For the past two years, the Safety Office has fully engaged in meeting the goals, purposes and enabling projects outlined in our 2013-2017 Strategic Plan, in an effort to actively support the themes of the University’s overarching Strategic Plan.
In conducting a review at the halfway point of the plan, the Safety Office drew upon four themes of particular relevance to our core functions that we believed would guide us in renewing our goals:
- Experiential Education
- Transformational Research
- Robust Employer-Employee Relationship
- A Sound Value System
In examining these themes, the Safety Office revisited its established purposes and means to determine whether those reflected the strategic plan, and considered how we would continue to achieve them in the remaining two years of the plan. Finally, projects that are motivated by and lend support to our purposes and support movement along the path of excellence were identified, along with projected timelines to complete them.
As a reporting unit to the Secretariat of the University of Waterloo, we align ourselves with a focus on the enabling goals contained in the university’s strategic plan, in particular, to improve the environment in which members of the university community undertake their daily activities, and to serve the community to facilitate the pursuit of excellence.
The Safety Office at the University of Waterloo is dedicated to:
- Supporting the achievement of the university’s strategic goals through the delivery of effective, efficient, and comprehensive health, safety and environmental program services;
- Facilitating successful endeavours by all members of the University community through providing advice on establishing the healthiest and safest work and educational environment reasonably attainable; and
- Ensuring that persons accountable for University operations are fully and properly informed of the legal and regulatory health, safety and environmental compliance risks and requirements, and providing advice to those persons on those risks and requirements,
all through a prudent use of resources and at costs reasonably consistent with those incurred by comparable institutions.
Means to fulfil Safety Office purposes and the projects to establish those means
The Safety Office shall realize its purposes by leading the development, implementation and management of a comprehensive health, safety and environment (HSE) program which supports the achievement of the university’s strategic goals, principally in the following core areas.
In the boxes following each entry below, specific projects to be undertaken during the term of this strategic plan are identified.
Fostering and maintaining a health, safety and environment management system that addresses risk management and legal compliance.
1. Program services apply to all uWaterloo workplaces in Canada. Services for the Federated University and Affiliated Colleges (FUAC) are limited to training and advising. Services are funded to University’s compliance requirements.
2. Under uWaterloo Policy #34 provide the framework through uWaterloo’s Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS) to enable University compliance with health, safety and environment legislation and to address risk management. Apprise members of the campus community of their duties and responsibilities with respect to legislation, University policies, procedures and reporting requirements.
3. Maintain and support a network of Faculty/Department Health and Safety Coordinators/Committees.
4. Provide Orientation training to employees, students, health and safety representatives and management.
5. Provide resources to Senior Management Health and Safety committee as appointed by the Vice-President, Academic, & Provost, responsible for advising, at least annually, the Officers of the University on the overall health and safety performance of the University.
6. Coordinate annual Faculty/Department HSE Compliance self-report, and conduct periodic comprehensive HSEMS reviews.
7. Ensure that Supervisors of contractors and sub-contractors are apprised of their responsibilities, and establish a compliance program.
8. Prepare an annual report on uWaterloo's Health, Safety and Environment Program, including assessment of Faculty/Department compliance with the HSEMS.
Managing occupational health and safety with a focus on programs, committees/representatives and unit coordinators, training, safety regulations, designated substances, biological and chemical agents, hygiene and technical standards.
1. Provide oversight on compliance duties of employer, owner, constructor, supervisors and workers for protection of workers against health and safety hazards. Managers are held accountable for exercising management functions and carrying out duties specified under the OHSA.
2. Develop and maintain health and safety programs.
3. Support Joint Health & Safety Committees (JHSCs) or Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) in each uWaterloo workplace by providing training and resource persons, maintaining member Certifications, organizing inspections, monitoring and following up on responses to JHSC and HSR recommendations.
4. Develop and provide HSE training to ensure departments meet regulatory requirements to:
- provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker;
- when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person; and
- acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard.
5. Ensure compliance with safety regulations (Federal and Provincial) including:
- Construction projects
- Industrial establishments
- Window cleaning
- Roll-over protective structures
- Confined spaces
- Designated substances including Asbestos
- Biological and chemical agents
6. Occupational Hygiene – Provide expertise to departments including the identification, evaluation and control of hazards.
7. WHMIS - Provide training resources and monitor compliance with labelling and MSDS.
Supporting research and teaching in laboratories, studios, shops, fieldwork and other like facilities and equipment, with a particular concern for biosafety, radiation, lasers, x-rays and chemicals.
1. Provide lab safety program and expertise which includes:
- confirm grant conditions required by legislation and regulatory agencies;
- review lab space and maintain inventory for monitoring and conducting regulatory inspections;
- ensure surveillance, hazard identification, and risk evaluation of laboratory related activities;
- assess requirements for lab users training and lab safety procedures; and
- review reports related to laboratory safety services, activities, incidents, and interventions in laboratory areas.
2. Support Laboratory Safety Committee (LSC) and sub committees.
3. Develop, support and maintain Laboratory Safety Programs (Radiation, Biosafety, Lasers, X-Ray, Chemical, Nanomaterials)
4. Maintain Fieldwork risk management program
5. Chemical weapons treaty and government departments, safety conditions, monitor uWaterloo compliance and report to government authorities.
Handling Workers' Compensation compliance, including injury prevention and reporting, first aid and ergonomics.
1. Manage WSIB claims administration functions including: injury reporting, accommodation and appeal hearings to ensure overall costs are minimized under financial incentives in WSIB NEER and Workwell programs.
2. Monitor and address injury frequency/severity performance through focused prevention efforts on higher risk areas in accordance with management system best practices.
3. Unpaid Learners Program (MTCU): Manage program, provide guidance on coverage and report placement statistics and injuries to WSIB and MTCU.
4. First Aid: Manage facilities and training according to WSIB regulation.
5. Ergonomics: Protect workers from health and safety hazards according to ergonomic standards with assessments and training. Monitor departments for compliance.
Providing planning and training in fire prevention and advising on emergency preparedness.
1. Develop and maintain fire prevention and life safety program that includes:
- Liaison with authorities having jurisdiction (fire departments.)
- Fire safety plans
- Inspections and enforcement
- Training fire supervisory staff (fire wardens, dons)
- Conducting Drills
- Fire extinguisher selection
- Fire/alarm investigations
2. Develop and provide all emergency procedures information.
3. Respond to emergencies under uWaterloo Policy #60 and Emergency Response Plan and provide liaison with authorities having jurisdiction for municipal plans.
Managing environmental protection measures, the disposal of hazardous waste and the transportation of dangerous goods.
1. Emissions: Monitor Ministry of Environment (MOE) Certificates of Approval through Plant Operations.
2. Provide internal/external central laboratory Emergency Spills Response, maintain trained spills team, and report spills to the environment to MoE. Monitor University compliance with requirements.
3. Hazardous waste
Arrange disposal according to regulations from all uWaterloo sites generating hazardous waste.
4. Operate Environmental Safety Facilities in ESC (main facility), Douglas Wright Engineering (DWE), Engineering 6 and PHR which includes:
- MOE HWIN registration;
- vehicle requirements for transportation of hazardous materials;
- inform and instruct users in proper practices;
- receiving, treatment and packing biological, chemical and radioactive materials;
- maintain records of materials received and shipped according to regulations; and
- arrange hazardous waste contractors.
5. Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Provide training for employees under regulations on classification of goods for shipping, documentation and standards. Complete declaration of convention compliance.
Advising on public safety with respect to grounds and facilities, with a focus on events, personal safety and violence prevention.
1. Grounds and Facilities: Maintain hazard reporting system and monitor compliance with standards.
2. Children: Provide guidance to departments and monitor compliance with uWaterloo Guideline “Children’s Camps on Campus”.
3. Events: Provide expertise to organizers and monitor compliance for major events (e.g. Orientation, Competitions, Convocation)
4. Personal safety: Consult on project approval for funding under Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities grant for programs that address safety and security needs of women workers and students. Consult on campus personal safety reviews and establish priority projects with Police Services and Equity Office.
5. Violence prevention: Provide and implement with departments preventative measures which include:
- training and information on violence prevention to employees
- arrange risk assessment for the identification and implementation of physical or administrative controls in a work area to reduce the risk of violence.
- consult in Violence Risk Assessment cases.
To achieve the above, the Safety Office will:
Serve as the principal resource for the University community in relevant subject areas, and will act as that resource in a professional, responsive, reliable, courteous and timely manner, maintaining core values of collaboration, partnership, respect and trust, all delivered through a service-oriented culture to continuously meet the needs of members of the University community.Project initiatives (timeline)
- Service requests are assigned according to referral guide based on subject knowledge and expertise.
- Staff shall promptly advise clients how their inquiry will be handled.
- Feedback from the University community is encouraged and welcomed.
- Any reported concerns are investigated and improvements made as necessary.
- Interactions are conducted with awareness to the University’s cultural, religious and personal diversity.
- Development and maintenance of positive collaborations and partnerships with departments, agencies and organizations is insisted upon.
Facilitate a system of internal responsibility by ensuring that units of the University are informed of their responsibilities under the health, safety and environment program and are held accountable.
- Application and adherence to uWaterloo’s Policy #34 and Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS) ensures reasonable conformance
- Compliance records are maintained according to WatCLASS.
- Training records are maintained in Quest (students) and myHRinfo (employees).
- Liaise with Police Services, Plant Operations, Secretariat, Finance and Health Services on program compliance.
Direct assurance of statutory compliance, define standards and resolve concerns with sound judgment, tact, integrity and diplomacy.
- Maintain positive relationships with statutory agencies including Fire Depts., MOL, MOE, Env. Canada, WSIB, PSHSA, Health Canada and CNSC.
- Endeavour to promptly resolve any regulatory matters.
- Where statutory compliance is unresolved the senior administrator accountable for the area is duly informed and assisted with determining an appropriate resolution.
Assist in the management, as opposed to the avoidance, of risks associated with academic and research creativity and innovation.
- Through HSE network (committees, co-ordinators, etc.) maintain positive relationships (an open and accepting atmosphere) to encourage information sharing during planning.
- Ensure Safety Office staff are available to assist with prescribing appropriate protective measures.
Monitor unit-specific due diligence and compliance through proactive performance measurement indicators.
- Maintain occurrence records and report on outcomes.
To support accomplishment of its purposes, the Safety Office will:
Use the best communication media available.
Provide and maintain comprehensive technically accurate HSE booklets, posters and signage in an appropriate format for the intended users.
- Web pages
Provide and maintain comprehensive technically accurate web based information (over 1,200 pages) in an appropriate format for the intended users.
- Training records
Maintain accurate myHRinfo and web based information for access by attendees, supervisors and department.
- Communication devices
Provide appropriate equipment (computers, phones, etc.) to ensure Safety Office staff can respond promptly and effectively to service requests.
Entrench quality and innovation as requirements to improve effectiveness and efficiency in processes and services, in the planning and execution of its responsibilities.
Safety Office staff are expected to maintain the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior.
Foster staff development and well-being while cultivating teamwork and a continuous learning environment.
The proper skills, knowledge and abilities for Safety Office staff to perform their roles will be maintained, monitored and improved through:
- appropriate training and courses to be current with HSE regulations and best practices.
- support career and professional development according to Policy 18.
- membership in HSE professional organizations encouraged
Minimize resource consumption
The following is consistently reinforced through Safety Office staff meetings and reviews:
- Maximizing collaboration on use of space and equipment within office and with other departments.
- Coordinating travel and site visits to handle multiple tasks and minimize overall time requirements.
- Maintaining financial planning and control according to uWaterloo requirements.