnel will be completing forms asking for the information.

A decision to evacuate university buildings will be made by the chancellor or a designee. If a decision to evacuate is made, the following procedure will be followed:

1. Before the building evacuation is initiated, a search of the building exit routes will be made by University Police and the River Falls Police Department.
2. Occupants will need to take personal belongings and evacuate the building when notified (do not activate fire alarm system).
3. Upon evacuation, all exit doors will be locked and only authorized search team personnel shall be allowed to enter.
4. All other personnel shall remain at least 300 feet from the evacuated building.

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University Fleet Vehicle Policy

Facilities Management operates and maintains a fleet of vehicles for the use of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in official business of the university. Persons must be authorized and engaged in official business to be eligible to drive a state vehicle. Vehicles are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Vehicles may be reserved by submitting a Vehicle Request form to Fleet Vehicles in the Maintenance/Central Stores Building. Authorization to drive a fleet vehicle is granted by the Risk Management Office. Call ext. 3344 for information about becoming an authorized fleet vehicle driver, or visit to obtain a Driver’s Authorization Form.

Lost and Found

The main campus lost and found is located at University Police Department, 103 Regional Development Institute.

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