Last Revised: December 10, 2021
The EHRS Reproductive Health Program is a counseling and hazard assessment service for University of Pennsylvania employees. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact EHRS with questions or concerns regarding reproductive health in their workplace. EHRS will provide reproductive health counseling (during pregnancy or pre-pregnancy) along with a workplace hazard assessment upon request.
The Reproductive Health Program and reference materials are detailed below.
Reproductive Health Program
1. PURPOSE and SCOPE
The University of Pennsylvania in coordination with the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) strives to provide employees with a safe and healthful work environment. The purpose of the Reproductive Health Program is to minimize employee exposure to reproductive hazards and ensure that employees are informed of the known reproductive hazards in their work environment.
This program applies to University of Pennsylvania employees.
2. DEFINITIONS and APPLICABILITY
A reproductive hazard is a chemical, biological, radioactive or physical agent that has the potential to adversely affect human reproductive capabilities including mutations, teratogenesis, miscarriage, sterility, developmental abnormalities or transplacental carcinogenesis.
3. ROLES and RESPONSIBILITIES
3.1 The Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) is responsible for:
Developing, implementing and administering the University of Pennsylvania's Reproductive Health Program.
Performing workplace hazard assessments.
Recommending engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment.
Counseling employees, as appropriate.
Providing technical resources to Occupational Medicine.
3.2 Occupational Medicine (OM) is responsible for:
Counseling employees, as appropriate.
Performing medical surveillance, as determined by OM.
3.3 Supervisors are responsible for:
Including all known reproductive hazards in the written job description.
Providing all prospective job candidates with a copy of the written job description.
Sending employees to required initial and refresher health and safety training.
Providing employees with appropriate personal protective equipment.
Ensuring that employees use recommended personal protective equipment and other control measures.
Identifying alternate job duties or temporary reassignment within the department, if indicated by OM. If alternate job duties are not available, counseling employees about sick leave or family leave.
3.4 Human Resources:
The role of Human Resources is to serve as a facilitator or consultant to the Supervisor regarding alternate duties, sick leave or family leave.
3.5 Employees are responsible for:
Following all recommended work practices and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Contacting EHRS to arrange reproductive health counseling.
Reporting all exposure incidents to their supervisor.
Attending required initial and annual training.
All employees with the potential for occupational exposure to chemicals, biohazardous materials, ionizing radiation and lasers will complete the required initial and annual refresher health and safety training. Requirements are based upon the employee's potential exposures and may include the following:
- Introduction to Laboratory Safety at Penn (Chemical Hygiene Training)
- Introduction to Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens
- Initial Radiation Safety Training
- Laboratory Safety Annual Update
- Bloodborne Pathogens Annual Update
- Annual Radiation Worker Training
- HIV/HBV Training
- Hazard Communication Training
- Laser Safety Training
Training will include:
- Methods to identify reproductive hazards in the workplace.
- Safe work practices and personal protective equipment.
- Availability of the Reproductive Health Program.
Known reproductive hazards specific to a work area will be included in the written job description. Supervisors will provide individual operational training.
4.2 Reproductive Health Counseling
Employees may contact EHRS to seek reproductive health counseling and request a workplace hazard assessment.
Employees working with radioisotopes, x-rays equipment and other forms of ionizing radiation will be referred to a Health Physicist for counseling and workplace hazard assessments.
All confidential requests will be respected.
All parties involved in counseling employees will be knowledgeable in reproductive health hazards, toxicology, legal guidelines and counseling guidelines.
The following information will be reviewed with the employee during the counseling session:
- The exposure potential.
- Recommended work practices and personal protective equipment to eliminate or minimize exposure.
- Risks to reproductive health, the fetus and breast milk.
- Material safety data sheets for the chemicals handled by the employee.
- OSHA exposure limits.
- Review of available toxicity data.
4.3 Workplace Hazard Assessments
EHRS will perform a workplace hazard assessment when it is necessary to ensure the controls that are in place (engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment) are adequate to protect the employee from reproductive hazards. An employee may also request a workplace hazard assessment of his or her work area. The hazard assessment will include:
- Identification of chemical, biological, physical or radioactive agents in the workplace that present a potential exposure risk.
- Qualitative exposure assessment of concerned employee.
- Review of work practices and personal protective equipment used, and recommend additional control measures if needed.
- Review of lab audit reports and historical sampling results, if available.
4.4 Alternate Job Duties
Alternate job duties will be considered when indicated by OM.
The employee's supervisor will arrange alternate job duties, if available. If alternate job duties are not available, the supervisor will counsel the employee about other options, including sick leave and family leave.