Occupational Safety

Occupational Safety

The web page links listed at the left contain information on occupational safety topics that pertain to a broad spectrum of occupations. The web pages are intended to provide you with more information regarding the particular topic, other resources for information, and guidance to develop programs. Please contact University Safety and Assurances if you would like more safety information on these topics.

Safety Committees

Facilities-Auxiliaries Safety Committee


Roster: 2018


2022: Jan, March,July

2021: March, April, May, June, August, October

2020: January, February (no meetings remainder of year due to COVID)

Contact safety-office@uwm.edu for meeting minutes prior to 2020.


UWM Campus and State of Wisconsin Resources:

Link to State of Wisconsin DOA Web-based Ergonomic Training

Other Resources:

Tips for Enhancing the Office Environment


In response to the ergonomic concerns of the office work environment, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published voluntary standards for office workstations. These standards address the pertinent issues relating to office work station design in the effort to increase worker comfort and productivity. The recommendations of ANSI are summarized below and should be tailored to specific work station situations.

General Work Environment


Proper lighting is critical for a comfortable and productive workstation. The optimal light level will depend on the task at hand. Consider using moveable task lighting. Too much light can be as visually fatiguing as too little. The best level of illuminance for video display terminal (VDT) work that also uses paper documents is 300-400 lux (30-40 footcandles). If paper documents are not used, the level of illuminance should be 200 lux (20 footcandles) or lower.

Lighting should not ruin image quality. The work station should be arranged so that the operator does not face an unshielded window or a bright light source. The orientation of the video screen should be perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the line of windows.

Outside light should be controlled by drapes, dark film, blinds or louvers to minimize screen glare. Intense overhead lighting or task lighting may produce glare as well. Louvers for overhead illumination generally improve lighting quality by reducing glare. Screen filters may be useful to reduce unwanted reflections.

Generally, desktops with matte finishes or darker desktops are less visually fatiguing than those with reflective finishes, or lighter ones.

In summary, the orientation and angle of the screen, controlling natural and artificial light sources, effective use of task lighting, and adjusting the screen’s brightness and contrast controls are the surest ways to minimize glare and reduce eye fatigue.

Background Noise:

Ambient sound levels should not be higher than 55 decibels (dBA).

Temperature and Humidity:

Temperature and humidity should be within comfortable ranges. A relative humidity level between 40 and 60% is generally desirable for most workers in office environments.

VDT Considerations


The Department of Administration poster entitled “Working Safely With Video Display Terminals” is a quick and easy guide to some common workstation problems and their solutions.

Keyboards should be placed in an optimum location. Many keyboards have angle adjustment tabs. Changing the keyboard angle may contribute to typing comfort as well.

There are a number of ergonomically designed keyboards available and you should try several different types before deciding on which may be the most comfortable for you.

Screen brightness, contrast, and color combinations should be selected by the operator for optimal viewing comfort. Check the program specifications to determine if color combinations can be altered. These adjustments can have a profound impact on viewer comfort and productivity.

Display images on the screen should appear stable and free of any distortion flicker, or jitter. Blinking screen characters or the cursor may contribute to eye fatigue. If adjustable, blinking characters should not vary at more than 2 hertz (2 cycles per second).

See “The Effects of Video Display Terminal Use on Eye Health and Vision” from the American Optometric Association for additional information on eye discomfort and/or visual problems associated with VDTs.

Comfortable viewing distance from the eye to the screen is 15 to 40 inches. This should be adjustable by the operator. Often VDT screens are arranged too high, forcing the operator to tilt the neck severely backward causing neck pain. It is recommended that the center of the screen be 10-25 degrees below eye level.

The VDT should be tiltable from about 5 degrees forward to about 15 degrees backward to help eliminate screen reflections and maximize viewer comfort.

Source documents should be located at or near the same distance as the screen. A document holder may be useful for data entry and dialogue tasks. It should be adjustable in height and angle of tilt.

A wrist rest or arm rest should be available for those who desire it. These devices can reduce static muscle loading and deviated wrist postures while keying. Hands and fingers should be relaxed while keying. There are also an assortment of padded mouse pads available.

Laptop Computers

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends against using laptops as primary computers unless they are used in a way consistent with neutral posture. Maintaining neutral postures will reduce stress and strain to the musculoskeletal system.

There are several good sources which address laptop ergonomic issues:

Furniture Considerations

Furniture should be able to accommodate the 5th percentile female through the 95th percentile male dimensions. These percentiles represent all but the smallest five percent of women and the largest five percent of men. To accomplish this, furniture should be adjustable or there should be a selection of furnishings to choose from. The seat height, heights for the equipment (keyboard and other working surfaces), and the height for the display should be adjusted to personal taste. Also, take into consideration the four critical points of support for the operator’s body: a wrist rest for the hands; seat pan for the buttocks; a short rest, usually called an elbow rest; and back support. For worker comfort, important postural angles are the angles of the elbow and knee, and the angle of the seat back. As a general rule, the workstation should provide maximum flexibility of components. The items listed below should also be taken into consideration when designing the office work station.

Table Top:

The working space should be large enough to accommodate all task materials in addition to the VDT. All materials should be within easy reach.

Fixed tabletops for typing should be about 27 inches high; for other tasks, it should be about 29 inches high.

The space for the legs and feet under the table should be at least 27 inches wide and 27 inches deep.

Small “wells” or recessed areas for the keyboard are not recommended. These restrict keyboard placement.

Height adjustable tables with a single sided surface should be adjustable from 25-30 inches above the floor. For dual-platform height-adjustable tables, the keyboard platform should be adjustable from 25-30 inches above the floor, and the screen platform should range from 26 to 32 inches high.


Desk Chair and Footrest

The seat pan should be height-adjustable through a range of 15-20 inches above the floor. If used by several operators, the chair should be easy to adjust.

The seat pan should be at least 16 inches wide, with a preferred width of 18-19 inches. The seat depth should be 15 to 18 inches. The seat pan should tilt backward between 0 and 7 degrees.

The angle between the seat pan and seat back should be 85 to 130 degrees.

Seat padding should not compress more than one inch when an individual is seated.

The lumbar support should be centered 6 to 10 inches above the seat pan. Ideally, the lumbar support should be adjustable.

The front edge of the seat should be rounded downward.

Arm rests should be at least 2 inches wide and should be located about 10 inches above the seat pan. Arm rests are generally recommended, but may be a hindrance if the user must get in or out of the chair frequently.

The chair should be fitted with casters if the task requires the operator to get up or move around the workstation frequently. A properly adjusted chair allows the operator to place both feet firmly on the floor when seated comfortably. If feet cannot be placed flat on the floor when seated, a footrest may be useful, although it is not necessary if both the table and the chair are height adjustable. Footrests should be approximately the same size as the seat pan of the chair, have a non-slip surface, and rest firmly on the floor.

Other Considerations

VDT operators should periodically take a break, stand up, stretch and change sitting positions. Work/rest schedules vary according to the job’s physical and psychological demands.

Visual targets should be located close to each other — at the same distance from the eyes and in about the same direction of gaze. If the visual targets are spaced apart in direction or distance, the eye must be continuously redirected and refocussed while sweeping from one target to another. This may contribute to eye fatigue.

Proper eye wear is a critical factor in reducing eye fatigue. The person prescribing lenses should be aware that VDT work is involved and know the range of distances encountered. Optical prescription single-vision or focal length lenses designed for computer use are available through vision care specialists.

Be creative. There are many easy and inexpensive solutions that will make the work station more comfortable and productive.

Fall Protection Information


Sample Fall Protection Sign

Falls remain the number one killer of workers in the construction industry and the number two killer of workers in private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that fatal work injuries involving falls increased 5 percent in 2006 after a sharp decrease in 2005. The 809 fatal falls in 2006 was the third highest total since 1992, when the fatality census began.

Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of falls. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards.

Studies have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers, and travel restriction systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls. (Source: OSHA http://www.osha-slc.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html).

All fall hazards should be identified at work sites with the potential for elevated work. Once an elevated fall hazard has been recognized, an appropriate control measure must be selected. Priority should be given to elimination of the fall hazard over the use of fall protection equipment. The first line of defense in addressing a fall hazard is to identify and eliminate the hazard. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated, the second consideration would be to assess the workplace and process and implement an effective permanant means of providing fall protection. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated and changes to the workplace cannot adequately ensure the prevention of falls, the last line of defense should be to control the fall.

Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery. Fall protection must be provided on roofs without 42″ high parapet walls or railings. Workers must use fall protection where required. Supervisors are jointly responsible for ensuring worker’s safety.

Examples of Some Areas Requiring Fall Protection at UWM

Green Roof at WATER Institute

Types of Fall Protection Systems

There are two types of fall protection systems: “active” and passive”.

Passive Fall Protection Systems Include: Active Fall Protection Systems Include:
  • Aerial Lifts and Platforms
  • Guardrails
  • Safety Nets
  • Safety Monitors
  • Barricades
  • Life lines
  • Work positioning
  • Personal Fall arrest equipment

Employee Adjusting Harness

Components of a “Personal Fall Arrest System”

A personal fall arrest systems consists of the following:

  • Full-body harness
  • Body Belt
  • Lanyard
  • Lifeline
  • Snaphooks


A full-body harness consists of nylon and/or polyester straps that encompass the chest, chest and waist or full body. In the event of a fall, a full body harness distributes the fall arrest force over the pelvis, thighs, waist and shoulders. The attachment of the body harness must be located in the center of the wearer’s back, near the shoulder level, or above the head.
* OSHA Standard: 1926.502(d)(17)

Additional Information About Fall Protection at UWM:

Contact University Safety and Assurances to identify and address fall protection issues at UWM. Employees should contact their supervisors for fall protection program information and training.

Fall Protection Resources:

Ladder Safety

Carrying Ladder

Select the Appropriate Ladder:

The most common cause of ladder accidents involves not selecting the right ladder for the job. When working indoors, a step stool or stepladder, platform or multi-purpose ladder is usually recommended. For outdoors, a taller step, multi-purpose or extension ladder is often more appropriate.

Always check the duty rating of the ladder you will be using and verify the maximum load. The “duty rating” is the maximum load capacity of the ladder. Do not assume that a longer ladder has a higher duty rating. There is no relationship between length and duty rating. Be sure to select a ladder designed to hold the necessary load, including the worker and equipment.

Duty Ratings:

  • Type IAA: Special-duty rating — 375 lbs
  • Type IA: Extra heavy-duty rating — 300 lbs
  • Type I: Heavy-duty rating — 250 lbs
  • Type II: Medium-Duty rating — 225 lbs (not recommended at UWM)
  • Type III: Light-Duty rating — 200 lbs (must not be used at UWM)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires that a duty rating sticker be placed on the side of every ladder so users can determine if they have the correct type ladder for each task/job.

Use a fiberglass ladder if there is a possibility of working near electricity or overhead power lines. Fiberglass is electrically non-conducive. Fiberglass ladders are also strong and lightweight, but they are not impervious to the elements. Users should check fiberglass ladders for signs of damage such as discoloration or cracks before using.

Inspect Ladder Prior to Use:

Always check for damage prior to using any ladder.

  1. Make sure feet are not broken or malfunctioning and that the slip-resistant pads are secure.
  2. Inspect the ladder for cracks, bends and splits on the side rails, rungs and steps.
  3. Make sure both rung locks are working properly.
  4. Test the rope and pulley. Examine the rope for any signs of fraying. Make sure the pulley is operating smoothly.
  5. Ensure all bolts and rivets are secure.
  6. Make sure the ladder is free of foreign materials such as oil and grease.
  7. If using a stepladder, make sure the spreader braces are secure and working properly.
  8. Aluminum or steel ladders should be inspected for rough burrs and sharp edges.

Proper Use of Ladder:

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use of the ladder. Before starting work, check that the safety feet are positioned properly to prevent slipping. Always place the ladder on a stable surface, clearing debris if necessary. Make sure the ladder steps are clean and dry and that there are no damaged steps. Check the ladder spreaders and make sure they are locked in place. Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.

Set–up carefully:

  1. Use a barricade or guard if you will be working in an area with pedestrian traffic to avoid collisions
  2. Lock or block any nearby door that opens in toward you
  3. Keep area around base of ladder clutter-free
  4. Make sure the base of the ladder rests on a solid surface
  5. Position a straight ladder at a 4 to 1 ratio (base of ladder should be 1’ away from the vertical surface for every 4 feet of the ladder’s length to support you)
  6. Avoid shifting by tying your ladder down as close to the support point as possible
  7. Always raise extension ladders so that the upper section overlaps and rests on the bottom section. The upper section must always overlap on the climbing side of the extension ladder.

Make sure the ladder is long enough for the job. Climb only as high as the 2nd tread from the top on a step ladder and the 3rd rung from the top on a straight ladder. When working on a roof, the ladder should extend 3’ beyond the support point. When using an extension ladder, place the ladder top so that both rails are fully supported. The support area should be at least 12″ wide on both sides of the ladder.

Hold onto the ladder carefully, ensuring that you don’t reach out too far to either side. Don’t try to move a ladder while you’re on it. If the ladder is not positioned properly, climb down and reposition the ladder closer to your work.

Face the ladder when ascending or descending, keeping your body centered between the rails. Both hands should be placed on ladder rails, not on rungs, maintaining a firm grip when ascending and descending. Maintain 3-point contact at all times. This means that both feet and one hand or one foot and both hands must be in contact with the ladder at all times. If you’re using tools, raise and lower them with a hand line or use tool belt.

Do not sit on the ladder and never sit or stand on the top cap of a step ladder – it is not designed to carry your weight. Make sure that you transport the ladder properly. Ladders should be carried parallel to the ground.

Extension ladders should have proper overlap, depending on their length.

  • Three foot overlap for 32-foot ladder
  • Four foot overlap for 32- to 36-foot ladder
  • Five foot overlap for 36- to 48-foot ladder
  • Six foot overlap for 48-foot ladder

When using an extension ladder, always lower the ladder before carrying or moving it. Because long ladders can be unwieldy, whenever possible have someone help carry and set up the ladder.

Never push or pull anything sideways while on a ladder. This puts a side load on the ladder and can cause it to tip out from under you.

Other Resources:

Lockout/Tagout Program

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Information:

Research equipment requiring LOTO and machine guarding

“Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

This requires that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance and that the authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.

UWM employees and students involved in the LOTO program must be given training. Periodic inspections of the use of the procedures must be conducted to ensure continued effectiveness of the program.

Other Resources:


This lockout / tagout (LOTO) program is intended for all departments at UWM. Departments may modify this program or develop their own written program to meet individual departmental needs.

The purpose of this program is to identify the procedures necessary to shut down and lock out or tag out machines and equipment where the unexpected energizing or start-up of the equipment or release of energy could cause injury.

Hazardous energy appears in the workplace in the form of electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic and thermal energy and includes chemical, water, steam and gaseous energy systems. Lockout/Tagout procedures prevent the unexpected energization, start up or release of stored energy that could cause injury while working on equipment. OSHA estimates that nearly 2% of all deaths in the workplace would be affected by adherence to this rule .

The program is applicable whenever employees (students) install, repair, set up or service equipment or machinery, or if employees are required to remove or bypass a guard or safety device.

The program requires that employees receive training and requires that periodic inspections be conducted to maintain and enhance the program.

Responsibility for Compliance:

Departments are required to implement a LOTO program. A majority of the hazardous energy sources on campus are either the responsibility of Facility Services or Auxiliary Services (e.g., Sandburg and Union operations).

Academic departments need to implement a program and incorporate students where applicable.

Directors, chairs or their delegate are responsible for determining which activities involving the use of hazardous energy sources are subject to and performed in accordance with the requirements of this program and applicable regulations. Principal investigators are responsible for activities in their assigned areas/program. These responsibilities include:

  • Identify all machinery, equipment or processes subject to this program.
  • Identify “authorized” and “affected” employees.
  • Ensure that all authorized and affected employees receive proper training on the LOTO Program.
  • Where applicable, develop, document and utilize written energy control procedures for each potentially hazardous energy source.
  • Ensure all new and refurbished equipment is capable of accommodating lockout devices.
  • Provide ongoing funding of the LOTO Program.

University Safety & Assurances in Conjunction with Facility Services will:

  • Develop and maintain this written program which complies with the minimum requirements of OSHA and DCOM.
  • Assist in employee training.
  • Assist departments in identifying hazardous energy sources and choosing of proper LOTO methods.
  • Perform periodic inspections to ensure compliance with program goals and objectives.

All Authorized and Affected Employees are required to:

  • Follow LOTO procedures.
  • Lockout/tagout or provide machine guarding.
  • Not start, energize or use equipment, machines or processes that are locked out or tagged out.
  • Identify hazardous energy sources and report these to their supervisor.

Questions regarding the UWM LOTO Program shall be directed to your immediate supervisor. In some cases assistance from other shops or departments may be necessary.

Concerns or incidents regarding the UWM LOTO Program shall be reported to your immediate supervisor or safety committee. Incidents shall be reviewed by your supervisor and/or the Safety Committee. Where necessary, corrective follow-up action or modification of the program shall be implemented.

Training Requirements:

Training requirements are specified in OSHA CFR 1910.147(c)(7) The Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout)

Employees shall be informed about the LOTO program requirements at initial hire and periodically thereafter.

Individual departments shall provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the LOTO program are understood by employees (students) and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, use and removal of the energy controls are acquired.

Retraining shall be provided for employees whenever a change in their job assignments, a change in machines, equipment or processes present a new hazard, or when there is a change in the energy control procedures.

Additional retraining shall also be conducted whenever a periodic inspection reveals or whenever the department (employer) has reason to believe that there are deviations from or inadequacies in administrative practices or the employee’s knowledge or use of the energy control procedures.

The retraining shall reestablish employee proficiency and introduce new or revised control methods and procedures, as necessary.

General Requirements of the LOTO Program:

  • Basic Requirements:
    • Before the work phase of operation begins, an activity hazard analysis shall determine whether an employee may be exposed to unplanned releases of energy, hazardous material or unguarded machinery.
    • Supervisors shall provide single and/or multi-locking devices, tags and other items needed to comply with the program such as lockout hasps, circuit breaker lockouts, etc.
    • If employees have questions about their safety during lockout or tagout of equipment, they shall consult their supervisor.
  • Procedures for Lockout and Tagout of Equipment:
    • Equipment that might inadvertently release energy or hazardous material when turned on, and consequently cause injury, shall be locked out and/or tagged out.
    • Departments shall establish a system for employees to obtain locks, multi-locking hasps, tags and other LOTO devices. Employees shall be instructed of these procedures. Departmental representatives and specific departmental information includes:
      • Physical Plant Services-Shops: a LOTO kit including personalized tags shall be issued at time of hire. Additional or replacement tags may be obtained through Physical Plant Services.
      • Power Plant: Mark Peters
      • Sandburg: David Riesch
      • Union: Fran Jasper
      • Other administrative and academic departments: Programs are under development, please contact your instructor or supervisor.
    • Each employee must identify his/her locks in an individual way (e.g., name, photo, etc.)
    • A key to each lock issued to an employee shall be retained by the employee; the only other key shall be in the care of a supervisor and stored in a secure location.
    • Employees shall request assistance from their supervisor if they are not sure how to lock out equipment.
    • Departments shall identify which pieces of equipment need specific lockout procedures.


Reminder: Power or energy isolation control by locking out is the most accepted method of safety control [OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147(a)(l)(c)(2)(ii)].

  • Lockout of Power Sources:
    • Equipment and machinery including valves, flanges, switches, and similar items shall be locked out at the point of control, for example, at the switch box or valve. If it cannot be locked out at the point of control, it shall be locked out at the next feed source of energy supply.
    • Cord and Plug Connections:
      • The UWM LOTO program does not apply to work on cord and plug connected electrical equipment when the employee performing the service or maintenance has exclusive control of the plug.
      • Cord and plug connections that are out of sight shall be locked out at the energy source (for example, the breaker or disconnect feeding), and the employee’s tag or lock shall be applied to the plug end of the cord.
    • After a power or energy source is locked out, the employee shall ensure by test or other allowed method that the energy source is isolated.
    • When two or more employees are working on the same equipment, each employee shall attach his or her personal lock to the lever, valve, switch, or disconnect (off) switch. An adapter or multi-locking device may be used to attach one or more locks to a single control mechanism.
    • An employee who is assigned to work on locked-out equipment shall place his or her lock and tag on the equipment and determine that there is no power to the equipment. Employees shall also check with others on the site about the status of the machinery if necessary.
    • Where necessary, employees shall arrange for jacks, blocks, or other safeguards to be in place along with the lockout.
  • Removing Locks and Tags and Restoring Power:
    • An employee shall remove only his or her own lock. When the work is completed, the equipment should be operable when the last lock is removed.
    • Power may be turned on to test or adjust the equipment. Each employee who has a lock attached to the equipment shall be advised of the potential danger before removal of his/her lock. All affected employees shall reattach locks after the equipment is tested or adjusted, unless the unit is ready to return to service.
    • Before removing the last lock from locked-out equipment the employee shall ensure that:
      • All guards have been replaced;
      • Equipment, machine, or process is cleared; and
      • Appropriate personnel are notified of power being restored.
  • Equipment Locks:
    • An equipment lock is used to replace employee lock(s) when equipment is to be locked out for an extended period.
    • Equipment locks and tags are issued by supervisors. Except for the markings, they are the same type of locks as those issued by the authorized employee. The name of the employee placing the lock on the equipment and the name of the authorizing supervisor shall be indicated on the equipment lock and/or accompanying tag.
    • Equipment locks must be identified by a recognized marking; an accompanying danger tag shall indicate why the equipment is locked out.
    • Before the supervisor removes the lock from the locked-out equipment, he or she shall ensure that:
      • All guards have been replaced;
      • Equipment, machine, or process is cleared; and
      • Appropriate personnel are notified of power being restored.
  • Requirements for Removing Another Employee’s Lock:
    • Departments shall establish a plan for removing the lock of an employee who is absent.
    • When the authorized employee who applied the lockout or tagout device is not available to remove it, that device may be removed by the employer using a master key provided that the following conditions are met:
      • Verification by the employer that the authorized employee who applied the device is not at the facility.
      • Make all reasonable efforts to contact the authorized employee to inform him/her that his/her lockout or tagout device has been removed.
      • Ensure that the authorized employee has this knowledge before he/she resumes work at the facility.
    • Before removing the lock, the manager or supervisor shall ensure that those working on the equipment know that it was previously locked out. The equipment shall be power-tested and inspected; all requirements shall be followed for restoring power.
  • Control of Second Key:
    • The person with the highest level of responsibility shall have a second key to employees’ locks.
    • Keys to employees’ locks shall be kept in a secure location and made available only to the person with the highest level of responsibility on site. A record indicating that a second key has been removed shall be maintained on site. If a master key system is used with the second key system, the same control process shall apply.
  • Tags:
    • It is recommended that a tag stating DANGER-Do Not Operate, DANGER-Do Not Start, Do Not Open, Do Not Close, Do Not Energize or another appropriate warning be used along with the lock when equipment or machinery is locked out.
    • Tags shall be placed to clearly identify the equipment of circuits being worked on.
    • Tags shall be given the same level of respect and treatment as locks. However, please remember: Power or energy isolation control by locking out is the most accepted method of safety control since tags are warning devices which can be easily removed, bypassed, obscured or ignored.
  • Contractor Relations:
    • Contractors and vendors who perform work at UWM must adhere to minimum OSHA requirements.
    • The LOTO program shall be explained to contractors working at UWM. Contractors shall also inform UWM of their own LOTO procedures. UWM employees and contractors shall work cooperatively to ensure compliance with LOTO goals.
  • Exceptions / Exclusions:
    • An exception to the LOTO program may be exposure to electrical hazards from work on, near or with conductors or equipment in electrical utilization installations. Only qualified and authorized employees (e.g., electricians) shall be permitted to engage in such situations or operations.
    • An exception to the LOTO program may be minor tool changes and adjustments which take place during normal production operations if they are routine, repetitive, and integral to the use of the equipment provided that the work is performed using alternative measures which provide effective protection.
    • A written procedure need not be developed for a particular machine or equipment, when all of the following elements exist:
      • There is no potential for energy to be stored or reaccumulated after the shutdown.
      • There is a single, readily identifiable source of energy isolation, and the isolation completely de-energizes the equipment.
      • The machine is locked out during service.
      • Application of a single lockout device provides a complete lockout condition.
      • The lockout device is under the exclusive control of the employee performing the work.
      • The maintenance or service does not itself create a hazard to other employees.
      • There have been no accidents or incidents involving the unexpected activation of machines during service or maintenance.
  • Definitions:
    • Activity Hazard Analysis:
      Risk assessment or hazard analysis performed for a specific task.
      Affected Employee:
      An employee who is required to use machines or equipment on which servicing is performed under the OSHA Lockout/Tagout standard or who performs other job responsibilities in an area where such servicing is performed.
      Authorized Employee:
      An employee who locks or tags machines or equipment in order to perform servicing, maintenance, inspection, etc.
      Energy Control Device:
      A mechanical device that physically prevents the transmission or release of energy, including but not limited to the following: A manually operated electrical circuit breaker; a disconnect switch; a manually operated switch by which the conductors of a circuit can be disconnected from all ungrounded supply conductors and, in addition, no pole can be operated independently; a line valve; a block; and any similar device used to block or isolate energy. Push buttons, selector switches and other control circuit type devices are not energy isolating devices.
      Machines and equipment are energized when they are connected to an energy source or they contain residual or stored energy.
      Energy Source:
      Any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy.

      The placement of a lockout device on an energy-isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, ensuring that the energy-isolating device and the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.
      Other Employees:
      All employees who are or may be in an area where energy control procedures may be utilized. This may include contractors or other building occupants such as faculty and students.

      Primary Authorized Employee:
      A person designated to exercise primary responsibility for the implementation and coordination of LOTO in a given scenario.
      Residual Power:
      Energy which is retained in a system, machine or unit when the supply line disconnect is placed on the OFF position. Power capacitors and electric or magnetic fields are examples that may have residual power if not properly dissipated.
      Residual Pressure:
      The differential pressure remaining within a component after the pressure source is closed off.
      The placement of a tagout device on an energy-isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, to indicate that the energy-isolating device and the equipment being controlled may not be operated until the tagout device is removed.
      Tagout Device:
      Any prominent warning device, such as a tag and a means of attachment, that can be securely fastened to an energy-isolating device to indicate that the machine or equipment to which it is attached may not be operated until the tagout device is removed.


Machine Safeguarding

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries. Crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness can be prevented through machine safeguards. Simply put, any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.


Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring employees or other equipment users have received appropriate training on this program and machine-specific use of guards
  • Ensuring that equipment users maintain and use guards appropriately
  • Removing equipment from service if guards not in place or damaged (lockout-tagout, if possible)

Employees or other equipment users are responsible for:

  • Completing machine guarding training
  • Following the training for use of guards
  • Ensuring guards are in place and in working order on moving equipment prior to use
  • Removing equipment from service if guards not in place or damaged (lockout-tagout, if possible)
  • Reporting missing or altered guards to supervisor

University Safety and Assurances is responsible for:

  • Maintenance of this program
  • Providing resources for training of UWM employees and users of equipment with guards


Where Mechanical Hazards Occur

Dangerous moving parts in these three basic areas need safeguarding:

Point of Operation is the area where work is being done on a material, such as cutting, shaping, boring, or forming of material.

Power Transmission Apparatus is the area of the mechanical system that transmits energy to the parts of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears.

Other Moving Parts include all parts of a machine that move while the machine is operating. These parts can be rotating, reciprocating, or transversing. Feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine are considered other moving parts as well.

Hazardous Mechanical Motions and Actions

Many mechanical motions and actions present hazards to the worker. The following types of motions and actions are common to nearly all machines and recognizing them and their danger is essential to worker protection.

Motions Include:

Rotating: Rotating parts are dangerous because they can grip clothing or skin forcing an arm or hand into a dangerous area.

Rotating Moving Parts

Reciprocating: Reciprocating motions are dangerous because a worker may be struck or pinned during the back and forth or up and down motion.

Transverse: Transverse motion is movement in a straight continuous line. The danger in transverse motion lies in the possibility of a worker getting caught in a pinch point or dragged by the part itself.

Actions Include:

Cutting: The cutting action may involve all three motions and is dangerous at the point of operation. While the cutting action can be dangerous to fingers, limbs, torso and head, flying chips or debris pose a serious danger to the eyes and face.

Cutting Action

Punching: The punching action results when pressure is applied to the ram for the purpose of stamping metal or other materials. The danger occurs at the point of operation when the material is inserted, held and withdrawn by hand.

Shearing: Shearing action involves applying power to a slide or knife to trim or shear metal or other materials. Like the punching actions, the hazard occurs at the point of operation.

Bending: The bending action occurs when power is applied to a slide to draw or stamp metal or other material. The hazard occurs at the point of operation, similar to punching and shearing.

Safeguard Requirements

In order to protect the machine operator, safeguards must meet minimum general requirements.

Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of an operator’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies near hazardous moving parts.

Secure: Operators should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the safeguard because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use. They must be firmly secured to the machine.

Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.

Create no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface that could cause a laceration. The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way to eliminate sharp edges.

Create no interference: Any safeguard that impedes an operator from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding may actually enhance efficiency since it relieves the operator’s apprehensions about injury.

Allow safe lubrication: If possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance operator to enter the hazardous area.


Methods of Machine Safeguarding

There are five general methods of safeguarding machinery and equipment: guards, devices, location, feeding/ejection methods, and miscellaneous aids. Always choose the most effective and practical means available.

1. Guards

Guards prevent the operator from physically reaching around, under, or through the danger area. In general, there are four different types of guards.

Fixed Guards are a permanent part of the machine that does not depend on moving parts to perform its function. This guard is usually preferable to other types of guards because it is relatively simple, yet difficult to remove. Fixed guards are best used to protect workers from the power transmission apparatuses.

Fixed Guard

Interlocked Guards are a type of guard that if opened or removed, will automatically shut off or disengage the machine. The machine cannot cycle or be powered until the guard is back in place, but replacing the guard will not automatically restart the machine.

Adjustable Guards are useful because they allow flexibility in accommodating various sizes of material. However, because they require adjusting, they are subject to human error.

Adjustable Guard

Self-Adjusting Guards allow the barrier to open and close depending on the size and movement of the material. As the material is moved into the danger area, the guard is pushed away, which provides an opening only large enough to accommodate the material. When the material is removed, the guard returns back to the rest position.

Self Adjusting Guard

Guard Chart

Guard Construction

Many machine builders (manufacturers) provide point of operation and power transmission safeguards as standard equipment. Guards designed and installed by the builder are preferred because they usually conform to the design and purpose of the machine. However, when this is not possible, user-built guards may be necessary. Although that is not the preferred way of guarding, it does have its advantages.

User-built guards may be the only option for older machines that never had guard specifications. These guards can be designed to fit unique situations such as older or specially made machines. Also, the design and installation of user-built guards by work place personnel can help promote safety awareness among workers.

Although there are many advantages to user-built guards, they do come with some disadvantages. The main problem is the risk of poor design and execution. These guards may not conform to the machine making operations impractical. Also, altering the machine to accommodate guards may harm the integrity of the machine causing new hazards. Always make sure user-built guards are only made and installed by a professional who has done a thorough hazard analysis.

Power Transmission Apparatus Guards need no opening for feeding material, unlike point of operations guards. Because of this, power transmission guards should cover all moving parts in such a way that no part of the operator’s body can come in contact with them. The only openings necessary for these guards are those for lubrication, adjustment, repair, or inspection. These openings are covered and fastened in a way that they can only be removed using tools.

Point of Operation Guarding may call for more user-built guards because of the complexity and different uses these machines have. For these reasons, not all machine builders provide point of operation guards for their products.

Distance of Guards from Point of Operation

The diagram below shows the accepted safe openings between the bottom edge of the guard and the feed table at varying distances from the point of operation (danger line).



Danger line is the point of operation and location of moving parts.

Clearance line marks the distance needed to avoid contact between the guard and moving parts at the danger line.

Minimum guard line is the distance between the opening of the guard in order to feed material and danger line (1/2 inch).

The various openings are such that an operator’s fingers (average hand size) will not reach the point of operation.

2. Devices

Devices are used when barrier guards are not practical. For example, when access to feed points or ejection of parts is required, a barrier guard would not be used because nothing would be able to pass through it. Safeguard devices may operate through the following ways:

Presence Sensing devices may use different methods of light, radio frequency, or electromechanical systems to shut off a machine if a worker enters the danger area. These devices are only to be used if the machine can be stopped before the worker enters the danger area.

Physical Restraint devices keep the operator from reaching or walking into the danger area. This is done by attaching a cable or strap to the operator’s hand or body allowing only a certain range of motion. If the operation involves placing material into the danger area, hand-feeding tools are often necessary.

Pullback devices are similar to restraint devices in that they use a series of cables attached to the operator’s hands, wrists, or arms. When the machine’s slide or ram is up and not in the danger area, there is slack in the cable allowing the operator to access the point of operation. When the slide or ram begins to descend, the cables tighten, which withdraws the operator’s hands from the danger area at the point of operation.

Safety Control devices provide a quick means for shutting down a machine in an emergency situation. Common safety controls include trip devices such as pressure-sensitive body bars, triprods/tripwires, and two-hand controls.

Pressure Sensitive Body Bars will deactivate a machine when pressure is applied. If the operator trips, loses balance, or falls toward the machine, the body will apply pressure to the bar and the machine will stop. Because of this, the position of the bar is very important.

Safety Triprods and Wires will deactivate a machine when pressed or pulled by hand. Because these are used in an emergency situation, they must be within reach of the operator around the perimeter of the danger area.

Two-hand Controls require constant, simultaneous pressure by both of the operator’s hands for the machine to run. With the operator’s hands on the control buttons, they are a safe distance from the danger area and when one of the hands eases pressure, the machine will shut down.

Gates are movable barriers that protect the operator at the point of operation before the machine can be started. If the gate is not permitted to fully close, the machine will not be able to function.

Devices Chart

3. Location

Location is a method of safeguarding that involves locating the machine or the dangerous components of the machine so they are not accessible to the operator or other workers. By doing this, the worker can maintain a safe distance from the danger area while still operating the machine. This can be done by placing the dangerous moving parts against a wall or fence so the worker cannot enter the danger area.

4. Feeding and Ejection Methods

Many feed and ejection methods do not require the operator to place their hands in the danger area. Once the machine is set up and the material is loaded, there may be no operator involvement at all. In other instances where a manual feed is necessary, a feeding mechanism can assist the operator to ensure distance from the danger area. Please note that using feed and ejection methods do not eliminate the need for guards and devices. Guards and devices must be used whenever they are necessary.

5. Miscellaneous Aids

Machine safeguards and devices are the best way to protect workers from mechanical hazards, which could result in severe injury or death. However, there are some devices and strategies that, although not providing complete protection, may provide an extra margin of safety to the operator.

Awareness Barriers do not provide any physical protection, but act as a reminder to a worker that they are approaching a danger area. An awareness barrier such as a rope with a caution sign is generally not as effective in areas where continual exposure to hazards exist.

Protective Shields in a simple form are transparent barriers attached to a machine that are mainly used to provide protection from flying debris, splashing oils, and coolants.

Protective Shields

Hand-Feeding Tools can be used when it is necessary for an operator to feed or remove a material without the use of a feed or ejection mechanism. For example, using a push stick or block to feed wood into a saw blade is much safer than using one’s hands.

Administrative Controls include training, supervision, and procedural measures to safeguard individuals from mechanical hazards. Even the best safeguarding system cannot work effectively unless the worker knows how and why to use it. Specific and detailed training is an essential part of the safeguarding process. Training programs should include:

  • Identification of hazards associated with individual machines
  • The safeguards and how they provide protection from hazards
  • How the safeguards are to be used
  • When the safeguards should be removed
  • What to do if a safeguard is missing, damaged, or inadequate

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn whenever possible to provide an extra measure of protection to the worker, even though engineering controls (guards and devices) take precedence in protecting workers from injury. In order to provide adequate protection, PPE should be chosen and worn according to a particular hazard. It should also be stored properly to be kept clean and in good condition.

Although PPE is intended to provide extra protection to the worker, it can create hazards of its own. For example, protective gloves and sleeves may get caught in rotating parts causing injury to the worker. Consult with your supervisor when selecting PPE for specific operations.

Non-mechanical Hazards

This site concentrates on safeguarding mechanical motions and the hazards they present; however, there are other hazards that should not be ignored. These hazards include:

Electrical hazards are present when using electrically powered or controlled machines. The electrical systems should be properly grounded and damaged or exposed wires should be replaced to protect the operator from electric shocks.

Noise can create numerous hazards including hearing loss, pain, nausea, fatigue, and emotional distress. Engineering controls like sound reducing material should be used if practical. Also, hearing protection such as ear plugs or muffs should be used if engineering controls are not an option.

Hazardous Materials may be required for machines to operate properly or to complete a process. Materials such as cutting fluids, coolants, and lubricants may cause skin irritation, blindness, or serious illness. Some materials may give off harmful fumes when heated. Workers should always wear appropriate PPE when dealing with hazardous materials. Machines that give off fumes should be used in a vented area. Also, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) must be available in an emergency situation.

Specific Machine Guarding

The following link provides a guide from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration for machine-specific hazards and guards.



Special thanks to the North Carolina Department of Labor. Much of the information, images, and charts were obtained through their manual, A Guide to Machine Safeguarding. This manual can be found by clicking here.


Through this site and links associated with this site, employees should understand general machine guarding practices well enough to successfully complete the training quiz below. This site provides general information about the UWM Machine Guarding Program; however employees should receive additional training from their supervisor on machines or equipment specific to their area.

Training Quiz

This training quiz will open in a new window so you may navigate this site while taking the quiz. In order for you to get credit for the training, you must answer all 10 questions correctly. If you do not get all of the questions correct, you may click the back arrow on the bottom of the quiz to take it again. Once all 10 questions are correct, you may submit the quiz by clicking the forward arrow at the bottom of the quiz.


Additional Resources:

Mechanical Lifts / Powered Platforms

Vertical lift in operation


Use of mechanical lifts and powered platforms is routine at UWM. Staff and students using forklifts, mechanical lifts or powered platforms must receive basic operational and safety training prior to use. Personal protective equipment (PPE) may also be required.

Each operator shall be instructed in the safe and proper operation of the specific aerial device according to the manufacturer’s operator’s manual, UWM work instructions, and any other appropriate standards and safe work practices.

Please contact University Safety & Assurances (x6339) for additional information.

Some Safety Rules for Operating an Aerial Lift:

  • Ensure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
  • Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Know the capacity of the lift you will be using and do not overload. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools and materials.
  • Inspect the lift before each use.
  • Check the area of travel for trip hazards and hazards from above and below.
  • Maintain a safe distance from power lines (minimum clearance of at least 10 feet).
  • Always treat powerlines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
  • Ensure that others are at a safe distance from the lift.
  • Never modify the equipment without the manufacturer’s approval.
  • If the lift is unattended, lower the platform, shut off the engine, engage the parking brake and remove the key.
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
  • Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
  • Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
  • Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
  • Set the brakes and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
  • Use outriggers, if provided.
  • Use common sense.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Click to learn more about Personal Protective Equipment

Safety and Health Policy for Students

General Information

The University of Wisconsin System will provide and maintain adequate facilities for a safe and healthy learning environment. It is the University’s responsibility to work with faculty and staff so that they are equipped to educate students on practices and procedures that enhance safety for all members of the University.

Employees with instructional responsibilities are expected to comply with state and federal safety laws and regulations in their institutional areas. Certain courses and research projects require that the student work with hazardous materials while engaging in academic studies. Instructors of these courses and research projects shall inform and train students on procedures that will maintain the students’ personal health and safety and provide them with information on the hazards of specific chemicals that will be used during their course of study. Furthermore, instructors will enforce and follow safety policies.

Prior to use of hazardous materials and equipment, the student shall review the procedures and information and discuss any associated concerns with the instructor.

Working In Isolation

The “Working in Isolation” policy was created through the UW System to ensure the safety of faculty, staff and students who work, volunteer, or perform for credit activities alone in potentially hazardous environments within, but not limited to campus teaching and research laboratories, studios, workshops and other facilities or environments.  


In order to comply with the policy UW-Milwaukee University Safety and Assurances has developed a Checklist Form and Guidance to support the policy and procedures to operationalize this UW System Administrative Policy.

Supervisors, PIs, Staff and students can utilize the sign off when isolated work is needed to ensure “they receive explicit written approval from the person in charge of the work” as directed by the policy.  This policy applies to faculty, staff and students who work, volunteer, or perform for credit activities alone in potentially hazardous environments within, but not limited to campus teaching and research laboratories, studios, workshops and other facilities or environments.  

Individuals conducting hazardous operations or using hazardous chemicals or materials within campus laboratories, studios and workshops, research facilities or similar environments ordinarily should not work in isolation. Those performing maintenance or repair of equipment or campus property involving hazardous operations, chemicals or materials ordinarily should not work in isolation. At least one other individual who is knowledgeable of safety equipment and can come to the aid of the worker should be in visual or audible range. This policy does not supersede activities that have more stringent requirements such as permit required confined spaces.

Individuals may work in isolation if they receive explicit written approval from the person in charge of the work. Written approval may be granted if the person in charge of the work has completed the checklist of items provided in this form. A copy of the completed and approved checklist should be forwarded to University Safety and Assurances (safety-office@uwm.edu). Store the approved form in an easy to find location, that is accessible to all and available at all times.

The checklist for written approval includes the following list of items to be completed by the person in charge of the work:

  1. Conducted a hazard analysis to assess the work area to identify potential or existing hazards, determine if the hazards can be mitigated, and decide whether such activities should be closely monitored, restricted or disallowed.
  2. Implemented procedures and corrective actions to eliminate, minimize or control hazards when individuals are working in isolation.
  3. Assessed and documented the requirements for emergency equipment, emergency aid, and a means of obtaining emergency assistance based upon the nature and degree of the exposure to the hazard.
  4. Ensured emergency aid and communications systems are available and compatible with work assignments. This includes providing an effective communication system between any individual who works in isolation and person(s) capable of assisting the individual.
  5. Ensured a point of contact is aware of the individual’s location and the time frame they will be at the location while working alone.
  6. Ensured the individual understands and is fully trained on emergency procedures.
  7. Educated and trained (document training) the individual on all safety procedures, practices and protocols which include:
    1. Adherence to appropriate measures established for working in isolation; and
    2. Awareness of the hazards and the methods used to control or eliminate them so work can be performed safely.
  8. Evaluated safety measures on a regular basis to ensure that the practices are applicable, effective, compliant and in consideration of any new changes in work tasks or operations.
  9. Ensured incidents and injuries are reported immediately to the person in charge of the work.
  10. Ensured all incidents are investigated, corrective action taken when necessary and documented.
  11. Developed a system, such as after-hour permits or permission forms for undergraduate students, to prevent untrained persons from gaining access to laboratories and other hazardous locations within campus buildings.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the UW System is committed to providing a safe and healthful higher education environment for students, faculty, staff and other people using UW programs and facilities. As part of this commitment, it is essential that UW System institutions have risk assessments, hazard analyses and procedures in place for circumstances that may require an individual to work in isolation in a hazardous or potentially hazardous environment or one with high-risk hazards.

A copy of the completed and approved checklist should be forwarded to University Safety and Assurances (safety-office@uwm.edu). Store the approved form in an easy to find location, that is accessible to all and available at all times.

Working Alone Safely

Because of the nature of the university environment, it is often necessary for students to be alone in campus buildings after the regularly scheduled closure times for either special projects or ongoing work. Working alone in certain circumstances or environments requires special arrangements to minimize potential risks of injury.

The University of Wisconsin System Office of Safety and Loss Prevention has developed guidelines to address these issues. The guidelines focus on unpaid students who are not covered by worker’s compensation and are meant to promote safety for students working on academic or service-oriented projects associated with the university on and off campus.

Scaffold Safety Information


On August 30, 1996, OSHA issued revised standards for scaffolds. The revised standard, known as “Safety Standards for Scaffolds Used in the Construction Industry,” is found in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1926, Subpart L. The final rule updates the existing construction scaffold standards in Subpart L. The new standards set performance-based criteria to protect employees from scaffold-related hazards such as falls, failing objects, structural instability, electrocution, or overloading.

The rule also addresses training and various types of scaffolds, as well as falling object protection, ladders, weather conditions, aerial lifts, stilts, and other matters that were not previously covered by the OSHA scaffold standards. In addition, it allows employers more flexibility when using protective systems for workers on scaffolding. This rule took effect on November 29, 1996.

Listed below are some of the key provisions of the regulation:

  • The standard requires fall protection at a 10 foot height above a lower level for employees. [1926.451(g)(1)]
  • Guardrail Height -— The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service before January 1, 2000 can be between 36 inches (0.9 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m). The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service after January 1, 2000 must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m). [1926.451(g)(4)(ii)] When the crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a toprail, it must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 48 inches (1.3 m) above the work platform. [1926.451(g)(4)(xv)] Midrails must be installed approximately halfway between the toprail and the platform surface. [1926.451(g)(4)(iv)] When a crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a midrail, it must be between 20 inches (0.5 m) and 30 inches (0.8 m) above the work platform. [1926.451(g)(4)(xv)]
  • Erecting and Dismantling -— When erecting and dismantling supported scaffolds, a competent person must determine the feasibility of providing a safe means of access and fall protection for these operations. [1926.451(e)(9) & 1926.451(g)(2)
  • Training -— Employers must train each employee who works on a scaffold on the procedures to control or minimize the hazards. [1926.454]Employees must be trained in (partial list):
    • Access
    • Electrical hazards
    • Fall protection and prevention of being struck by falling objects
    • Maximum safe load of the scaffold
    • Proper handling of materials on the scaffold
    • Proper scaffold construction
    • Proper use of the scaffold
    • Site safety
  • Inspections -— Before each work shift and after any occurrence that could affect the structural integrity, a competent person must inspect the scaffold and scaffold components for visible defects. [1926.451(f)(3)]

Other Resources:

Accident Prevention: Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips Poster

Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. Second only to motor vehicle accidents; slips, trips and falls are the most frequent accidents leading to personal injury. Slips trips and falls can result in head injuries, back injuries, broken bones, cuts and lacerations, or sprained muscles. The Bureau of State Risk Management has identified “slips, trips and falls” as one of the top five causes of workers’ compensation claims over the last six years.

A “slip” occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface. A “trip” occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance. A trip most often results in a person falling forward, while a slip most often results in the person falling backward. A “fall” occurs when you are too far off-balance.

There are many situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls, such as ice, wet spots, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, open desk drawers and filing cabinets. Loose, irregular surfaces such as gravel, shifting floor tiles, and uneven sidewalks, can make it difficult to maintain your footing. Most slip, trip and fall incidents are preventable with general precautions and safety measures.

Injuries from falls may be caused by a variety of sources. Many of these sources, like curbs, flaws in parking lots and uneven lawns, are not of significant height, but have the potential to cause significant injuries. The best way to prevent injuries such as these is to be aware of where you are going and pay attention to your walking surface.

Report even a minor fall. It could prevent someone from experiencing a more serious injury down the line.

Some of the Factors Contributing to Slips, Trips and Falls Include:

Wet or Slippery Surfaces

Wet or slippery surfaces are a major cause of slips. Highly polished floors such as marble, terrazzo, or ceramic tile can be extremely slippery even when dry and definitely increases the potential for a slip when moisture (spills, rain, snow and mud) is present. Food preparation areas and residential dorm bathrooms and kitchens are also a high risk for slippery surfaces.

The following are some simple ways to reduce the liklihood of a slip and/or fall on wet or slippery floors:

  • Use anti-skid adhesive tape in high traffic areas
  • Use absorbent mats in entrance ways during inclement weather. (Caution: Unanchored mats may cause slip hazards themselves. Make sure that mats lie flat and that the backing material will not slide on the floor.)
  • Display wet floor signs when appropriate, note that signs are a great awareness tool but should not be the only means of control. Clean up spills and wet floors as soon as practical.
  • Have a procedure to deal with spills and ensure spills are reported and cleaned up immediately.
  • Use proper mats in areas that tend to be “spill prone” (bathing facilities, food preparations)
  • When wet processes are used, maintain proper drainage or use platform mats

If you must walk on a slippery surface:

  • Wear proper footwear for better traction on slippery surfaces
  • Point your feet slightly outward, keeping your center of balance under you
  • Take slow, small steps
  • Use your feet as probes to detect possible slip, trip and fall hazards
  • Get your feet underneath your body quickly to maintain your balance after an initial step
  • Use rails or other stable objects that you can hold onto
  • Protect the more vulnerable parts of you body like your head, neck and spine if you do fall

When moving from carpet to tile or dry tile to wet tile, etc. the friction (grip) between the sole of the shoe and the floor surface lessens. Alter your stride to take shorter, slower steps.

Environmental Conditions

No matter how well the snow and ice are removed from campus sidewalks, parking lots and the surrounding streets, people will invariably encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. Many cold-weather injuries are the result of falls on ice-covered streets and sidewalks. Walking on snow or ice is especially treacherous. Getting around on campus in icy conditions calls for planning, caution, and a little common sense.

  • Dress warmly and wear boots with non-skid soles (avoid plastic and leather soles).
  • Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you. Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you, and whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.
  • A heavy backpack or other load can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much–you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
  • During the daytime, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards. At night, wear bright clothing or reflective gear. Dark clothing will make it difficult for motorists to see you–especially if they aren’t expecting you.
  • When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as possible. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery. Walk carefully.
  • Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall. If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head doesn’t strike the ground with a full force.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles–use the vehicle for support.

Streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement. It often shows up early in the morning or in areas that are shaded from the sun.

Insufficient or Inadequate Lighting

Insufficient light can make it difficult to see obstacles and notice changes in the walking surface and is associated with an increase in accidents. Move slowly where light is dim and pay increased attention to your path of travel. Moving too fast increases the likelihood you will misjudge a step or encounter a hazard before you have a chance to notice it. Moving from light to dark areas, or vice versa, can cause temporary vision problems that might be just enough to cause a person to slip on an oil spill or trip over a misplaced object.

Changes in Elevation

Changes in elevation are a major source of trip accidents. Even a change in walking surface of ¼ – ½” or greater will be sufficient to cause a trip. Curbs, cracks in the sidewalk, ramps and single steps are all examples of these hazards.

Another type of working and walking surface fall is the “step and fall.” This occurs when the front foot lands on a surface lower than expected, such as when unexpectedly stepping off a curb in the dark. A second type of step and fall occurs when one steps forward or down, and either the inside or outside of the foot lands on an object higher than the other side. The ankle turns, and one tends to fall forward and sideways. Changes in elevation may be unavoidable, but there are some simple ways to reduce accidents caused by these hazards:

  • Watch for bumps, potholes, sidewalk cracks or changes in elevation
  • If you identify a problem area on campus, report it to the Department of Facility Services

Climbing or Descending Stairways

Nearly half of all falls occur on stairs. Keeping stairs in good repair is essential to preventing accidents. Make sure that stairways have secure handrails and guardrails, even surfaces, even tread heights and are free of deteriorating coverings such as frayed carpet.

To prevent an accident, awareness and prevention is key. Here are some simple ways to prevent a fall incident on stairways:

  • Whether going up or down stairs, always use the handrail
  • Make sure stairways are well lit, with on/off switches at the top and bottom
  • Make sure stairways are clear of any obstacles
  • If you are wearing footwear such as high heels or sandals, use extra caution while going up and down
  • If throw rugs are positioned at the top or bottom of stairways, make sure they are secured with a skid-resistant backing
  • Routinely check stairs for loose or worn carpeting
  • Report outdoor stairways if you notice ice, snow or water accumulation
  • When carrying objects up and down steps, be sure you are able to see where you are stepping and hold onto the handrail if possible

The chance of fall accidents in stairways increases with inattention, illness, fatigue and haste. Take care when ascending and descending stairways.

Housekeeping Issues in Working and Walking Areas

Proper housekeeping in work and walking areas can contribute to safety and the prevention of falls. Not only is it important to maintain a safe working environment and walking surface, these areas must also be kept free of obstacles which can cause slips and trips. Obstacles could include clutter, obstructions across hallways and material stacked or dumped in passageways, etc.

Avoid stringing cords or lines across hallways or in any walkway. If it is necessary to do so, it should be on a temporary basis (i.e., power cords, telephone lines, etc.) and, then the item should be taped down, run overhead or a ramp should run over any cords and hoses.

Regular frequent inspections of working and walking areas should be conducted to identify environmental and equipment hazards which could cause slips, trips and falls.

Supervisor’s Safety Information

Chapter XII. The Safety Program

The responsibility for the health and safety of assigned employees is primarily vested in the supervisor. Supervisors play a critical role in ensuring understanding of safety practices, and providing incentive to do things right.

Every Wisconsin State Agency has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for its employees according to Wisconsin State Statute 101.055. In addition, each agency is required by Governor Thompson’s Executive Order #194 to develop and implement a written comprehensive health and safety program to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illness. A copy of Executive Order #194, can be found on page 7 of Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors.

Supervisors have an affirmative responsibility to set up and maintain a safety program. The key principles include: personal protection, the work environment, proper equipment maintenance, safety education, departmental supervision and control, records, inspections, investigations and analysis.

The UWM Department of University Safety and Assurances (x6339) is available for consultation in any of these areas. Also check the US&A home page for detailed safety guidance. In addition, two valuable resources to assist you in developing your written safety program are A Guide to Developing Your Written Health and Safety Program, and Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors. These are published by the Wisconsin Bureau of State Risk Management, and are available from the Department of University Safety & Assurances.

The supervisor must continually review safety measures for their relationship to the physical well being of every student, visitor, and employee on the campus. The following is a list of some of the principle responsibilities that supervisors have in the area of health and safety for all employees under his or her supervision.

The following is a list of some of the principle responsibilities that supervisors have in the area of health and safety:

  1. Development of Proper Attitudes
    • The supervisor is responsible for the development of the proper attitude toward health and safety in all workers under his/her supervision. There is no single way to develop such an attitude. However, the following two activities will help promote the development of a positive attitude:Personal Example – the supervisor must set the proper example by his/her personal behavior. When a work area or situation requires personal protective apparel, the supervisor must also use the necessary apparel. In addition, the supervisor must never act unsafely or violate a safety rule or an established safe work practice.Acceptance of Responsibilities – the supervisor can best convince other employees of the importance of health and safety issues by carrying out his/her safety responsibilities conscientiously and with conviction.
  2. Knowledge of Safe Work Procedures
    • The supervisor is responsible for knowing the safe work procedures that must be used to perform each job task. It is also his/her responsibility to know what personal protective equipment is needed for each task and how this equipment must be properly used and maintained.
  3. Orientation and Training of Employees
    • It is the supervisor’s responsibility to train and instruct employees so they can perform their work safely. This includes the proper use of machinery, hand tools, and the use of chemicals and other hazardous materials. The supervisor should also stress the importance of proper body mechanics and lifting techniques to prevent back and other related injuries. Special attention and instruction should be given to new employees or employees who have been recently assigned to a new job. All training provided by the supervisor should be documented. A comprehensive list of required or recommended health and safety training programs is found on page 121 of Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors.
  4. Detection Of Employee Personal Difficulties
    • The supervisor should make every reasonable effort to observe each worker under his/her supervision some time during each workday. It is the supervisor’s responsibility (within reasonable limits) to detect personal difficulties such as illness or disability among his/her workers. When such conditions are detected, proper action should be taken.
  5. Enforcement of Safe Practices and Regulations
    • It is the supervisor’s responsibilities to enforce safe work practices and procedures. Failure to do so invites in an increase in unsafe acts and conditions.
  6. Conducting Planned Observations
    • The supervisor should conduct planned observations of his/her employees for the purpose of insuring compliance with safe work procedures. Whenever unsafe acts are observed, the supervisor should inform the worker immediately and explain why the act was unsafe. Depending upon the circumstance, disciplinary action may be warranted.
  7. Prevention of Unsafe Conditions
    • Many unsafe conditions are the result of what employees do or fail to do properly. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to train and periodically remind employees of what conditions to look for, and how to correct or report these conditions.
  8. Conducting Planned Safety Inspections
    • The supervisor should conduct periodic inspections of tools, vehicles, machinery and assigned work areas. Planned inspections are an effective and systematic method of discovering physical conditions that could contribute to a work injury. A good safety checklist for DIHLR compliance is found on page 57 of Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors.
  9. Conducting Safety Meetings
    • The supervisor should periodically conduct safety meetings to help increase safety awareness and keep employees informed about their organizations health and safety programs. Safety meetings should be kept short and cover relevant topics such as recent job accidents or specific job hazards.
  10. Correcting Unsafe Conditions
    • The supervisor should take immediate steps to correct unsafe conditions within his/her authority and ability. When an unsafe condition cannot be immediately corrected, the supervisor should take temporary precautionary measure. A follow-up system should also be used to ensure that corrective measures are completed in a timely fashion.
  11. Investigating Unsafe Conditions
    • The supervisor is responsible for conducting accident investigations as soon after the accident as possible. All the facts and opinions regarding the causes of the accident should be compiled and documented.
  12. You are also responsible for becoming familiar with Worker’s Compensation so you can advise your employees regarding their rights. Contact the Workers Compensation office at 229-5652 for additional information. You should also become familiar with campus procedures regarding accident reporting, payment of claims, and form completion. Contact the UWM Risk Manager at x6374 for additional information.

Telecommuting Safety

Ergonomics for Telecommuters

Applying Ergonomics While Working From Home

Telecommuting Safety Checklist

Welding, Torching and Brazing Safety (Hot Work)



Welding, torching and brazing are a common activity in UWM maintenance activities, shops and instructional areas.

Supervisors and instructors must ensure all equipment is code-compliant, in safe working order and that users are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.

Please direct any questions regarding safety procedures to your supervisor or instructor or the Department of University Safety and Assurances.

General Rules for Welding at UWM Include:

  • There are specific fire safety requirements for welding, torching and other “hot work” at UWM. These requirements are outlined in the HOT WORK written program/Standard Operating Procedure UWM Hot Work Written Program Template – Oct 2019 . The document is a template to be used for adoption by departments that perform hot work operations.  For additional information please see the following link or call University Safety and Assurances (x6339): Fire Safety
  • Know the hazards of the material(s) you are working with. Contact your supervisor or instructor for Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Please contact the Department of University Safety and Assurances (x6339) for air monitoring / exposure evaluation to welding fume.
  • Precautions such as isolating welding and cutting, removing fire hazards and combustibles and providing a fire watch for fire prevention shall be taken in areas where welding or other “hot work” is performed.
  • A “fire watch” shall be provided during the work and maintained for at least 30 minutes after welding, torching or other “hot work” has been completed. The “fire watch” is responsible for monitoring the entire operation to ensure that a fire is not started and to quickly extinguish any small fires that may ignite.
  • A fire extinguisher must be located adjacent to the activity and should be immediately available to the fire watch. The individual assigned to fire watch duties should not have other functions to perform and should maintain a constant vigilance over the operation.
  • Eye protection shall be worn. Other persons adjacent to the welding area shall be protected by noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields and shall wear appropriate eye protection.
  • In shops, studios and laboratories, use the exhaust ventilation such as snorkel hoods and capture hoods to minimize your exposure to welding fume. Contact your supervisor or instructor for instructions on the proper use and limitations of this safety equipment.

Other Resources:

Food Service Guidelines / Swimming Pool Operation and Sanitation

UWM Dining Services:

Questions, comments, or concerns regarding food safety and sanitation at UWM food service outlets should be addressed to UWM Restaurant Operations. The Department of University Safety & Assurances does not regulate UWM Restaurant Operations’ food service operations. Rather, this is accomplished by the City of Milwaukee Health Department- Consumer Environmental Health (agent of DATCP).

Applicable Regulations: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection [DATCP] Food Code (ATCP 75).


According to the UWM Policy on Catering for Campus Events (“Selected Academic and Administrative Policies”, #S-10.25 dated February 5, 1998) all food served on campus at events sponsored by university offices or departments must be stored, prepared, served and disposed of in accordance with health and safety standards established by the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin.

Catering for events held on University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee controlled-property is available through UWM Dining Services.

Outside caterers may be used if:

  • They are appropriately licensed by all applicable governmental authorities (e.g., City of Milwaukee or other DATCP agent-health department);
  • They are able to provide a “Certificate of Insurance” that meets all UW-System insurance requirements;
  • State purchasing guidelines are followed if university funds are being used;
  • UWM guidelines for service of alcoholic beverages are strictly followed; and,
  • The university sponsor makes arrangements for safe and sanitary disposal of food refuse.
  • Please keep in mind that home-cooked foods are prohibited; all foods must be from a licensed caterer/restaurant.

The current list of Approved Caterers is available on the Purchasing Office website.

Temporary Food Stands:

  • Student organizations wishing to set up a temporary food stand or food sale in areas other than the UWM Union, should contact the Student Involvement Office (414-229-5780). Student Involvement and Union Event Services have specific guidelines regarding health and safety standards and these guidelines are attached to each permit issued to a student organization.
  • Outside organizations using UWM facilities are limited in regard to the type and extent of food service which they may provide. In general, food service will be limited to pre-packaged non-perishable items (e.g., candy bars, canned soda, etc.) or as stipulated by the City of Milwaukee Health Department document Temporary Food Establishments. The sale of home-cooked foods is prohibited.
  • Departments and student organizations must complete the Grilling or Other Outdoor Fires Approval form and be approved before the use of fire or barbeque grills on UWM property, per UW System Policy 18.10(4)
  • Single day food sales to be held in the UWM Union must be coordinated through the Union Event Services (414-229-4828).

Klotsche Center Swimming Pools:

Questions, comments or concerns regarding pool safety and sanitation at the UWM Klotsche Center and Pavilion Pools should be addressed to the Department of Recreational Sports and Facilities. The Department of University Safety & Assurances does not regulate UWM swimming pool operations. Rather, this is accomplished by the City of Milwaukee Health Department an agent of Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Applicable Regulations:

Foodborne and Waterborne Disease Outbreak Contingency Plan:

Food or waterborne disease investigations are performed by the City of Milwaukee Health Department- Consumer Environmental Health.


What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment.  These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, chemicals and do not conduct electricity.  Asbestos was widely used in building materials during 1890s-1980s.

  • Friable Asbestos:  Can easily be turned into a dust with finger pressure.
  • Non-Friable Asbestos:  Material that contains more than 1% asbestos, but cannot be pulverized under hand pressure.

Unauthorized persons are prohibited by law from disturbing asbestos containing materials (ACM). All asbestos waste generated on campus must be properly contained, labeled and disposed at a licensed landfill.

Where is Asbestos at UWM?

In general, any building constructed before 1980 may have asbestos containing materials in them.  Facility Services maintains an inventory of asbestos containing building materials.

Some common Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) include:

  • Thermal System Insulation (TSI) (e.g., pipe insulation)
  • Surfacing material on walls or ceilings
  • Textured surfacing material
  • Acoustical material
  • Transite panels (e.g., garage door panels, fume hood walls, fire walls, etc.)
  • Electrical insulation
  • Fire-proofing material
  • Fire-protective clothing
  • Fire-rated asbestos core doors
  • Fire-stop material and fire-resistant drywall
  • Thermal laboratory gloves and clothing
  • Floor tile (especially 9-inch tile) and tile mastic
  • Vinyl sheet flooring
  • Personal hair dryers (insulating material)
  • Heating pads
  • Siding, Roofing Paper, Shingles and Adhesives
  • Theatrical lamps (insulation)
  • Theatrical (fire) curtains
  • Brake pads / Clutch disks
  • Roofing shingles and adhesives
  • Some varieties of ceiling tile
  • Some plasters
  • Some cements
  • Some spackling compounds
  • Asbestos cement pipe

Why is Asbestos a Hazard?

Studies have shown that individuals exposed to asbestos fibers over a long period of time may develop:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma – cancer of the lining of the chest cavity or abdominal cavity

When asbestos is disturbed and fibers are released into the air, those fibers can enter the body through ingestion or inhalation.  People most at risk are maintenance and construction workers who work on and disturb asbestos in buildings.  Symptoms of asbestos exposure do not appear for 20+ years after the initial exposure.  Smoking and asbestos exposure can increase the risk of asbestos-related diseases up to 90%.

How to Avoid Asbestos Exposure:

  • Never drill, hammer, cut, saw, break, move, disturb or poke any asbestos containing materials (or suspect).
  • Broken and fallen ceiling tiles should be left in place until identified.
  • Broken and damages asbestos floor tiles should be reported to Facility Services.  Do not remove yourself.
  • Waste/debris/dust in an area containing accessible ACM, should not be dusted or swept dry, or vacuumed without using a HEPA filter.  Contact your supervisor if you think you see deteriorated asbestos.

What if Asbestos Fibers are Released Accidentally?

  • Clear the Area
    • Notify all the people in the immediate area
  • Close-off access to the room immediately
  • Contact your supervisor immediately
  • Fill out an “Accident Report”
  • Notify University Safety and Assurances immediately (x6339)

All asbestos related work (removal, encapsulation, etc.) must be performed by authorized asbestos abatement contractors coordinated by Facility Services.

DNR Asbestos Removal and Notification