Skip to content

Occupational Safety

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center provides services intended to promote health and safety. We offer a variety of services in the areas of Biological, Chemical, Occupational and Radiation safety, and select Environmental programs. Some of the direct services that we offer include chemical and radiation exposure monitoring, worksite hazard evaluations, workplace safety surveys, safety equipment selection, safety program reviews, safety training, and disposal of hazardous chemical, radioactive and infectious waste. Consultative services include regulatory compliance assistance programs to address OSHA and EPA-related responsibilities within health care, research, academic, facility and service environments.

The Institutional Campus Safety Office provides overall Occupational Safety services to a broad range of occupations on campus.  Its focus is on people and how they interact within their workplace in regard to occupational safety and health.  Its programs and services are designed to evaluate job hazards and help individuals and departments reduce or eliminate these hazards and comply with state and federal occupational safety and health regulations.

Information Contacts

Campus Occupational Safety
Scott Campbell, 901-448-1334

Campus Fire Safety
Scott Adams, 901-448-5619

Campus Environmental Safety
Sharon Anderson, 901-448-6115

Department of Research Safety 

University Health (Occupational Health)


All on-the-job accidents should be reported in 48 hours or less to the employee’s supervisor. A worker’s compensation claim must be completed and submitted to the Risk Management Office (974-5409).

Tips for handling injuries include:

Report all injuries, even if medical attention is not needed.

General Liability

Immediately complete Incident Report Form and report to the campus Risk Management liaison or designated campus/unit “claims” office. This form is available from the campus/unit business office or from the Office of Risk Management's website.

Professional Liability

Report any potential claim to Risk Management and/or the General Counsel’s Office. Also complete an Incident Report Form, except for medical claims.

Automobile Liability

Refer to the Driver’s Reference Manual provided by Transportation Service and the instruction packet located in the glove box of the University vehicle.

Any accident or occurrence that may produce a claim in any area above must be reported (Driver’s Report of Vehicle Accident Form) immediately, and no admission of fault or responsibility should be made.

Workers Compensation Claims

  1. Report the accident/injury to your supervisor immediately.
  2. In a medical emergency that is life-threatening or results in serious bodily injury, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Your supervisor or a family member should call the CorVel 24-hour nurse line at 1-866-245-8588 to report the incident.
  3. For non-emergency injuries, you and your supervisor will call the CorVel 24-hour nurse line at 1-866-245-8588. The nurse will determine if your injury will require self-care, or urgent care and provide you with the nearest authorized medical provider.
  4. If the injury only requires self-care, this would be an incident only claim and no further action would be needed with CorVel.
  5. When medical treatment is needed, your supervisor will make a follow-up phone call to CorVel and select option 2 to complete the First Notice of Loss, and you will then be assigned a claims representative who will be in contact with you to answer questions, pay bills, and help you return safely to work.  Failure of the supervisor to call CorVel and complete the First Notice of Loss will result in the department being fined by the State.
  6. On the Risk Management website, there are links to the “Incident Report,”“Lost Time/Return to Work Calendar,” and “Employee and Supervisor Instructions” forms. These need to be completed by you and your supervisor. Once completed, please forward the forms to your campus HR/WC representative. They will review and forward to the Office of Risk Management.

A link to The university of Tennessee Policy HR0397 – Workers Compensation can be found here.


Fire is one of the most likely emergencies to occur in a building. Everyone should be familiar with fire response procedures and know the sound of the fire alarm. In the event the fire alarm activates:

  • Leave the building and close doors on your way out.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Meet for a head count at a pre-determined location at least 200 feet away from the building.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the fire department or police makes the all-clear announcement.
  • For information on conducting a fire drill, contact Scott Adams at 901-448-5619.

For information on evacuations, assembly points, etc., refer to your Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP) or contact Campus Safety at 901-448-1334.

Fire Extinguisher Use
The university has approximately 2,000 portable fire extinguishers on campus. The vast majority are effective against all three major classes of fires. Never attempt to use a fire extinguisher in situations where your safety could be endangered.

RACE is an acronym you can remember during a fire emergency:

  • Rescue/remove anyone in immediate danger.
  • Activate the manual fire alarm,
  • Confine the fire (close the door).
  • Extinguish small controllable fires/or evacuate. 

PASS is a simple acronym you can remember to use an extinguisher:

  • Pull and remove the pin located at the top of the extinguisher.
  • Aim the discharge nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the top handle of the extinguisher. The extinguishing agent will flow from the nozzle at this point.
  • Sweep the discharge from side to side across the fire.

You can get training for fire extinguisher use by contacting Campus Safety.

Fire Safety Log
The US Department of Education requires each institution of higher education to keep a log of fires that occur in residential occupancies, such as dorms and fraternities. False alarms are not included in the tally. The UTHSC fire safety log is updated within 48 hours of a fire. There is currently only one fraternity and no residences on UTHSC Campus.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is unwanted or discarded hazardous materials that may harm the health or well-being of people or the environment. The basic waste types are:

  • Chemical
  • Radioactive
  • Biohazardous

Whenever possible keep these types of waste separate from each other. Disposal of mixtures of these is difficult and expensive. Also, to help minimize hazardous waste generation—be sure to keep your hazardous wastes separated from normal non-hazardous wastes as much as possible.

Any hazardous waste that needs to be identified, or removed can be done by contacting:

  • Environmental Safety: Sharon Andersen – 901-448-6115

Any biological wastes that needs to be addressed can be done by contacting:

  • Research Safety - 901-448-7374

What is chemical waste?

Chemical waste is any waste that is toxic, corrosive, ignitable or otherwise listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes laboratory chemicals, cleaning products, paint, copier toner, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, electronic devices, photographic and shop chemicals. If you are unsure whether the waste you generate is hazardous, please contact Campus Safety.

Certain expired and unusable chemicals are hazardous waste and subject to regulations. Watch for expiration dates on containers of peroxide-forming chemicals including ethers.

What about radioactive waste?

If your waste has a radioactive component, please visit Research Safety's training page for assistance and required training. 

Campus Safety

Use of chemicals and hazardous materials on UTHSC is overseen by the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management specialist under Campus Safety, and in support of the Research Safety department.

The Hazardous Materials and Waste Management section serves the UTHSC campus community through the education, minimization, and appropriate disposal of hazardous materials.

In addition, this section manages the disposal of certified non-biohazardous wastes; manages a campus lamp and battery recycling program (Universal Wastes); and responds to spills of hazardous materials. Other services that are provided include guidance on equipment disposal/remediation and pollution prevention and spill prevention.

Valuable, detailed guidelines pertaining to laboratory-worker health and safety practices and the management of hazardous wastes can be found in the Generators’ Guide to Hazardous Waste. 

Research Safety Department

Research Safety works closely with the Hazmat section to help keep laboratories and other areas of campus that utilize hazardous materials safe and compliant.  In regards to hazardous materials and waste management, the Research Safety provides hazardous materials and waste management training; lab safety trainings; chemical safety inspections; and maintenance of the chemical inventory system. 

Research Safety also manages the Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) program, through the Institutional Biological Safety Officer. Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) is material that may be contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, or other infectious materials. RMW may also be referred to as “biohazardous” or “infectious waste." RMW must be properly handled and disposed of in order to minimize the risk of transmitting infection or endangering human health. RMW that contains Bio Safety Level 2 organisms must be autoclaved or otherwise decontaminated prior to disposal.

RMW must be collected in rigid containers lined with red bags imprinted with the infectious waste biohazard symbol.  Any sharps or materials contaminated with infectious agents that may puncture a red bag must be deposited in a sharps disposal container. 

Consult the University’s Regulated Medical Waste Policy and Biological Safety Manual for specific information regarding management of biological agents and RMW. 

For more information, visit the Research Safety page.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are documents which provide detailed information for hazards associated with a specific chemical or chemical mixture, and are required by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The standard requires chemical manufacturers to provide SDS for all of their chemicals, and you are required to have immediate access to the SDS for the chemicals in use where you work.

Every chemical must have a Safety Data Sheets (SDS). In fact, a sheet must be provided to an employee when requested during a shift. All employees who work with hazardous substances must be able to locate an SDS. These sheets may be found: online using a common search engine, in the department’s files, or by contacting Environmental Health and Safety.

One convenient place to search for SDS is the MSDS website or any of the following:

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) sources

Google SDS Search

A customized Google search focusing on returning Safety Data Sheets using your search terms.

Chemical Health and Safety Information


PubChem includes substance information, compound structures, and BioActivity data in three primary databases, Pcsubstance, Pccompound, and PCBioAssay, respectively.


ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database providing fast text and structure search access to over 34 million structures from hundreds of data sources. Watch the introduction video.

National Library of Medicine ChemIDplus

TOXNET® (TOXicology Data NETwork) is a group of databases covering chemicals and drugs, diseases and the environment, environmental health, occupational safety and health, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and toxicology.

All staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to report safety hazards and near misses.

Contact a supervisor, department head, the Campus Safety, or another individual who can address the situation. If the hazard can be quickly and safely eliminated, please take immediate action. Warn others in the area if the hazard can’t be mitigated.

A near miss is sometimes called a “close call.” These events are often ignored since personal injuries or property damage do not occur, or they are minimal. However, these incidents should be treated similar to a hazard and reported in a similar manner.

You can report any hazards lab safety concerns by calling or emailing:

Campus Safety (Occupational Safety, Fire Safety, Environmental Safety)

  • Director: Scott Campbell – 901-448-1334
  • Fire Safety: Scott Adams – 901-448-5619
  • Environmental Safety: Sharon Andersen – 901-448-6115
  • Campus Safety Email:
  • Fire Safety Email:
  • Environmental Safety:

Research Safety (Lab Safety, Radiation Safety, Bio Safety):

  • Director: Tim Barton - 901-448-7374
  • Biological Safety Officer:
  • Radiation Safety: Scott Rone – 901-448 -5223
  • Lab safety Email:
  • Radiation Safety Email:
Safety Manuals

The campus safety manual contains dozens of policies, procedures, and written plans. Some are required by regulations while others serve as guidance documents. If you have questions regarding any safety policy, procedure, or plan, contact the Environmental Health and Safety Department. The main sections of the manual are:

  • General Safety
  • Hazardous Materials Management
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Fire Safety
  • Emergency Management

The manual can be found within UTHSC's Policy Document Center.

Safety Training

Training is an important part of every employee’s job and is required by regulation in some cases. Options for safety training include:

  • A department or employee supervisor
  • The Environmental Health and Safety Department
  • Using Skillsoft, which contains approximately 35 courses in safety
Utility outages do not necessarily represent an emergency that threatens life, but they can cause work disruptions, expensive damage, safety concerns and, can escalate to full-blown emergencies. 

All utility outages can be reported to Campus Facilities Services at 901-448-5661

Examples of Utility Outages:

  • Electric
  • Water
  • Telephone
  • Steam or Gas
  • Electric or chilled water

Safety Issues

Look and report any safety issue caused by, or likely to result from, the outage or continuing operations under current conditions. Some examples are:

Power outage: Look for safety equipment dependent on power and cease operations if necessary. Examples are:

  • Fume hoods in labs
  • Dust evacuation systems
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Alarm activation
  • Elevator failure
      • Passengers should use the emergency phone in the elevator. If necessary, call UTHSC PD or 901-448-4444.
      • Do not attempt to rescue passengers stuck in the elevator.
      • Establish and maintain communications with other passengers.


  • Stop using all electrical equipment
  • Look for slip hazards

Gas Leak:

  • Cease all operations
  • Do not use light switches
  • Evacuate as soon as possible

Last Published: Sep 19, 2017