FAQs

SDS for each chemical used in a workplace must be located in SDS binders which are posted at a Right-To-Know stations mounted in a conspicuous location within the work area where chemicals are used or stored. If an SDS for a chemical is not available, contact the manufacturer and request a copy or download a copy online. Contact EHS if you do not have a Right-To-Know station in your work area.

A Safety Data Sheet or SDS is a document generated by a chemical or product manufacturer that provides specific information on the chemical properties, health hazards, personal protective equipment, and emergency procedures for a specific chemical or product.

Safety issues and concerns may be reported to EHS by phone (703) 993-8448, by email safety@gmu.edu, our online Report a Safety Concern form, or by completing an Incident Report Form.

EHS offers a variety of safety trainings. A calendar of upcoming training sessions is available here. You can register for classes online by clicking here. For more information on training programs visit the EHS training page.

The frequency of training depends on the training program. Most training programs require an initial training and retraining thereafter is required every one to three years.

Contact EHS for additional information on training and retraining requirements or visit the EHS training page.

Because programs can change slightly from organization to organization based on the way that each organization goes about satisfying a state or federal regulation, all employees and students that conduct activities that require training must attend the relevant George Mason University training program even if training was acquired from a previous employer or organization.

There are some tasks that require you to work with equipment or chemicals that can cause injury if not used properly. Below are some tasks that require formal training:

  • Working with hazardous materials, chemicals, or substances
  • Operating machinery such as a forklift, aerial lift, or skid steer loader
  • Working in confined spaces
  • Working on energized equipment which includes electrical, pressure, or thermal energy.
  • Working in a laboratory (including maintenance or housekeeping-related tasks in a laboratory)
  • Using a respirator or hearing protection

Many types of machinery require training before it may be operated by an employee. The following is a list of some equipment that requires training before operation:

  • Forklifts
  • Aerial lifts (e.g., scissor lifts, man lifts, vertical mast, etc.)
  • Bucket Trucks
  • Backhoes
  • Skid Steer Loaders
  • Chainsaws
  • High Voltage Equipment

A confined space is any space that can be occupied on a temporary basis to perform maintenance or repairs on equipment. Confined spaces typically have only one way in or out. Employees must work in teams of two when working in a confined space; one person must be available to summon help if the other person becomes trapped or injured.

Confined spaces that have a hazard associated with them (e.g., dangerous atmosphere, risk of entrapment, engulfment hazard, or other risk) are classified as Permit Required Confined Spaces and require special training and additional safety precautions. DO NOT enter a confined space unless you have been trained and a Confined Space Entry Permit has been completed and approved.

EHS works with supervisors to determine which training programs are required for employees based on their job description and/or work duties. If you have questions about which training applies to your work or academic activities, contact EHS to determine which training is appropriate.

JSA are documents that outline the steps necessary to complete a task, associated hazards, required training, relevant safety plans or references, precautions that must be taken while performing work, and personal protective equipment that must be worn. JSA are completed by employees and/or supervisors and must be reviewed by supervisors. JSA should be referenced before beginning a task, especially if an employee is unfamiliar with a task, to minimize potential injuries or exposure to hazardous conditions.  Work tasks which have JSA priority are those that:

  • Have procedures that have the potential to be immediately dangerous to life and health;
  • can or have been shown to cause injury or exposure;
  • require lockout/tagout, confined space entry, energized electrical work permit, and/or required personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform the task safely;
  • require the operation of a vehicle (other than an automobile), tool, or equipment capable of causing injury or exposure to an employee or bystanders;
  • involve two or more employees, special procedures, or unique processes in order to complete the task; and
  • may expose employees or bystanders to electrical arc exposure and electrical shock.

Additional information about JSA is outlined in the university’s Job Safety Analysis Guide.  Completed JSA can be retrieved on line at MyMason.gmu.edu:

  1. sign-in with user name and password (patriot pass)
  2. choose the ‘Organizations’ tab on the top right of the page
  3. Use the Organization Search field in the top left and search for Job Safety Analysis
  4. Select ‘Job Safety Analysis’ to join the organization and access JSA

EHS does conduct inspections of work spaces and provides a written report of safety and fire safety issues. EHS inspects areas with hazards and public spaces on a routine basis. To request an inspection of your work area contact EHS.

All accidents, injuries, or conditions that may cause harm should be reported to the university so that appropriate remediation or corrective measures can be taken to protect the university community from similar or future incidents. The following situations should be reported to the university:

  • Employee Accident: An Incident Report Form should be completed whenever an accident (that does not result in injury), theft of university property, fire on university property, or unsafe condition occurs.
  • Student or Visitor Accident or Injury: An Incident Report Form should be completed whenever an accident, injury, or unsafe incident occurs involving a university student or visitor. 
  • University Property Damage: Damage to university property resulting from accident or emergencies must be reported to the Office of Risk Management via the Report of Loss to State Owned Property form.
  • University/State Vehicle Accident: If you are involved in an automobile accident involving a university-owned vehicle you must complete an Automobile Loss Notice Form and submit it to the Office of Risk Management. If you are still at the scene, review the instructions on the envelope in the glove box of the state vehicle.

The forms listed above are used to investigate unsafe conditions, identify corrective actions to prevent accidents and incidents, and modify programs accordingly to improve safety on university property.

For more information regarding workplace injuries, exposures, or illnesses, please review the University Accident and Incident Plan. For questions regarding workers’ compensation please contact Human Resources and Payroll / Benefits at 703-993-7756. For information about insurance, university property damage/theft, and automobile incidents contact the Office of Risk Management at 703-993-2599.

Safety is a shared responsibility among students, employees and supervisors, faculty, and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS). Each party must endeavor to identify hazards and work collaboratively to mitigate hazards through engineering controls, administrative controls, and physical controls. EHS provides support to all persons engaged in activities that pose a risk, however minimal, in finding alternative or safer ways to perform academic and work tasks. Contact EHS if you have a safety concern or would like assistance with a project you are working on.

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Not sure who to contact?

We work closely with many departments on campus, e.g., University Police, Student Health Services, Risk Management, etc., and sometimes it's hard to tell which office you need help from. Often times it's a combo of many! You are more than welcome to contact us if you are unsure, but we've also created a "Who do I contact?" resource if you'd like to take a look.