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California State University
It Has Not Provided Adequate Oversight of the Safety of Employees and Students Who Work With Hazardous Materials

Report Number: 2017-119

April 24, 2018 2017-119

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report regarding health and safety compliance by the California State University’s (CSU) Chancellor’s Office (Chancellor’s Office) and at selected campuses, with an emphasis on laboratory health and safety. This report concludes that the Chancellor’s Office should increase its efforts to provide effective leadership to its 23 campuses so that they address health and safety concerns related to the presence of hazardous materials.

We found that the Chancellor’s Office has failed to sufficiently oversee health and safety on campuses. For example, CSU’s Office of Audit and Advisory Services has repeatedly recommended that the Chancellor’s Office increase its oversight of the campuses’ health and safety programs to address deficiencies in a number of areas, including employee and student health and safety training and inspections of laboratory safety equipment. However, we identified that some of these deficiencies have remained unresolved, indicating that the Chancellor’s Office has not taken the necessary steps to hold the campuses accountable. Further, the Chancellor’s Office has not ensured that the campuses report critical information regarding their health and safety programs. The failure on the part of the Chancellor’s Office to provide strong oversight increases health and safety risks for employees and students in the CSU system.

We also found that the four campuses we reviewed did not consistently comply with requirements related to the oversight of health and safety policies, training, and the inspection of laboratory safety equipment. None of the four campuses could demonstrate that they consistently conducted required annual reviews of policies that are critical to ensure the safety of employees who work with hazardous chemicals. Further, the four campuses have not always ensured that their employees received all required safety trainings as frequently as either state regulations or their policies require. Three of the four campuses we reviewed did not conduct required inspections of critical laboratory safety equipment and therefore have less assurance that the equipment would function properly in an emergency. Without resolving these issues, campuses cannot ensure they are effectively protecting students and employees against injuries and illnesses.

Respectfully submitted,

State Auditor

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