The University of Waterloo's Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Program is intended to assist members of the campus community in preventing injury and illness and promoting their well-being. Various topics are covered with recommended health, safety and environment practices outlined in accordance with health, safety and environment legislation. While the HSE Program strives to be comprehensive it is only a relatively brief summary of information. Further health, safety and environment resources are available to persons in their Departments, Faculties and the Library. Members of the campus community are encouraged to contact the UW Safety Office or Joint Health and Safety Committee to comment on the Health, Safety and Environment Program or for any assistance with a health and safety concern.

Internal Responsibility System

Faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors share responsibility for health, safety and environment. This concept of an internal responsibility system is based on the principle that members of the campus community are in the best position to identify health, safety and environment problems and to develop solutions. The internal responsibility system involves everyone, from senior administration to workers and students and is fostered by Ontario Legislation including the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Several provisions of Ontario Legislation guide our internal responsibility system including the requirement for UW to have a health, safety and environment policy and program. All members of the campus community also have responsibilities. Department managers are responsible for implementing and supervising the HSE Program.

Health, Safety and Environment Organization

The University of Waterloo emphasizes health, safety and environment administration and activities within Departments and Faculties in accordance to Policy 34, Health, Safety and Environment Management System.

The Safety Office serves as a HSE resource to assist members of the University community in meeting their obligations to provide a safe, healthy work and educational environment. In particular, the Safety Office develops and audits UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program, provides advice, assists faculty/departmental health and safety representatives/committees and serves on, or is a resource to, UW's HSE committees.

The Joint Health and Safety Committee is an advisory group of worker, management and student representatives, who meet regularly to review injury reports, discuss health and safety concerns and make recommendations. The Committee's functions include:

  • Receiving health and safety concerns from members of the University community;
  • Providing input on the University's Health and Safety Program;
  • Conducting workplace inspections;
  • Attending a work refusal situation; and
  • Investigating a critical injury or fatality.

Health Services, Police Services and the Safety Office have resource persons on the Committee to provide background information and guidance.