2.1 Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Management System (MS)
2.1.1 Legislated Duties
UW's HSEMS provides the framework to enable University compliance with health, safety and environment legislation. Specifically, it apprises members of the campus community of their duties and responsibilities with respect to these acts, UW's relevant policies, and collateral procedural and reporting requirements. Key to the HSEMS is UW Policy 34: Health, Safety and Environment, which states:
"The University of Waterloo strives to provide a safe, healthy work and educational environment for its students, employees and visitors. The University insists on compliance with legislative requirements and regulations contained in, but not limited to, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), the Fire Prevention and Protection Act (FPPA) and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), and University of Waterloo policies and procedures.
"Each faculty member, staff member, student and visitor and contractor has the primary responsibility for their own safety and actions and for others affected by their actions. Supervisors and all other persons in authority must provide for health and safety of those under their authority, including training in specific work tasks and must take necessary measures to comply with environmental requirements."
The University has a general duty to "take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker" (OHSA) as well as a duty to put in place a proper system to prevent the occurrence of offences under the legislation and to take reasonable steps to ensure the effective operation of that system (Supreme Court of Canada).
The University fulfills these duties by ensuring:
a. Maintenance and implementation of a policy on Health, Safety and Environment;
b. Compliance with HSE legislation;
c. Provision of centralized Health, Safety and Environment programs, standards, and services;
d. Guidance to faculty/department Health, Safety and Environment programs;
e. Monitoring and auditing of HSE; and
f. Support for the activities of health and safety committees.
Directors and officers of UW are required to take all reasonable care to ensure University compliance with legislation and orders/requirements of HSE officials. For the purposes of HSE legislation and UW HSE Policy:
a. Directors are members of the Board of Governors.
b. Officers are the President and Vice-President, Academic & Provost and all line managers reporting to the President and the Provost.
184.108.40.206 Audit Committee
The Board of Governors Audit Committee annually reviews UW's report on compliance with HSE legislation. Additional reports may be presented to the Audit Committee where circumstances require the Audit Committee to carry out responsibilities pursuant to applicable legislation, on behalf of the Board of Governors.
220.127.116.11 Vice-President, Academic, & Provost
a. Approves University policies and other actions necessary to comply with legislative requirements including OHSA, FPPA and EPA;
b. Reviews an annual report from the Director of Safety on UW’s Health, Safety and Environment Program, which includes an assessment of faculty/departmental compliance with the HSEMS;
c. Responds to recommendations of the Joint Health and Safety Committee and Director of Safety; and
d. Allocates funding for HSE.
18.104.22.168 Secretary of the University
a. Oversees and supports the work of the Director of Safety with respect to design and implementation of UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program;
b. Reviews and presents to the Board of Governors Audit Committee an annual report on HSE compliance; and
c. Reports to the President and/or Provost:
(1) Where there is not full and timely compliance with an order issued by the relevant Ministry or regulatory agency; or
(2) Any significant event, which requires Board of Governors Audit Committee attention.
22.214.171.124 Officers of the University
Officers of the University, as defined in Section 2.1 are responsible for:
a. Ensuring that, within their areas of responsibility, UW's Health, Safety and Environment Policy and Program is implemented; and
b. Ensuring annual performance reviews address how subordinates have carried out their responsibilities for managing HSE.
c. Maintaining a Senior Management Health and Safety Committee as appointed by the Vice-President, Academic, & Provost. The Committee is responsible for advising, at least annually, the Officers of the University on the overall health and safety performance of the University. In performing its duties the Committee shall review:
(1) Health and safety continuous improvement plan;
(2) Health and safety trends;
(3) Communication of health and safety information;
(4) UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program; and
(5) Inspection program.
126.96.36.199 Academic and Academic Support Managers
Academic and academic support department directors/chairs/heads are accountable to the officers of the University in exercising management functions and in carrying out many HSE duties on behalf of the University are required to:
a. Appoint competent supervisors;
b. Provide information, instruction, supervision and training to enable students, faculty and staff to safely perform their tasks;
c. Introduce and maintain measures designed to identify, monitor, assess and control risks and hazards;
d. Review injury/incident reports and ensure the appropriate corrective action;
e. Maintain appropriate records to demonstrate compliance with their duties and obligations;
f. Take corrective action, including discipline, where a member of the campus community is found or reported to be in an unsafe condition; and
g. Review the "Annual Faculty/Department Health, Safety and Environment Report"(see 2.7 below) according to UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program to ensure the faculty/department is meeting its obligations with respect to the HSEMS and submit to the Director of Safety.
188.8.131.52 Faculty/Department Health and Safety Coordinators/Committees
Management may establish Faculty/department health and safety coordinators/committees to co-ordinate health and safety activities and advise department directors/chairs/heads on health and safety matters on an ongoing basis.
Such coordinators/committees should be designated person(s) who will communicate their findings to department directors/chairs/heads. In the absence of coordinators/committees, the department directors/chairs/heads assume these responsibilities.
Faculty/department health and safety coordinators/committees are responsible to their management for:
a. Making recommendations concerning procedures and regulations addressing UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program;
b. Completing the "Annual Faculty/Department Health, Safety and Environment Report" according to UW's Health, Safety Environment Program;
c. Assisting with and/or conducting inspections of their area; and
d. Ensuring that health and safety concerns are addressed by:
(1) Taking appropriate action as a coordinator/committee; or
(2) Referral to the appropriate department manager for action; or
(3) Referral to the Safety Office and/or a Joint Health and Safety Committee.
Every person in a supervisory position is responsible to his/her line of authority for:
- Taking every reasonable precaution to protect and promote the health, safety and environment of those persons reporting directly and indirectly to them;
- Ensuring that persons work in an appropriate manner, and with the equipment, protective devices, measures and procedures required;
- Advising persons of the existence of potential or actual danger to their health or safety;
- Fulfilling the requirements of the UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program including training in specific work tasks in areas and operations under their control;
- Promptly investigating injury/incident reports and taking any appropriate corrective action;
- Inspecting their area on a regular basis.
184.108.40.206 Supervisors of Contractors and Sub-Contractors
Any employee of the University who is responsible for hiring or overseeing a contractor or sub-contractor to perform work within the University must ensure that:
a. Contract documents incorporate the applicable requirements under UW's Health, Safety and Environment Policy and Program;
b. Relevant information relating to UW's workplace hazards are communicated to the contractor; and
c. Compliance with the UW's Health and Safety Policy and Program is monitored and enforced.
220.127.116.11 Workers and Other Persons
All persons on University premises, whether for monetary compensation, education, or other purposes, are responsible for:
a. Complying with HSE legislation and UW's Health, Safety and Environment Policy and Program;
b. Using or wearing the appropriate equipment, protective devices or clothing;
c. Reporting promptly any hazardous condition or injury to his/her supervisor; and
d. Refraining from any activity that may endanger the health and safety of themselves or of any other person.
18.104.22.168 Safety Office
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 reviews UW's Health, Safety and Environment programs, provides advice, assists Faculty/departmental health and safety coordinators/committees and serves on or is a resource to UW's HSE committees.
The Director of Safety is responsible for:
a. Coordinating the University's activities regarding the design and implementation of UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program.
b. Preparing an annual report on UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program, this includes an assessment of Faculty/departmental compliance with the HSEMS.
c. Informing and advising the Secretary of the University on any instances where, pursuant to the legislation:
(1) Ministry or regulatory agency issues an order and there is not full compliance within the specified time;
(2) Employee(s) refuse(s) to work for reason of danger to their health or safety;
(3) Decision is taken to not implement a recommendation of a Joint Health and Safety Committee; or
(4) Circumstances require the Board of Governors Audit Committee to be informed so they may carry out responsibilities pursuant to applicable legislation, on behalf of the Board of Governors.
2.2 UW Policy #34: Health, Safety, and Environment
The University of Waterloo is committed to the prevention of illness and injury and strives to provide a safe work and study environment for its employees, students and visitors. The policy is a key component of the University’s Health, Safety and Environment Management System.
This policy applies to all University employees, students and visitors on University Property or participating in University Events. With the exception of section 6.4.2, this policy does not apply to construction projects on University Property where the University is not the constructor or employer, as defined under the Act (defined below).
3. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
In addition to the above mentioned “Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures”, the policy will be construed in accordance with applicable law, in particular, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1 (the “Act”). Other applicable law includes:
- Building Code Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 23
- Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19
- Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 4
- Hazardous Products Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. H-3
- Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7
- Pest Control Products Act, S.C. 2002, c. 28
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, S.C. 1992, c.34
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c.16
If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the policy will be interpreted in accordance with the new legal framework.
The objective of this policy is to promote health and safety on University Property and at University Events, as required by applicable law.
The following principles guide this policy:
- The health and safety of individuals is of the utmost concern in every area of University operations.
- The University will comply, and expects its employees, students and visitors to comply with applicable legislation governing health and safety.
- The University will not tolerate violence on University Property or at University Events.
- University employees, students and visitors are expected to take responsibility for their own safety and actions, and the impact of those actions on others.
- University employees, students and visitors are expected to be proactive about reporting situations that impact health and safety on University Property or at University Events.
6. GENERAL ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES
6.1.1. The University will take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of its employees, students and visitors.
6.1.2. The University will comply with applicable legislation governing health and safety, including, without limitation, ensuring that this policy is reviewed on an annual basis and posted as required under the Act.
6.1.3. The University will develop, maintain and communicate a health and safety program, internal standards and procedures to implement this policy, and ensure that employees receive necessary information, instruction and supervision to protect their health and safety.
6.1.4. The University will provide reasonable assistance and co-operation to the Joint Health and Safety Committees to enable them to carry out their work.
6.2. Director of Safety and Joint Health and Safety Committees.
6.2.1. The director of safety or designate is empowered to deal with dangerous circumstances, having the authority to stop any process or procedure, or to require the correction of any condition that contravenes the Act.
6.2.2. The director of safety and Joint Health and Safety Committees will identify health and safety concerns and seek to have these addressed by members of the University community acting through established University channels. When a health and safety concern cannot be solved in this manner it will be reported in writing by the director of safety or Joint Health and Safety Committee to the senior administrator accountable for the area, usually with a recommendation. The senior administrator's decision shall be communicated in writing to the director of safety.
6.3.1. Supervisors must provide for the health and safety of employees under their authority, including training in specific work tasks, and must take necessary measures to comply with environmental requirements.
6.3.2. Supervisors will inform themselves of and comply with their duties under the Act and other applicable legislation governing health and safety, as well as University policies, guidelines and procedures.
6.3.3. Supervisors will promptly investigate and take corrective action, as necessary, upon identification of a hazard or receipt of a report from a worker re: conditions that are contrary to good health, safety or environmental practices or that contravene any legislative requirements.
6.3.4. If an employee under a supervisor’s authority refuses work or an assignment for reasons of safety, the supervisor will promptly investigate and take necessary corrective action.
6.3.5. In the event an employee under a supervisor’s authority is injured or becomes ill as a result of a work assignment, the supervisor will ensure that prompt first aid and health care treatment is obtained, if necessary and that University reports are completed by the end of the business day following the incident.
6.3.6. Supervisors will post this policy and other health, safety and environment program information provided by the Safety Office in a conspicuous location.
6.3.7. Supervisors should consult the Safety Office website or contact the Safety Office for further information in exercising their responsibilities under this policy and applicable legislation.
6.3.8. This section applies to a student where the student’s research (laboratory, field or other) for academic credit is conducted under the direct supervision of a University employee. In these circumstances, the references to employee in this section will be read as references to the student and the references to the supervisor in this section will be read as references to the University employee who is supervising the student’s research.
6.4. Employees, Students and Visitors.
6.4.1. University employees, students and visitors will comply with applicable legislation, University policies, guidelines and procedures, and additional directions from the University or a University employee in a position of authority, with respect to health and safety.
6.4.2. In addition to any other applicable terms, contractors, subcontractors and their employees undertaking work for the University must comply with the terms of their contracts and all applicable laws with respect to health, safety, conduct and the protection of the environment.
6.4.3. University employees, students and visitors have primary responsibility for their safety and actions and for the impact of their actions on others.
6.4.4. Subject to Section 6.4.5, University employees, students and visitors shall promptly report conditions that are contrary to good health, safety or environmental practices or that contravene any legislative requirements to their supervisor or another University employee in a position of authority. If the employee, student or visitor making a report does not see evidence of investigations being commenced or remedial actions being taken within a reasonable period of time, the employee, student or visitor shall report the situation to the director of safety or a Joint Health and Safety Committee member.
6.4.5. University employees, students and visitors shall report unsafe buildings and grounds conditions on University Property to Plant Operations.
6.4.6. Employees may refuse work or an assignment for reasons of safety without prejudice or fear of reprisal. Employees should consult the Safety Office website or the Act for more guidance on the process for refusing unsafe work in accordance with the Act.
6.4.7. University employees, students and visitors will take reasonable steps to minimize the impact of University operations on the environment and respond diligently to incidents arising from University activities which could have an adverse impact on the environment.
7. ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES REGARDING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
7.1. The University is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that is violence free. The University strives to assess and minimize the risk of violence, and to ensure that reasonable safeguards are in place to protect employees, students and visitors from incidents of violence on University Property and at University Events.
7.2. The University has implemented a Workplace Violence Prevention Program, which includes measures and procedures to protect employees, students and visitors from workplace violence, a means of summoning immediate assistance and a process for employees, students and visitors to report incidents or raise concerns. As part of this program, the University is committed to ensuring that employees, students, supervisors and other University employees in positions of authority have the appropriate information and instruction to protect them from violence in the workplace.
7.3. All employees, students and visitors have a responsibility in maintaining a violence free working and learning environment by not engaging in acts of violence, and are required to report incidents promptly as outlined in the University’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program. Individuals should consult the Safety Office website or contact the Safety Office for more information on this program.
7.4. Any act of violence is unacceptable conduct that will not be tolerated. Anyone engaging in activities or behavior found to be of a violent or threatening nature will be subject to disciplinary and other sanctions up to and including termination of employment, expulsion and ban from University premises. Criminal or civil proceedings may also be initiated.
7.5. The University recognizes that domestic violence can pose a risk to members of the University community, and will take reasonable precautions to protect its members from the risk of domestic violence in the workplace.
APPENDIX A - DEFINITIONS
In this policy, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
“Act” means the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1.
“domestic violence” has the same meaning as violence, except that the perpetrator and victim are or were in a personal relationship, such as a spouse or former spouse, current or former intimate partner or a family member.
“employee” has the same meaning given to the term “worker” under the Act, where the employer is the University.
“Joint Health and Safety Committee” means the University committee established to fulfill the responsibilities of a committee, as defined under the Act.
“senior administrator” means the president, vice-presidents and university secretary and general counsel.
“student” means individuals registered as undergraduate or graduate students at the University. For the purposes of this policy, a student will be an employee where they meet that definition and are acting within the course of employment.
“supervisor” means a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker.
a) the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, student or visitor on University Property or at a University Event, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker, student or visitor;
b) an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, student or visitor on University Property or at a University Event, that could cause physical injury to the worker, student or visitor; or
c) a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker, student or visitor to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, student or visitor, on University Property or at a University Event, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
The definition of violence includes domestic violence.
“visitor” means anyone attending on University Property or at a University Event who is not a student or worker. For the purposes of this policy, “visitor” does not include contractors, subcontractors or their employees while onsite at a construction project for which the University is not the constructor or employer as defined under the Act.
“University” means the University of Waterloo.
“University Events” means activities or events on or off University Property, which are organized by the University and under the control of University employees.
“University Property” means all real property owned and under the operational control of the University, except that, in the case of employees, University Property will have the same meaning as the term workplace, as defined in the Act.
2.3 UW Specific Programs
2.3.1 Radiation Safety
The Radiation Safety Committee's (RSC) overall responsibility is to monitor all aspects of radionuclide use on campus. The RSC is advisory to the Provost and to the Safety Office and provides the following functions:
- Review in conjunction with the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) uses and locations of radionuclides.
- Recommend additional conditions of use when required to maintain compliance with UW procedures.
- Establish and review the training and experience requirements for users of radionuclides to ensure their duties are safe and in accordance with UW radiation safety procedures.
- Review radiation safety procedures for effectiveness and recommend revisions when necessary.
- Review internal inspection results of radionuclide users and locations to determine if training, authorizations and procedures are appropriate and effective. Recommend remedial action to correct any deficiencies.
- Review reports from the RSO including reports of incidents or unusual occurrences involving radionuclides. Recommend action to correct any deficiencies.
- Monitor radiation safety issues to ensure that they are appropriately addressed by administration.
- Review the RSO's summary report of the occupational radiation exposure records, giving attention to individuals or groups of workers whose occupational exposure appears excessive for their particular work.
- Maintain written records of meetings, actions, incidents or unusual occurrences along with recommendations.
For additional information, questions and comments, please contact the Safety/Env. Health Officer x36268, Commissary Bldg-Room 108C
2.3.2 Bio Safety
The UW Bio Safety Program is responsible for ensuring the safe use of biohazardous material. The program includes the following:
- Grants and Approvals
- Work Procedures
- Waste Disposal
- Health Canada's Infection Control Guidelines
For additional information, questions and comments, please direct it to the Safety/Env. Health Officer x36268, Commissary Bldg-Room 108C
2.3.3 X-Ray Safety
All X-Ray equipment is covered under the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations Respecting X-ray Safety
The Safety Office is responsible for ensuring that these regulations are met. The program includes the following:
- Signs and Labels
For additional information, questions and comments, please direct it to the Safety/Env. Health Officer x36268, Commissary Bldg-Room 108C
2.3.4 Laser Safety
UW Health & Safety Policy 34 requires conformance to health and safety regulations and standards. The UW Laser Safety Program is provided to assist members of the university community to conform to the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, ANSI Z136.1- 1993 and related regulations and standards.
The Laser Safety Program applies to all persons: employees, students and visitors operating or working in proximity to Class 3b or Class 4 lasers. Persons included under this program are identified as Laser Workers. All components of the program are to be completed before a laser worker starts work. The program includes the following:
- Laser Safety Manual
- Laser Safety Video
- Laser Instruction
- Worker Registration
- Laser Inventory
- Medical Surveillance
For additional information, questions and comments, please direct it to the Safety/Env. Health Officer x36268, Commissary Bldg-Room 108C
WHMIS, or Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, is Canada's national standard for communicating information about hazardous workplace products.
The WHMIS program is the result of joint development by federal and provincial governments, industry and labour. Implementing the program was a model of tripartite cooperation among these groups.
WHMIS is incorporated into the Occupational Health and Safety Act and is law in the Province of Ontario. This legislation very broadly states that if you work with, or in proximity to, hazardous materials your employer must take the necessary steps to insure that the information you need to work safely with those hazardous materials is available to you and understood.
Under “University of Waterloo Policy 34, Health, Safety and Environment”, the University insists on compliance with legislative requirements and regulations. UW endeavours to apply the legislation equally to students and employees.
WHMIS provides the information we need to have about the hazardous materials we are working with through a system of:
- distinctive labels
- safety data sheets (SDS), which replace material safety data sheets (MSDS) from WHMIS 1988
- educational programs and specific instruction
Currently, the Safety Office requires all employees to take the on-line training module WHMIS 2015.
By December 1, 2018, the University of Waterloo will have transitioned from WHMIS 1988 to comply with WHMIS 2015 standards. This will include new classification criteria, label requirements, and data sheet requirements.
For additional information, questions and comments, please contact the Safety Training Coordinator x35613, Commissary Bldg-Room 108B
2.3.6 Nano-Materials Safety
Nanotechnology is a fairly new area of study and because of the broad range of possible nanotechnology applications, continued evaluation of the potential health risks associated with exposure to nano-materials is essential to ensure their safe handling. Research has shown that the physicochemical characteristics of particles can influence their effects in biological systems. These characteristics include particle size, shape, surface area, charge, chemical properties, solubility, oxidant generation potential, and degree of agglomeration. Until the results from research studies can fully explain the characteristics of nano-particles that may pose a health risk, precautionary measures are necessary.
Safety training courses for nano-particles do not exist at the University of Waterloo because the effects and safe handling varies dramatically with each particle. Researchers must be fully aware of all potential safety hazards and safe handling before using those nano-particles. Transfers of all dry nano-powders (risk levels 2/3) are to be performed in the departmental nano glove box in E6-3113.
Additional information on handling nano-materials can be found on the following sites:
For additional information, questions and comments, please contact the Safety Training Coordinator x35613, Commissary Bldg-Room 108B.
2.4 Health and Safety Committee, Department of Chemical Engineering
The health and safety aspects of all employment, teaching, and learning activities in the Department are overseen by the Health and Safety Subcommittee (HSS) of the Technical Services Committee (TSC), which acts in an advisory capacity to the Department and its Chair.
The HSS membership consists of the Department Chair; two representatives of the faculty; a representative of the staff and a representative of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association (CEGSA).
The names and telephone extension numbers of the current HSS members can be obtained from Charles Dal Castel (E6-3102, x33311) or Liz Bevan (E6-3032, x32296). The Subcommittee is elected biannually and elects a chair from among its members.
An inspection team drawn from the membership of the Health and Safety Subcommittee (at least one member of the team must be on each inspection), and Safety Representatives of each research group, is responsible for coordinating periodic health and safety inspections and ensuring the documentation of all Chemical Engineering functions and locations, including research laboratories. The checklist, as shown in Table 4 on p. 19, is used as a guide to hazard identification.
Research groups in the Department of Chemical Engineering are encouraged to have their own Group Health and Safety Committee, if the number of personnel warrants it. The supervisor must conduct monthly inspections of his/her work areas based on the items in Table 1. This checklist must be retained for a period of two years.
Table 1: Laboratory Inspection Chemical Engineering
 Note: this definition is the same as the definition of “supervisor” in the Act. The University may revise this definition from time to time to maintain consistency with the Act and will notify the community of such revisions.
 Note: this definition of “violence” is based on the definition of workplace violence under the Act. The University may revise this definition from time to time to maintain consistency with the Act and will notify the community of such revisions.