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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find question and answers to many frequently asked questions.  If there is something that you do not see, or are still unsure on, please call us at our office (760) 750-4502, or email  Thank you.

Hazardous Materials 

Food Safety

Ergonomic Resource Fund

Occupational Safety/Ergonomics

Risk Management

Smoking Policy


Workers Compensation

There is a spill in the parking lot/lab...what do I do?

Please contact the department supervisor or principal investigator.  If no one can be reached, please contact Safety, Risk & Sustainability directly at (760)750-4502 immediately.

What do I do with the stock containers after they are empty?

A stock container can be thrown away in the trash (glass box if glass) if the user verifies that the container is empty and is 5 gallons or less.  If the container has any material and you will not use it, please empty the container into an appropriately labeled waste container or label the stock container with a hazardous waste label.  Please make sure all the information is entered into the label (material name, accumulation start date, supervisor and hazards).  Additionally, if the container holds a container that is highly toxic, please have SR&S collect the container. SR&S staff will periodically collect waste from the fume hoods in the labs.

Can I have food at my meeting/event?

Your organization can have food from an approved vendor or from an authorized supplier that is licensed under the appropriate State/County food laws.  Generally this means any food purchased from a local supermarket (Costco, Vons, Ralph's, Albertson's) or local restaurants.  As the event coordinator you must go and pick up the food, bring it to your event, and ensure the food is properly served and/or refrigerated, if needed. The supermarket or restaurant cannot bring it to campus for you, where this would be considered catering.

We will be serving food for an on-campus fundraiser.  Do we need any type of certification to serve food?

Each person working the food event on campus will be required to have a food education (handlers) certificate.  Food handler's certificates can be obtained through a County of San Diego authorized food handler training school or you may take the CSUSM Temporary Food Handler's Training course.  To take this course please contact Safety, Risk & Sustainability (760-750-4502).

What are the approved food vendors on campus?

They are listed on the CSUSM Corporation Approved Vendors List.

Is a food handler's certificate required for everyone participating in our fundraiser?

Each person working the event will be required to have a food handler's certificate.  On the day of the event, each person must have a hard copy of their certificate/card and a valid form of ID.

Can someone look at my work area?  The computer/desk/chair doesn't feel right.

We have safety officers that will be happy to assist you with your work area.  They are specifically trained to evaluate and mitigate problems associated with your work area.  Please go to our work request page and request an ergonomic evaluation.

Can Auxillary department managers participate in the program?

Unfortunately, the program is only available to managers from departments that are supported by general funds.

I have not completed the ergonomics training.  What do I do?

Please complete a course held by SR&S or the self administered training on our Ergonomics Web page, sign the training acknowledgement sheet and then send it to or bring the documents to Craven 4700. 

It's been a can I determine if I have completed the ergonomics training?

Please contact the SR&S office at x4502 and ask them to look up your records.

What is the work station self-evaluation?

The self evaluation is form A under this program and is available at Ergonomic Resource.

Can I use reimbursement funds for items that are not SR&S Approved ergonomic products?

No. Only SR&S pre-approved items qualify for partial reimbursement.  Only items that are portable equipment can be purchased.  these items can be moved with the employee when they are reassigned.

Can I use equipment reimbursement funding for my home workstation?

No. funding is for University workstations only.

What do I need to do to get the funds reimbursed?

Work with your manager (MPP) and budget coordinator on the form and submit all the required documentation (Workstation Self Evaluation Form (A), ERFForm (B), training certificate, and aplicable invoices) as a single packet to SR&S.  Incomplete packets will not be processed.

How long will it take for my office to be reimbursed?

When SR&S recieves the "COMPLETED PACKET" they will process a transfer of funds within one month or 30 days.

Can someone look at my work area?  The computer/desk/chair doesn't feel right.

We have safety officers that will be happy to assist you with your work area.  They are specifically trained to evaluate and mitigate problems associated with your work area.  Please go to our work request page and request an ergonomic evaluation.

What do I do if I think I need ergonomic assistance or an ergonomic evaluation?

Please go to our website at and complete the Ergonomic Self-Evaluation to see if you have made all the possible adjustments to your work station. Then, if you have additional questions or need to have an assessment of your work station, please call ext. 4502. 

Always remember to adjust your workstation to fit you! A good ergonomic principle to follow is to fit the workstation to the person and not to make the person fit the workstation.  A few adjustments can really prevent injuries!

How do I know if I need a footrest?

The best way to know is to borrow a footrest from a co-worker and try it out.  If it helps your back and legs to feel better, it would be a good idea. Also, if you are vertically challenged and your feet are not able to touch the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle, you most likely need a footrest. There are several types available that easily adjust to the right height for you.

How should my chair be adjusted to fit my body?

Starting with your feet flat on the floor, adjust the height of your chair to allow your knees to bend at a 90 degree angle. Adjust the seat pan (just like the seat in your car) to a position that allows a two to three finger width behind your knee, so it does not cut off circulation. Adjust the back of your chair up or down to allow the lumbar support area to meet the curve in your lower back for maximum support.

The arms on your chair should be adjusted either up or down to allow your shoulders to relax and your elbows to comfortably rest at a 90 degree neutral position. For an online demonstration of how to adjust your chair, go to

How do I know if my keyboard tray is adjusted properly?

The optimal position for your keyboard tray is a 10 to 15 degree negative tilt (slanted away from you). This may seem uncomfortable or unnatural at first. If this does not work for you, make sure your keyboard tray is flat, and not at a positive tilt (slanted towards you). You will know you are in the correct position if your wrists are level with your lower arm.

What type of mouse is best?

There is not one type of mouse that is made to fit everyone. As with other ergonomic products, it is best to try before you buy. We have a Roller Mouse Pro ( a Whale mouse ( available for you to try. The position of your mouse is very important. Be sure to place.

What is the best height adjustment for my monitor?

The height of your monitor should be adjusted between eye level and 1 below eye level. If you are looking up to see your monitor, you will most likely have a tired and achy neck and shoulders. Most monitors are adjustable, but they need to be placed on your desk, rather than on the CPU or docking station.

What do I need to do if I want to order a new type of computer keyboard?

As with any ergonomic products, it is always best to try a new type of keyboard before you purchase it. We have sample keyboards to try before you buy. The purchase is coordinated through the Procurement Office and paid through your departmental budget. You can shop online at to get ideas of which products fit your needs.

It is cold/hot in my office.

Please contact Facility Services at (760)750-4600 or go to their work request page

I have old toner cartridges.  What do I do?

Materials Management will take back most laser printer cartridges.  They can be reached at (760)750-4535.

Oh no, someone is trying to serve a subpoena!  What should I do?

First of all, don't panic.  The subpoena acceptance process is centrally located in Safety, Risk & Sustainability.  You can only accept the subpoena if you are personally being named.  Personally named refers to business that takes place between you as an individual and another person or entity, not related to the university.   Do not accept the subpoena if you are named on the behalf of the university.  Subpoenas must be served to Safety, Risk & Sustainability which is located in Craven suite 4700. For further questions or concerns, please contact SR&S at (760) 750-4502.

I am going on a field trip with students.  Can I take non-CSUSM students with me on the bus/car?

Only enrolled students, faculty and staff on university related business may ride in the bus/vehicle if it is being paid for by the university or if the person driving is being reimbursed.

Do I need insurance for an event I am having?

Depending on the event, you may be required to obtain special event insurance. Again, Safety, Risk & Sustainability will need to review the completed RFU to make that determination. We will contact you to discuss any insurance needs at (760)750-4502.

I want to have an event here on campus.  What forms do I need to turn into Risk Management to have my event?

Please complete the Request for Facilities Use (RFU) and submit it to Event Scheduling, so that we have all of the information necessary to determine what insurance and liability requirements you will need to comply with.  In general, all individuals and organizations not conducting campus business will be required to meet our insurance and liability requirements in order to hold an event on campus.

How do I know if my event needs insurance or additional risk controls?

If the event appears to present additional liability risk to the University, the requestor will be informed that special event insurance may be required. The cost is based upon number of participants, vendors and exposures.

Events may present additional liability risk for any of the following reasons:

  1. Alcoholic beverage service
  2. Special equipment such as bounce houses, rock climbing towers, or vehicles
  3. Live animals
  4. Physical activities such as dance, sports, or games
  5. High attendance or large number of off-campus attendees
  6. Live performances
  7. Age of participants
  8. Duration of event or residency on campus, i.e., camps  
  9. Bonfire, barbeque equipment, fireworks, etc.
  10. Food preparation not provided by Campus Dining
  11. Event history on campus
  12. Any other activity or condition that might present additional liability risk to the university not specifically covered by the university's self-insurance program

What is the California State University San Marcos new smoking policy?

The new smoking policy takes effect August 1, 2005 but has been approved by the President since April 5, 2004.  We have been working with many members of the campus community and external agencies in the implementation of this policy and procedure.

Why does California State University State San Marcos have a policy that restricts smoking to designated areas?

Designated smoking areas protect visitors and all members of the campus community from exposure to secondhand smoke by containing it to specific, avoidable areas. Secondhand smoke is dangerous to all living things, especially people with asthma and cardiac problems. Each year, over 53,000 people in the US die of illness related to secondhand smoke exposure. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has designated secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen because it is known to cause cancer in humans. The EPA has also determined, through research, that there is "no safe level of exposure" to secondhand smoke. With designated smoking areas, people can avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke if they choose to do so.

Where are the designated smoking areas located?

We have included on this site a map of designated smoking areas throughout the campus.

Why not just enforce the state law (no smoking within 20 feet of all entrances, exits and operable windows and air intakes)?

The state law does not protect people from breathing secondhand smoke in areas like the plazas and on stairways and walkways. In addition, when smokers are directed to places where they can smoke, versus where they cannot smoke, the policy is more easily understood and honored.

How will the policy be enforced?

This policy has been endorsed by the Executive Cabinet and was driven by the many complaints from the campus community. It relies on the consideration and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers for its success. Proper signage and education are key parts of this process. All campus community members are encouraged to work together to implement the policy. 

Will programs be offered to provide smokers with cessation support?

Smoking cessation programs are offered to Employees by the employee assistance program administered  through Human Resources. Individual counseling for students is also available through the Student Health Center. Additional support is offered by visiting on the web or by calling 1-800-NOBUTTS. All services are free.

What about individual rights?

Limiting smoking to designated areas on campus allows adults who smoke to continue to do so and preserves everyone's right to breathe clean, smoke-free air. This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

What about the rain?

Current state law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of entrances, exits and operable windows of all university and other government buildings. Anyone doing any kind of business on campus, including walking to class or to work, must be prepared for all types of weather.

What is Web Based Safety Training and does it substitute for the classroom training provided by SR&S?

Web Based Safety Training is a tool utilized by the SR&S Department and supervisors to provide CSU employees with essential or required safety training. This tool is not necessarily intended to substitute classroom training provided by the SR&S Department or supervisors. However, this is an extremely useful tool for someone who is not able to attend the scheduled training sessions and is required to complete the training. For more information, please contact your supervisor or the SR&S Department. The SR&S Department can be reached at Extension 4502 or via email at .For more FAQs regarding Clarity go to http://www.csusm/rms/training/training_clarity.

Are you familiar with the Worker's Compensation benefits at Cal State San Marcos?

Workers' Compensation is an employer paid benefit that provides compensation and medical benefits if you are injured or become ill due to a work-related condition. This includes serious injuries as well as injuries only requiring first aid. Under Workers' Compensation law, you will receive help if you are injured. (Available to employees and student assistants working in their normal course and scope of work.)

Do you know what to do if you or a co-worker is injured or becomes ill while on the job? 

After sustaining an injury or illness on the job, immediately report it to University Police (x4567 or 911 from a campus phone) and your supervisor (MPP). University Police will notify the local fire/ambulance for emergency transportation to the hospital if necessary. For first aid and urgent care treatment of your work related injury or illness, medical services will be provided by Palomar Health Corporate Health Services, 120 Craven Road, Suite 207, San Marcos, CA 92078. Please contact Safety, Risk & Sustainability at x4502 to authorize your visit prior to your arrival at Palmoar Health Corporate Health Services. If you have submitted a completed Designation of Personal Physician to Safety, Risk & Sustainability, prior to the date of injury, you have the right to be treated by that physician from the first date of injury.  A Designation of Personal Physician form is available for this purpose.

The employee must complete the Employee's Claim for Workers Compensation Benefits form (DWC-1) within 24 hours of the reported injury/illness. Safety, Risk & Sustainability will provide this form to the employee within 24 hours after the injury is reported. Please complete the "employee" section of the DWC-1 claim form and return it to the Worker's Compensation Coordinator in Safety, Risk & Sustainability (x4502) within 24 hours of the reported injury.