University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Article 19 Occupational Safety and Health

Section 1. General Policy.

It shall be the policy of the Employer that the occupational safety and health of its employees, the protection of work areas, and the prevention of accidents are continuing and integral parts of its everyday operating responsibility. The employees shall have the responsibility to use all provided safety equipment and procedures in their daily work and shall cooperate in all safety and accident prevention programs. Employees and the Union may exercise all their legal rights to secure a safe and healthful work place without threats, loss of pay, or other reprisals of any kind. The Employer agrees to abide by all relevant required local, state, and federal safety and health standards, and to keep employees informed of hazardous substances, harmful physical agents and infectious agents as required by the Minnesota Employees Right‑to‑Know Act (MERTKA).

Section 2. School of Dentistry, Boynton Health Service, and CUHCC Safety Committee.

There shall be a Safety Committee composed of Employer and employee representatives in each Administrative Unit. A minimum of one (1) employee representative shall be selected by the Union from employees in each Administrative Unit. The Safety Committee Chairperson shall be designated by the head of the Administrative Unit. The function of each Safety Committee will be to review reports of unsafe equipment and job conditions submitted to it by bargaining unit employees, to provide support for a strong safety program, and to review and recommend safety policies to the Employer. The Employer and/or the Union may bring persons with special knowledge of issues being discussed to meetings on those issues. All Safety Committee meetings shall be held during normal day shift working hours on the Employer's premises and without loss of pay. Regular meetings of each Safety Committee shall be convened by the Union at least quarterly. Additional meetings of either Safety Committee may be called by the Chairperson or by a majority of that Committee as the need may arise.

Section 3. Committee Recommendations.

The Safety Committee shall have the power to make recommendations to the heads of their respective Administrative Unit on matters affecting the safety of bargaining unit personnel. Such recommendations may include majority and minority reports. Where a work location has no Safety Committee, the designated Union Steward shall address such safety concerns to the head of the Administrative Unit.

Section 4. Employee Safety.

  1. All reports of unsafe equipment or job conditions shall be brought to the attention of the immediate supervisor by filling the Unusual Incident Report. Should the reported unsafe equipment or job condition not be corrected or be in the process of being corrected within fourteen (14) calendar days, the equipment or job condition shall be brought to the attention of the Safety Committee by the bargaining unit employee.
  2. Any protective equipment or clothing, e.g., adequate eye protection, adequate head protection, safety vest, welding gloves and aprons, etc., required to be worn as a condition of employment by the Employer or OSHA shall be provided and maintained by the Employer.
  3. All employees who are injured or who are involved in an accident while performing the duties of the assigned job shall file an incident report on forms furnished by the Employer. All such injuries shall be reported to the employee's immediate supervisor any necessary immediate medical attention shall be arranged, without loss of pay for the employee. The Employer shall provide assistance to the employees, when requested, in filling out all necessary Worker's Compensation forms.
  4. When the Employer suspects that the health of an employee at work could endanger other employees, patients, or the employee himself/herself, the Employer may require the employee to acquire a work clearance from the appropriate Employee Health Service at no cost to the employee. (A copy of the medical report shall be furnished to the employee and the Employer).

Section 5. Safety Inspections.

Safety Committee members may conduct inspections for the purpose of making recommendations with respect to the safety of employees with prior approval of the employee's supervisor to spend work time in this manner. However, such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. This shall include the ability for the full committee or a subcommittee to inspect equipment and recommend whether it is safe for continued use. In areas which do not have a Safety Committee, inspections may be made by a designated Union Steward or Business Representative. Such inspection shall be coordinated with the supervisor of the area inspected, and will be conducted by a subcommittee consisting of one (1) representative of the Union and one (1) representative of the Employer.

Section 6. Building Safety.

Fire and disaster plans shall be developed by the Employer and summaries of the plans will be posted on appropriate employee bulletin boards. Copies of the plans will be available in appropriate departmental offices for employee inspection. The Union Business Representative and/or Union members of the Safety Committees shall be allowed to inspect the fire and disaster plans. A copy of the summaries posted on employee bulletin boards will be furnished to members of the appropriate Safety Committees. No employee shall be required to participate in any search for an explosive or incendiary device against his/her will, nor suffer any loss of pay because of any building evacuation in an emergency situation.

Section 7. Safety Committee Communications.

The Employer and the Union agree to keep each other informed at all times of the identity of their representatives on the Safety Committees. For purposes of calling special meetings members may be polled individually.

Section 8. Safety Measures.

Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as a limitation on the right of management to engage in such activities it deems necessary in the furtherance of safety.

Section 9. Occupational Safety and Health Guidelines.

The Employer agrees to compile, publish and disseminate certain procedural guidelines for distribution to employees in each work area. Such guidelines shall identify the various types of hazards potentially encountered in the several work areas, and, insofar as possible, identify the necessary precautions to be taken with respect to such hazards. Special concerns of bargaining unit employees which shall be addressed include ethylene oxide, chemotherapeutic agents, infectious agents, exposure to radiation from any of its various sources, investigational drugs, anti-biological agents and asbestos. Any other items deemed appropriate by the Employer or the Safety Committee shall also be included. These guidelines shall provide concise instructions on how to obtain specific detailed information on each of the identified workplace hazards and on whom to call for immediate concerns of emergency situations which might arise, for example, from accidental spills of hazardous chemical or other agents. The guidelines shall describe briefly the types of precautionary measures available to employees and occasionally required. The guidelines shall introduce the employees to the Minnesota Employee Right‑to‑Know Act and apprise them of available training and information to which they are entitled thereunder. The guidelines shall also note the function of the Safety Committee and shall refer employees to Human Resources to identify the members, their work locations and phone numbers. Such guidelines shall be available to all employees through their supervisors and given to new employees at the time of hire. The content of the guidelines which will be distributed to work areas with bargaining unit employees shall be reviewed and approved by the Safety Committee prior to publication. These guidelines shall be ready for submission to the Safety Committee for approval six (6) months after the effective date of this Agreement. Final approval shall be the responsibility of the Employer.

Any employee who is pregnant or is trying to become pregnant may request from her supervisor or the Employee Health Service the most current information on infectious agent danger as indicated in Policy 33.16. Additionally, the supervisor shall provide the employee with a copy of a joint letter indicating the concern of the Union and the Employer for her health and safety during pregnancy. The letter shall include an explanation of the employee's right to consult with the University's Environmental Health and Safety Department to receive information regarding any workplace hazards during pregnancy. The information being provided to employees by Environmental Health and Safety shall be reviewed by the Health and Safety Committee. In addition, the Employer agrees to notify all current employees of the availability of this information.

Section 10. Medically Necessary Work Restrictions.

A. Employees with Work Restrictions.

The Employer and the Union agree that it is the responsibility of the Employer find alternative work or restructure a position for an employee with medically necessary work restrictions.

The Employer may consider the following options when an employee presents a statement from his/her medical practitioner substantiating the need for medically necessary work restrictions.

  1. Evaluation of the medically necessary work restriction(s) to determine necessary job restructuring and/or assignment;
  2. Temporary reassignment for a maximum of thirty‑five (35) calendar days. If the Employer has not determined its ability to make reasonable accommodations within the thirty‑five (35) calendar days, the temporary reassignment may be extended;
  3. Restructuring of the employee's current position or an alternate position;
  4. Assignment of the employee to a vacant position with the agreement of the Union and the Employer to waive the posting. This list of options shall not be considered exhaustive. The employee has the right to Union representation throughout this process.

B. Exposure to Workplace Hazards.

Any employee who presents a statement from his/her medical practitioner substantiating the need to limit or eliminate exposure of that employee to specific work place hazards shall be immediately temporarily reassigned for a minimum of twenty‑one (21) calendar days. During the temporary reassignment, the employee and the Employer shall attempt to find an appropriate reassignment, or shall restructure the employee's job to accommodate the medical needs considering all the options in Section A.