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Chapter 13: Safety, Health and Worker's Compensation

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The College shares with you the responsibility for promoting a safe workplace by observing occupational health and safety regulations and by practicing safe work habits. If an emergency arises involving the safety or health of a member of the Swarthmore community, please contact the Department of Public Safety immediately.

Federally mandated notices about position safety and health protection are posted for your information at various locations around the College, including the Human Resources Office and Facilities Services.

General Safety Precautions on Campus

Your personal safety is a priority at Swarthmore. Crimes against persons can happen anywhere, anytime. Be cautious when working alone and when moving around the campus, especially after dark.

The College's most commonly reported criminal offense involves property stolen from unsecured places, so general safety precautions are strongly advised: leave expensive or irreplaceable personal items such as heirlooms at home and keep your work area or office secured at all times.

Behaviors that endanger your safety or the safety of others such as neglect, disregard for safety procedures, disorderly or unprofessional conduct, or horseplay are grounds for disciplinary action, including immediate dismissal.


Department of Public Safety

The Swarthmore Department of Public Safety has primary responsibility for the overall security of the campus. It provides 24 hour services for the entire College and it investigates matters that might threaten safety on campus. Security officers will respond to illegal acts committed in the College community, as may officers from the Swarthmore Borough Police. Public Safety supervisors and Borough police have authority to make arrests on campus.

Each year, in accordance with the 1988 College and University Security Information Act, the Department of Public Safety publishes and distributes reports on campus crime statistics. These reports are also available upon request from the director of Public Safety.
Swarthmore has developed a number of programs to help maintain a safe environment, including:


Escort Services

The Department of Public Safety will provide escort services for individuals who need to move around campus, especially after dark. Public Safety is happy to escort you to your car or to another building. For more information about the escort services, call 610-328-8281.


Security Notices

Security Notices: If an incident occurs on campus, alerts and timely warnings are delivered to the community via email. The GARNET emergency alert system is also utilized to keep campus community members informed. Crime statistics are published and distributed on an ongoing basis.


Vehicles on Campus

The roads on the Swarthmore campus are private lanes maintained by the College for the convenience of its employees, students, and visitors. The roads are used for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and for that reason, all vehicles must be operated at or below the posted speed limit of 15 m.p.h. at all times. Applicable Pennsylvania motor vehicle laws are enforced.

All staff, faculty, and students who wish to park at Swarthmore must register their vehicles with Public Safety. This helps manage parking and security, and the identification of vehicles with a legitimate purpose for being on the premises. Possession of a permit allows, but does not guarantee, a parking space. Lack of available or convenient space is not a valid excuse for parking violations. To register a vehicle and receive a parking permit, employees must apply for a placard via MySwarthmore. There is currently not a fee for use of the surface parking lots on campus. Parking permits must be displayed on the rear view mirror of a vehicle.

Vehicles parked on campus without parking permits or otherwise registered vehicles parked in areas for which they are not designated are subject to ticketing and towing. Contested tickets may be appealed through Public Safety.

The College assumes no responsibility for vehicles or their contents while they are operated or parked on College property. When you register your vehicle at Swarthmore or bring a vehicle on the premises, you are subject to the traffic and parking regulations of the College, including traffic fines.



College policy and state law prohibit anyone other than commissioned police officers from carrying a weapon on College premises or while on College business. Unauthorized possession of a weapon on College time or premises is grounds for immediate termination of employment.


Safety in the Workplace

The Environmental Health and Safety Officer is responsible for Swarthmore's compliance with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OHSA). The purpose of OSHA is to protect the health and safety of the Swarthmore community.

Departments whose staff members may be exposed to risks in their positions have departmental policies and procedures regarding safety precautions. If you are exposed to hazardous or infectious materials while at work, you must notify your supervisor immediately. If you become aware of or suspect safety hazards in your work environment, please report these to the Environmental Health and Safety officer.

If you work in an area where you are exposed to hazardous chemicals or other materials or might be exposed in a foreseeable emergency like a leak or spill, you have a right to know and to be trained in compliance with federal and state regulations. Lists of chemicals used are available in your work area and a complete listing is available by contacting the Environmental Health and Safety Officer.

Many positions require that you wear protective clothing or equipment in performing certain duties. You must comply with departmental guidelines for protective gear (e.g., hard hats, goggles, gloves, scrubs). Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. Staff who come in routine direct contact with blood or body fluids are subject to Universal Precaution policies, available in your departmental Offices.


Accidents on the Job: Worker's Compensation Benefits

If you are injured while at work, it is your responsibility to report the injury to your supervisor immediately and to call Public Safety to initiate an incident report and/or medical treatment. Under state law, you may not be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if the illness or injury is not reported in a timely manner.
If you incur a work-related injury, the College's insurance carrier will pay for medical treatment. In order to ensure that our carrier will pay for your treatment, you must be treated by one of the College's designated panel of physicians and providers.

Follow-up Treatment

After 90 days, if an employee decides to receive treatment outside the panel, the employee must notify Human Resources within five (5) days or the College is relieved of its obligation to pay.

If You Are Injured At Work

If an injury or sudden symptoms may be life-threatening, call ext. 8333 and Public Safety will dispatch appropriate emergency response, including off-campus services as needed (if you call 911 first, be sure to contact Public Safety immediately afterward), Medical treatment is the priority and completing reports/documentation will follow as soon as is practical.

For other less urgent injuries, Public Safety will initiate an incident report, and arrange for transportation to one of the occupational health providers on the College's panel. They will provide you with an information sheet, which you will be asked to sign, and a list of the College's panel of physicians and health care providers.

If you are injured while on College business off campus or traveling out of the area, you may secure initial assistance from a hospital, physician, or other health care provider of your choice. You must seek subsequent treatment from a panel provider for at least the first 90 days from the date of your first treatment. Upon your return, you must make a report of the injury upon returning to campus within one business day by contacting Public Safety and contact Human Resources to arrange an appointment with a panel physician.

Missing Work

Missed work time on the day of injury that is spent receiving treatment is reported as regular time. You must use your accrued sick time for any follow-up visits that require you to miss work. The Occupational Health providers can often accommodate early or late appointments outside of work hours.

If you miss work due to a work related injury or illness you should call in according to established departmental policies or make alternate arrangements with your supervisor in the case of a more extended absence.

Any scheduled work days you miss during the first seven (7) consecutive calendar days following the incident must be covered by your sick or vacation leave, if available, or are unpaid. On day eight (8) of an absence, workers' compensation benefits begin, if your claim has been determined to be compensable. On day fourteen (14) of your absence, workers' compensation benefits are retroactively paid for any work days missed during the first seven (7) consecutive days following the incident.

Workers' compensation benefits are paid by the insurance carrier at the wage replacement ratio of approximately 66-2/3% and is not considered taxable income. If you wish to increase the benefit to 100% of pay, you may do so by using accrued sick or vacation leave. You must contact Human Resources to make the necessary arrangements.

Medical Bills

When you file an incident report, you will be given a blue wallet card with the name and address of the College's workers' compensation insurance carrier. For verified worker's compensation injuries or illnesses, please do not send the bills or invoices for your medical treatment to the Human Resources office. Any medical expenses and any receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses should be sent directly to the College's workers' comp insurance carrier at the address listed on the blue wallet card.

Staying In Touch

If you are on a workers' comp leave, it is your responsibility to remain in contact with your supervisor, Human Resources, and with the insurance carrier's coordinator. You must return their phone calls within one business day.

Returning To Work

A statement from your health care provider certifying your ability to return to work will be required before you may return to your regular duties. A copy of the release should be sent to the Human Resources office.

If you are released to return to work with restrictions (e.g., lifting restrictions) that prevent you from performing the duties of your position, the Human Resources Manager will contact your supervisor to discuss the possibility of an "alternate duty" assignment. If "light duty" is not available in your department, you may be assigned to a suitable alternate position in another department temporarily until released for full duty.

Insurance Fraud

The PA Workers' Compensation Act requires that Swarthmore College and injured workers direct concerns about fraud to the PA Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority at 1-888-565-IFPA. An employer commits fraud when purposefully understating your salary or job classification. An employee commits fraud when making false claims of injury, failing to report wages, or collecting benefits not due.


Threatening or Violent Behavior in the Workplace

The College is committed to providing faculty, staff and students with a safe environment free from threats, intimidation and violence as described in this policy. The College relies on its managers, supervisors and employees to be alert to the existence of threatening or violent behavior by employees or non-employees (vendors, applicants, visitors, spouses, etc.) against self, others, College property, or property on campus belonging to others. The College will take prompt and appropriate action whenever a safety concern arises.

Threatening Behavior

Threatening behavior is defined as an expressed or implied threat to interfere with an individual's health or safety, or with the property of the College, or property on College premises belonging to others, which causes a reasonable apprehension or fear that such harm or injury is about to occur. Examples of threatening behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct or indirect threats of harm or injury
  • Words or gestures which create a reasonable fear of harm or injury
  • Prolonged or frequent shouting which creates a reasonable fear of harm or injury
  • Stalking an individual

Violent Behavior

Violent behavior is defined as the use of physical force or violence to inflict harm to others, to endanger the health or safety of another person or the property of the college or property on college premises belonging to others, or restrict the freedom of action or movement of another person. Examples of violent behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Slapping, punching, striking, pushing, or otherwise physically attacking a person
  • Throwing, punching, or otherwise handling objects in an aggressive manner

Reporting Threatening or Violent Behavior

Any employee who experiences, observes, or has knowledge of threatening or violent behavior in the workplace should report the situation as soon as possible.

  • In all cases of an actual or imminent act of violent behavior, call Public Safety immediately at ext. 8333 or, if off campus, 610-328-8333.
  • Report all less urgent cases of threatening or violent behavior to your supervisor or department head and to Human Resources.

Public Safety will respond immediately to notification of an actual or imminent act of threatening or violent behavior. A Public Safety Officer(s) will be dispatched immediately and will coordinate with Swarthmore Borough Police as necessary.

Human Resources and Public Safety will coordinate the investigation of all less urgent reports of threatening or violent behavior promptly and impartially and as confidentially as possible. All employees are expected to cooperate in any investigation. A timely resolution of each report should be reached and communicated to all parties involved as soon as possible.

The College’s standards of conduct prohibit violent and threatening behavior. Should an investigation determine that an employee engaged in such misconduct the employee could be subject to disciplinary action or immediate dismissal. Certain violence-related behavior is prohibited under criminal and/or civil law. A determination will be made by Human Resources and Public Safety, with legal counsel, whether to refer a case of violent-related misconduct for criminal or civil prosecution.

Any form of retaliation against any person for making a bona fide report concerning threatening or violent behavior in the workplace or non-work-related report is prohibited. Any employee who believes they have experienced such retaliation should inform Human Resources, the EO officer or another appropriate College resource person immediately (e.g., vice president of Human Resources).

Reporting Non-Work-Related Violence

Employees who are victims of domestic or other threatening or violent behavior outside the workplace, or who believe they are potential victims of such behavior, and fear it may enter the workplace, are encouraged to report the situation as soon as possible. In all cases of an actual or imminent act of violent behavior, call Public Safety immediately at ext. 8333. The employee should report less urgent cases of threatening or violent behavior to his/her supervisor or department head, Human Resources and Public Safety.

False Reporting

If, upon investigation, it is determined that a report was falsified or made maliciously, the employee who provided the false information will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Employee Assistance

Those who are or believe they may become a victim of threatening or violent behavior, whether in the workplace or outside the workplace, may also contact Carebridge, the College’s Employee Assistance (EAP) and Work-Life Programs provider to obtain advice in dealing with the situation. Carebridge’s 24-7 phone line is 1-800-437-0911.

This policy covers all College premises, and College sponsored events as well as off-campus sites should an incident occur that is shown to have an adverse impact on a community member or the College.