Reporting health and safety concerns – resources for graduate students

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Graduate students engaged in work or learning activity can be exposed to workplace hazards, particularly during lab work, field work and even while engaging in instruction with students. Under the University’s Health, Safety & Environment Management System (HSEMS), employees and students have a duty to report hazards and to work safely.

Your orientation and training should outline the work practices, procedures and controls in place to avoid exposure to hazards such as chemicals, hazardous energy, mechanical hazards, or even workplace violence. However, if you identify a safety issue or uncontrolled hazard, you should report it to your supervisor as soon as possible.

The University also has several other resources and supports to get information or assistance in resolving a health and safety issue in your work:

  • The Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) is an advisory group of worker, management, and student representatives. They are available to receive health and safety concerns and can support workers in reporting safety hazards. A JHSC is active on each of our campuses - graduate students can contact the GSA or another JHSC member by locating their information on the JHSC member listing on the Safety Office website.
  • The departmental Health and Safety Coordinator (HSC) is a specialized safety resource designated by a Department Head to co-ordinate health and safety activities and advise on compliance and other matters.  HSCs are not health and safety professionals however they receive training and have expertise and operational skills and experience that enables them to effectively support the department and its personnel. They act as agents who collaborate with their department management and the Safety Office to fulfill the employer’s obligation to prevent injury and illness. Get to know the Health & Safety Coordinator in your department – a list is available on the Safety Office website.
  • The Safety Office establishes health and safety requirements, monitors compliance, provides training and supports workplace parties in injury and illness prevention. The various programs and procedures on the Safety Office website can inform you about safety and training requirements, and specific controls or procedures related to various types of hazards.
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