Roles and responsibilities

The Environmental Health and Safety Service is comprised of the following groups:

Occupational Health and Safety

Provides technical expertise and support to ensure compliance with the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and its Regulations by staff and students at the University:

Principal activities include:

  • Promotes health and safety principles, and prevention strategies
  • Interprets the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations
  • Oversees activities of the health and safety management system
  • Conducts safety assessments and evaluations
  • Investigates incidents and accidents, and other safety-related concerns and complaints
  • Manages the sectoral and University health and safety committees
  • Provides applicable training
  • Reports to Ministry of Labour regarding areas of non-compliance, critical injuries, work stoppages, etc
Biosafety

Provides technical expertise and support to ensure a safe working / learning environment and monitors for compliance to federal and provincial legislation / guidelines pertaining to biohazards (including those of Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

Principal activities

• Approves research proposals for funding applications
• Advises on proper documentation and packaging for transport of biohazards
• Approves work protocols involving biohazards via the [Biohazardous Materials Use Certificate]
• Approves biohazardous material acquisitions
• Provides technical and compliance expertise to the Biosafety Committee
• Evaluates and assesses projects involving the storage, use, handling and disposal of new organisms, e.g., prions, transgenic organisms, human stem cells
• Regulates methods of biohazardous waste disposal
• Provides applicable training

Radiation Safety

Provides technical expertise and support to ensure compliance with federal and provincial regulations pertaining to the use, handling and disposal of radioactive materials at facilities incorporated under the University of Ottawa Radioisotope Licence issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Principal activities

  • Approves applications for work with radioisotopes and radiation-emitting devices, as well as the purchase of materials
  • Provides radiation safety training
  • Conducts radiation safety inspections of laboratories
  • Advises on radioactive decontamination
  • Manages laboratory decommissioning in accordance with CNSC guidelines
  • Manages laser and x-ray safety programs
  • Manages radioactive material waste handling, transport and disposal
  • Manages the transport of radioactive materials
Environmental Management

Provides technical expertise and support to ensure compliance with federal and provincial regulations pertaining to the environment, both on and off campus.

Principal activities

  • Prepares certificates of approvals for equipment emitting substances that are controlled by provincial and/or federal regulations
  • Evaluates the need for environmental consulting services, provides guidelines for work to be performed, and evaluates reports
  • Conducts pre-building assessments to determine compliance with applicable regulatory standards
  • Manages the hazardous waste disposal program
  • Conducts random sampling of University sewers to ensure compliance with city by-law
  • Oversees environmental sampling conducted on University property
  • Coordinate the emergency plan;
  • Ensure compliance to controlled products regulation;
  • Develops and implements environmental management practices
Laboratory Safety

Provide technical expertise and support to ensure compliance with regulations with respect to activities in laboratories and laboratory design.

Principal activities

  • Provides laboratory safety training
  • Audits laboratory facilities for safety compliance
  • Advises on the safe use of fume hoods and other ventilation devices
  • Advises on personal protective equipment appropriate for laboratories
  • Oversees chemical waste disposal management program
  • Provides electronic access to material safety data sheets
  • Conducts pre-building assessments to determine compliance with applicable lab building standards, including Part 4 of the Ontario Fire Code.
  • Advises on proper documentation and packaging for transport of chemicals
Risk Management

The University of Ottawa has developed a formal risk management framework that is applied to the University as a whole.  This involves the identification and evaluation of risks, the development of risk reduction and mitigation measures, as well as the verification of the effectiveness of these measures.  The University's Risk Management Manual is available electronically.

Insurance

The University of Ottawa has a comprehensive insurance program which provides financial assistance to the University in the event of a large loss.  It is not safe to assume that the insurance program will provide coverage for all participants in all activities.  In certain activities, such as those that are high-risk or one-off, the University may need to obtain additional specific insurance.

If you have any questions about the University’s insurance coverage, whether a specific activity is covered, or if you have a potential claim to make, please contact us.

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