Environmental Health & Safety
Supporting the campus community by proactively protecting people, property and the environment in a responsible and cost effective manner.

Safety on Site (SOS) FAQ

Section 1

Safety on Site (SOS) - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Safety On Site (SOS)?

A: Safety On Site (SOS) fulfills the employee portion of UC Irvine's implemention of the Injury & Illness Prevention Plan. SOS integrates safety into the workplace, a role ALL employees have at UC Irvine.


Q: Why is SOS important?

A: The importance of SOS is emphasized by:


Q: What are my responsibilities in the SOS program?
Employees need to:

  1. Complete all EH&S required safety training based on your Safety Training Self-Assessment available at: www.uclc.uci.edu.
  2. Know who the designated Safety Representative (SR) is for your work unit.
  3. Ask questions of your SR, supervisor or faculty when concerned about an unknown or hazardous situation or substance.
  4. Participate in all work unit specific training recommended by your designated SR.
  5. Report all unsafe conditions, practices or equipment to either your supervisor, SR or to campus EH&S.


Q: What do managers/supervisors need to do?

A: Managers and supervisors including principal investigators need to:

  1. Recognize the need to integrate safety into your organization.
  2. Arrange your organization into manageable work units.
  3. Designate a SOS Representative (SR) for each work unit.
  4. Contact EH&S for assistance if necessary.


Q: What is a SOS work unit?

A: A SOS work unit includes at least one of the following persons:


-Principal Investigator

-Vice Chancellor

-Academic Business Officer

-Associate Vice Chancellor


-Assistant Vice Chancellor


-Department Chair

-Unit/department head

A SOS work unit:

  • Holds periodic staff meetings.
  • Includes people who work closely on a regular basis.
  • Has unique training needs in order to safely and successfully perform unit specific procedures.

The determination of who is in which work unit is very flexible. Typically, a work unit would include between 5 and 25 individuals.

Some examples of possible work units:

  • A plumbing superintendent and the plumbing staff.
  • A building maintenance supervisor and building maintenance.
  • A principal investigator and the lab staff.
  • A Management Services Officer/Health Sciences Administrator and the department support staff.
  • A manager and their staff.

For assistance in determining your work unit, please contact your academic School Coordinator. For non-academic areas, please contact EH&S at 824-6200 or safety@uci.edu.


Q: Can a person be in more than one work unit?

A: Yes. A person could have work duties that merit being a member of more than one work unit. For example, a person might work part-time for one supervisor in a laboratory environment and part-time for another supervisor in an office environment. Both supervisors would include the employee in their respective work units.


Q: I am an UC Irvine employee but I report to work at UCIMC. How does the UC Irvine SOS program involve me?

A: The UC Irvine SOS program works to ensure that all UCI employees' safety needs are adequately met and recognizes UCIMC work units as equivalent to UCI work units. For assistance, please contact your School Coordinator at (949) 824-6200.


Q: What is a Safety Representative (SR)?

A: The supervisor or Principal Investigator identifies the Safety Representative (SR) for the work unit. The SRe has the following qualifications:

  • Competency in office/administrative work activities or area of research
  • Ability to communicate safety procedures
  • Completion of the appropriate EH&S Safety Fundamentals training:
    • Safety Fundamentals, for UCI employees who do not work in a laboratory environment, or
    • Laboratory Safety Fundamentals, for UCI employees who do work in a laboratory environment
  • For SRs in laboratories, a background in chemical, biological, and/or radiological safety issues


Q: What are the responsibilities of a SOS Representative?

A: A work unit Safety Representatives (SR)is responsible for the following:

  • Ensure that you and your work unit complete all EH&S required safety training based on the Safety Training Self-Assessment available at www.uclc.uci.edu.
  • Complete the Hazard Identification Checklist appropriate for your work unit at least every year, or whenever your work environment changes significantly. Ensure that identified hazards are addressed and corrected.
  • Conduct work unit specific training for work unit members, for new employees or whenever your work environment changes significantly.
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as necessary.
  • Maintain written records for work unit specific training.


Q: What is the Hazard Identification Checklist and how does the Safety Representative (SR) complete it?

A: The Hazard Identification Checklist is designed for specific work environments to help the SOS Representative identify work unit specific hazards and correct them. The Hazard Identification Checklist should be used to survey the work area every year.

Q: What are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)?
A: Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are written documents that highlight safe procedures and steps for hazardous work processes in which employees are involved. EH&S maintains a Safety Training Resources page to assist work units in creating work unit specific SOPs, including templates and specific SOP examples.

Q: What is work unit specific training?
Work unit specific training is safety training that addresses hazards and processes found only in that work unit, and is beyond the standard EH&S course offerings. It is provided or organized by the supervisor or SOS Representative (SR).

Q: Does the work unit need to keep records for SOS activities and for work unit specific training?
A: Yes. The work unit may be asked to provide documentation of the following accomplishments:

  • Completed Hazard Identification Checklist
  • Records of work unit specific training

Q: How does the work unit maintain the records?
The method is decided by the work unit. Records may be maintained electronically or on paper, but must be available upon request. EH&S has designed an optional binder for organizing SOS records. This binder is available upon request by contacting EH&S at 824-6200.