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Safety, Health, and Worker's Compensation

Weapons | Safety in the Workplace | Reporting Non-Work-Related Violence | Employee Assistance Program | Accidents on the Job: Workers Compensation Benefits


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 College community.

Departments whose staff members may be exposed to environmental 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 in your work area are 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 bodily fluids are subject to Universal Precaution policies, available through their departmental offices.

Reporting Non-Work-Related Violence

Staff members 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 610-328-8333 (ex. 8333 on campus). The staff member should report non-emergency cases of threatening or violent behavior to their supervisor or department head, Human Resources, and Public Safety.

Employee Assistance Program

Employees who are, or who 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 Program (EAP) and Work-Life Programs provider, to obtain advice and assistance. Carebridge’s 24/7 phone line is 1-800-437-0911.

Accidents on the Job: Workers 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. 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 a staff member decides to receive treatment outside the panel, the staff member 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 610-328-8333 (on campus 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 when possible).

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. 

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. For the College to cover your treatment under workers compensation, you are required to seek subsequent treatment from a panel provider for at least the first 90 days from the date of your first treatment. Upon your return to campus, you are required to report the injury upon returning to campus within one business day by contacting Human Resources at or by calling our office at 610-328-8397 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 leave for any follow-up visits that require you to miss work. 

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 workdays 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 66.66% and are 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 for workers compensation.

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, 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' compensation insurance carrier. 

Staying in Touch

If you are on a workers' compensation 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, Human Resources 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 if available in another department temporarily until you are released for full duty.

Insurance Fraud

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