Guidance Procedures

We believe that one of the most important aspects of our operations is to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. The following links are university programs and are provided to assist you and your workgroups in working safely at NIU.

If you need further information please contact Scott Mooberry via e-mail or call 815-753-6250.

Contractors and Project Managers

The following items may be printed for your convenience:

For further questions contact ehs@niu.edu.

Ergonomics is a method of fitting a work area to the worker. Its purpose is to reduce the amount of strain put on a body just by using the work area to maximize productive work. This is done by first analyzing the work process then adjusting the work area or station to the proper heights or angles to accomplish the necessary tasks.

Workers whose workstations are poorly matched to them can suffer a wide array of discomforts or even injury depending on the task and physical arrangement of the work area. Neck, back and shoulder strain, visual difficulties, headache, hand, arm, wrist, ankle and foot pain are some potential indicators of a work area in need of ergonomic adjustment. If you find you are experiencing some of these difficulties, discuss it with your supervisor and contact ehs@niu.edu.

We are committed to providing faculty, staff, and students with a work environment free of recognized hazards. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) provides technical support to students, staff and faculty on a variety of EHS issues including indoor air quality (IAQ). Reports of poor indoor air quality are investigated by Environmental Health and Safety on a case-by-case basis. Due to variations in individual sensitivities and scientific limitations, the source of IAQ complaints and respective remediation measures may not always be identified when complaints are reported and thoroughly investigated. The Department of EHS and Facilities Planning and Operations (FPO) work together to address IAQ concerns across campus.

Due to the lack of IAQ regulations, common and industry best practices rather than standards are used to recognize, evaluate, and control poor indoor air quality sources. The Department of EHS refers to guidelines provided by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) during the investigative process.

Four factors that influence IAQ are occupants, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, possible pollutant pathways, and possible contaminant sources. Factors affecting IAQ may include but are not limited to: mold and water damaged building materials, temperature and humidity issues, dust and airborne particulates, Radon, Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOC), Formaldehyde, Hydrogen sulfide (sewer gas), Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, and odors.

Initial IAQ inspections include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Visual inspections of occupied areas.
    • Identify probable source of contaminants (chemical use and storage, work activities, housekeeping, recent renovations, water intrusion, etc.)
  • Inspection of HVAC systems.
    • Measure percentage of fresh air being supplied to the occupied area, location of outdoor air intakes, ventilation rates, and HVAC operation/maintenance.
  • Temperature and relative humidity measurement.
  • Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, and Oxygen measurement.

If poor IAQ is suspected or confirmed upon an initial investigation, EHS may conduct more intensive investigation techniques, including chemical contaminant monitoring, bio-aerosol monitoring, HVAC evaluations, and specific IAQ contaminant monitoring. Unfortunately, there are limitations to conducting IAQ investigations. Individual sensitivities may cause occupants to experience discomfort at contaminant levels far below standards for occupational exposure. Also, mold sampling is limited due to a lack of regulatory standards (affected by individual sensitivities) and can be found in virtually all environments.

The Department of EHS is continuing to develop and expand our Indoor Air Quality Program which will be used to address IAQ investigations, IAQ reports and remedial measures, and the prevention of IAQ problems.

For further questions contact ehs@niu.edu.

Needle Safety is a concern for everyone from the person who needs to inject needed medication to the person who is responsible for final disposal of used needles. For those on campus there is a program in which they can receive a suitable container for their used needles and pick up of full containers. These are then disposed of through the university Biowaste program.

Used Needle Disposal Program

Plastic containers for disposal of used syringes and needles are available, in Environmental Health and Safety, for use by students.

Those students who are diabetic or otherwise using syringes and needles for medical purposes, contact ehs@niu.edu. The needle container and the disposal of full containers are free to students. There are no forms to fill out and no personal information needs to be given to receive the containers.

The purpose of this program is to provide a safe means for the student to dispose of used medical syringes.

For further questions contact ehs@niu.edu.

We are committed to incorporating safety as the number one core value of the university community. View the full Safety and Health Management Plan.

Just as you lay the foundation for a building by placing the forms, setting the rebar, and pouring the footings, you lay the foundation for a safe workplace with a sound safety and health management program. The key elements of an effective safety and health management program include:

  • Management leadership
  • Worker participation
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Education and training
  • Program evaluation and improvement
  • Communication and coordination

Employers are advised and encouraged to institute and maintain in their establishments a program that provides adequate systematic policies, procedures, and practices to protect their employees from, and allow them to recognize, job-related safety and health hazards.

An effective program includes provisions for the systematic identification, evaluation and prevention or control of general workplace hazards, specific job hazards and potential hazards that may arise from foreseeable conditions.

Although compliance with the law, including specific OSHA standards, is an important objective, an effective program looks beyond specific requirements of law to address all hazards. It will seek to prevent injuries and illnesses, whether or not compliance is at issue.

The extent to which the program is described in writing is less important than how effective it is in practice. As the size of a worksite or the complexity of a hazardous operation increases, however, the need for written guidance increases to ensure clear communication of policies and priorities as well as a consistent and fair application of rules.