Safety Policy

Policy Statement

The safety of every employee, patient, student, visitor, and the environment is a primary consideration in Duke University and Duke University Health System's continuous, measurable efforts to eliminate or reduce conditions and behaviors that could result in injuries or illnesses. The University and Health System are committed to the principle that such a safety culture will help maintain employee health, increase productivity, minimize lost work time, and reduce costs.

Policy Details

Manager Responsibilities

All members of the Duke University and Duke University Health System management team are responsible for promoting and managing the safety of their employees and their work environment. Managers must implement and ensure compliance with appropriate University/Health System and department-specific safety policies and procedures and hold their staff accountable for adhering to safety standards.

Managers also must report failures to follow safety standards by others outside of their departments and take immediate actions to implement controls for situations that are clearly unsafe.

Managers and supervisors must lead and/or participate in proactive programs and audits of their work areas to ensure that safety issues or concerns are identified and resolved. They must ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken in a timely and appropriate manner, including employee discipline for safety rule violations.

Staff Responsibilities

All staff are required to adhere to and comply with University/Health System and department-specific safety policies and training requirements, to be aware of and identify safety issues, and to report all incidents and safety concerns on a timely basis. All staff must bring conditions, behaviors, or practices that create risks for themselves, patients, students, visitors, or the environment to the attention of their supervisors. Staff suggestions and participation in the resolution of such risks are highly encouraged.


The Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) will develop and assist in implementing Duke University and Duke University Health System guidelines and standards, ensuring that they are compatible with existing external agency rules, regulations, and safety best practices. In addition, OESO will provide guidance and technical assistance in identifying, investigating, and improving Duke's safety culture to reduce frequency and overall workers’ compensation costs.

OESO will lead the development of safety culture metrics, receive those metrics from every University or Health System department/facility, and periodically report how well the Duke management team is performing the essential functions that create and sustain a continuously improving safety culture.

  • Online Safety Training
    OESO provides on-line training modules that include all safety compliance topics for new hires and ongoing safety renewal requirements for Duke staff.

Corrective Action

Failure to comply with safety policies and training requirements, inattentiveness in identifying and appropriately responding to a situation that is clearly unsafe, and/or failure to timely report safety concerns and incidents, may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Duke strives to provide safe work and a safe work environment for all staff. All staff and supervisors have primary responsibility for safety in their work area. Staff should discuss safety concerns with their supervisor. Comprehensive safety services, including biologic, building, ergonomic, chemical, fire and radiation are available through the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office. Staff are expected to report safety concerns to their supervisor when they are discovered.

Policy Number: 10.01


Workplace Health & Safety Policy