Health and Safety Programs

Automated External Defibrillator

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) increase the survival chances of individuals in the Northern Illinois University community who experience sudden cardiac arrest. The Environmental Health and Safety Department coordinates the AED program for the university. This program provides guidance for the selection, placement, use and maintenance of AEDs used in NIU facilities, vehicles and public areas.

Automated External Defibrillator Program

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are those organisms, which are carried in the blood that can cause disease in humans. These organisms include HIV, Hepatitis B and C, malaria and others. All blood is considered infectious and treated as such. Individuals that come in contact with blood need to take special precautions to avoid potentially contracting these diseases.

Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan

Compressed Gas Safety

Compressed gas cylinders are used at Northern Illinois University for academic, research and maintenance purposes. They can present a variety of hazards due to pressure or contents. Improper use, handling, storage or transportation can contribute to physical damage to property, personal injury or death. The Compressed Gas Cylinder Program (PDF) outlines specific procedures for safe handling, use, transportation and storage of compressed gas cylinders on university property under the authority of the NIU Health and Safety Policy

Hazardous Communication (HazCom) training must be completed by new employees prior to the use or transportation of compressed gas cylinders. Facilities personnel may contact Environmental Health and Safety for assistance. Academic personnel should contact the Office of Research Compliance, Integrity and Safety for assistance.

It is also recommended that anyone who transports, stores or uses compressed gas cylinders at NIU receive training in the proper use and handling of compressed gas cylinders. New employees should contact their supervisor for assistance.

Confined Space Program

Many workplaces contain areas that are considered "confined spaces" because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.

OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.

Environmental Health and Safety has developed a program that addresses the confined spaces on our campus.

Emergency Eyewash and Shower Unit Program

The Environmental Health and Safety department at Northern Illinois University has developed the Emergency Eyewash and Shower Unit Program to ensure that safety eyewash and shower units are kept in proper working condition. This program defines emergency eyewash and shower guidelines for inspection, testing and maintenance. Information is provided on areas where eyewashes and showers are required and the eyewash and shower equipment specifications.

The principles of this program are based on 29 CFR 1910.151 and the American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI Z358.1) and all reasonable efforts will be made by the University to meet ANSI’s standards.

At this time this program excludes units in the academic laboratories such as those in chemistry, biology and engineering departments. Please check with the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity, Laboratory Safety, for additional details.

Emergency Eyewash and Shower Unit Program

Fall Protection Program

The Fall Protection Program was developed by the Environmental Health and Safety department at NIU to ensure a safe work environment and to protect the health and safety of NIU faculty and staff.

This fall protection program includes guidelines to be followed whenever an employee works at heights above six feet. These guidelines were established to ensure safety and to maintain compliance with the 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fall protection standards

Fire Safety
  • Review constructions and renovations of buildings on campus for building and fire code compliance.
  • Conduct building inspections with respect to fire prevention regulations.
  • Coordination of testing and maintenance of campus fire protection systems (fire extinguishers, restaurant hoods, sprinkler systems.)
  • Provide training for residence hall personnel.
  • Fire Prevention Program.

Annual Fire Safety Report

For further questions contact Please contact the main office at 815-753-0404 to request a review of the hard copies of the Annual Fire Safety Report and associated Fire Log.

Hot Work Program

Hot Work is defined by OSHA as: "any work that involves burning, welding, using fire or spark-producing tools, or that produces a source of ignition."

The purpose of the Hot Work Program (PDF) is to establish safety procedures for employees, contractors, and subcontractors engaging in any temporary operation involving open flame or producing heat and/or sparks capable of initiating fires or explosions on campus property outside designated shop areas in the Physical Plant Building.

Such operations include, but are not limited to: brazing, grinding, open-flame soldering, oxygen cutting, arc welding/cutting, oxy-fuel gas welding, hot taps, thawing pipes, hot riveting, heat treating, powder-driven fasteners, torch applied roofing and cadwelding.

Hot Work Permit

The Hot Work Permit (PDF) is a system that is intended to assure that the individuals involved in construction, renovation, repairs and maintenance of university facilities are aware of the hazards associated with hot work and welding and that they implement control measures to help mitigate them. The Hot Work Permit is the means by which the departments of Facilities Management, Facilities Planning and Construction and the department of Environmental Health Safety Risk Management Services will be able to keep track of construction activities that involve hot work, and that these activities are being conducted safely. The hot work permit also provides a step-by-step checklist for hot work fire safety and serves as a reminder to contractors and employees of their fire prevention responsibilities before, during and after any hot work is conducted.

Hazard Communication Program

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), also known as the "Right-to-Know" law, implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide information to employees regarding hazardous chemicals in the workplace and the properties of these chemicals. This information must be disseminated through a hazard communication program involving hazard classification, a written hazard communication plan, labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets (SDS), and employee training.

On March 26, 2012, OSHA adopted portions of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) into the HCS with a four-year transition period. The revised HCS provided harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals and requires specific label elements on shipped containers and mandatory 16-section standardized SDSs, formerly known as material safety data sheets (MSDS).

The HCS applies to any hazardous chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use, or in a foreseeable emergency. The definition of a "hazardous chemical" is extremely broad, and includes any chemical which is a physical or a health hazard. The OSHA standard has a procedure for hazard determination and any substance determined to be hazardous under this procedure is subject to the program.


Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) describes how inside air can affect a person's health, comfort, and ability to work. It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals. This program addresses the IAQ concerns that may arise during the operations and work activities of NIU employees and students.

Learn more about the indoor air quality program (PDF)

Indoor Air Quality Questionnaire


What is lockout/tagout, or LOTO or lock and tag? Lockout-tagout is a safety procedure used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. It requires that hazardous energy sources be "isolated and rendered inoperative" before work is started on the equipment in question.

The isolated power sources are then locked and a tag is placed on the lock identifying the worker who has placed it. The worker then holds the key for the lock ensuring that only he or she can start the machine. This prevents the accidental startup of a machine while it is in a hazardous state or while a worker is in direct contact with it.

Environmental Health and Safety has developed a program that addresses issues of lockout/tagout on our campus.

Mobile Elevated Work Platforms Program

Mobile elevated work platforms are used to lift university employees to work at an elevated position. Proper operation of elevated work platforms can make construction, repair, inspection event work at elevation safer and more efficient.

Types of lifts are:

  • Telescoping, such as scissor lifts and vertical man-lifts. The only direction the platform or personnel basket goes is up or down. This type is generally used indoors, but some may be used outdoors such as for athletic events.
  • Articulating. The platform or basket moves up, down and sideways. There may be one or more hinged sections. This type is generally used outdoors but occasionally indoors in large auditoriums.
  • Vehicle-Mounted or Boom-lift Trucks, where the boom and basket are mounted on a vehicle. They sometimes have hinged boom sections and some booms may be insulated against electrical hazards. This type of lift is used outdoors for painting, street or field lighting work, mounting banners, etc.

Mobile elevated work platform operators must receive classroom and hands-on training to receive certification. They also must be familiar with the type of aerial lift they will be using. Certified training is required so to provide a safe working environment for Northern Illinois University employees, contractors, visitors and bystanders, and to comply with OSHA standards. This training covers operation, inspection and maintenance requirements for the safe use of aerial lifts at the University and familiarization with specific types of aerial lifts.

Mobile Elevated Work Platform Program

Powered Industrial Trucks Program

The Powered Industrial Trucks Program applies to all forklifts and other powered industrial trucks being operated by NIU personnel or labor contractors regardless of location. It establishes guidelines to be followed whenever employees or students operate powered industrial trucks at NIU. These guidelines are established in order to:

  • Provide a safe working environment.
  • Govern safe operator use of powered industrial trucks.
  • Ensure proper care and maintenance of powered industrial trucks.

The procedures in this program establish uniform recommendations designed to ensure that powered industrial truck safety training, operation, and maintenance practices are communicated to and understood by the employees involved. These recommendations also are designed to ensure that procedures are in place to safeguard the health and safety of all employees.

Powered Industrial Truck Operator Safety Program

Respiratory Protection

Millions of workers are required to wear respirators in various workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against hazards that may cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. Respirators protect the user in two basic ways. The first is by the removal of contaminants from the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and air-purifying respirators with cartridges/canisters which filter out chemicals and gases. Other respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from another source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.

The NIU Respiratory Protection Program serves as a resource to assist campus departments in keeping employees safe while complying with applicable OSHA requirements.

Respiratory Protection Program

Scaffold and Ladder Safety

The Scaffold and Ladder Safety Program is to establish guidelines for the safe construction and use of scaffolds and ladders by University employees. It requires training in scaffolding safety to ensure that employees erectors and users have a basic understanding of the safe use and potential hazards of scaffold equipment and ladders used by their departments.

Scaffold and Ladder Safety Program
Silica Exposure Control

Many materials found on construction sites include Crystalline Silica; including but not limited to, cement, concrete, asphalt, pre-formed structures (inlets, pipe, etc.) and others. Small particles can become airborne during various work activities including cutting, drilling, chipping, sanding, or grinding of materials that contain crystalline silica.

This program has been developed to address and control the potential exposure of NIU employees, contractors, students, and staff to harmful levels of silica dust.

Silica Exposure Control Plan
For more information contact us at

Contact Us

Environmental Health and Safety
Dorland Building 200

Back to top