General Safety

Hazard & Incident Investigations

hazardous work condition

All UC Santa Barbara faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to report any identified hazards or hazardous conditions, and participate in investigations to assist with the development, implementation and evaluation of measures to prevent injuries or illnesses. EH&S/General Safety staff investigate reported safety hazards, hazardous conditions, and incidents occurring on campus, at field stations or on leased property under the direction of the campus Risk Manager.

hazardous work condition

A hazard is defined as “an unsafe condition or practice that could result in an injury, illness, or damage to property or the environment”. Hazard reporting is an important part of campus safety and health program monitoring, and is necessary to prevent accidents and control losses. All faculty, staff, students, and visitors should report any known or perceived hazards within their work, research or study environment to their supervisor and/or the appropriate Environmental Health & Safety staff. Timely reporting will assist with prompt elimination, mitigation, or other necessary corrective actions taking place.

hazardous work condition

An incident is “an unplanned or undesired event that adversely affects campus or department work operations”. Incidents include: work-related injuries, occupational illnesses, property damage, spills, fires or “near miss” events that could have resulted in any of these. An incident that results in a serious employee injury, considerable property damage, a major fire, or spill obviously warrants an extensive investigation. A minor incident or near incident also requires a thorough investigation and may reveal significant potential for a serious incident if the conditions are left uncorrected.

There are two major components that contribute to the cause of an incident. They are the “work element” and the “root cause”.

  • The “work element” is the condition or act that directly caused the incident. An example of a work element might be a small spill of oil on the floor that someone slipped on.
  • The “root cause” is the system failure that allowed the work element to become deficient or to occur. For example, a root cause may be a lack of preventive maintenance that resulted in the fork truck leaking oil on the floor.

hazardous work condition

The purpose of an incident investigation is to determine the work element and root causes of incident, and to assist in providing the campus or department with a solution to prevent recurrence. Investigations will be constructive, credible and timely. The investigator/investigation team goals are to (1) determine what happened and, (2) how to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future, not trying to place blame on any individual or group. Follow up monitoring and review of corrective actions implemented is undertaken to ensure hazards are eliminated or reduced as much as possible and that no new hazards have been introduced to the workplace.

Hazards and/or hazardous conditions not investigated by EH&S/General Safety staff includes issues related to specialized areas such as:

For assistance with issues relating to any of the above-mentioned areas please refer to the Programs & Services page on the campus EH&S website to obtain the appropriate contact information.

Hazards and hazardous conditions can be reported to EH&S/General Safety staff using the Report A Hazard button at the top of this page or via telephone during business hours Monday-Friday at the following numbers: 805.893.5407. Hazards may be reported after hours or on weekends by calling the EH&S Hotline at 805.893.3194.