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Strategic Plan

February 2013


Beginning in June 2012 and in connection with the mid-cycle review of the University’s strategic plan (the “Sixth Decade Plan”), all members of the Safety Office have been engaged in augmenting the planning that was undertaken originally for the Sixth Decade Plan. The planning proceeded according to criteria set by the Secretary of the University in the following statement preparation stages:

Through discussion and thought this exercise has enabled the Safety Office to focus resources and efforts to support, in particular, the University’s following “enabling goals” as articulated in the Sixth Decade Plan:

Plan performance will include measuring against these “enabling goals” to ensure the plan is dynamic and responds to the evolving ongoing service requirements of the University.    


The Safety Office at the University of Waterloo (the “University”) is dedicated to:

  1. Supporting the achievement of the University’s strategic goals through the delivery of effective, efficient, and comprehensive health, safety and environmental program services;
  1. Facilitating successful endeavors by all members of the University community through providing advice on establishing the healthiest and safest work and educational environment reasonably attainable; and
  1. 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


  1. The Safety Office shall realize its purposes by leading the development, implementation and management of a comprehensive health, safety and environment program which supports the achievement of the University’s strategic goals, principally in the following core areas:
  1. Fostering and maintaining a health, safety and environment management system that addresses risk management and legal compliance.

Ongoing Projects

Project Iniatives (Timeline)

  1. Program services apply to all uWaterloo workplaces in Canada. Services for the Federated University and Affiliated Colleges (FUAC) do not include program compliance components and are limited to training and advising as FUAC are non uWaterloo workplaces.

Services are funded to University’s compliance requirements.

  1. Establish funding model based on the Safety Office being resourced appropriately to support achievement of the University’s strategic goals. (2013)
  1. 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, uWaterloo's relevant policies, procedures and reporting requirements.

Faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors share responsibility for health, safety and environment under an internal responsibility system based on the principle that everyone; from senior administration to workers and students are in the best position to identify problems and to develop solutions.

  1. Support Deloitte Internal Audit review of Lab Programs for successful outcome and respond to recommendations. (2013)

Complete management response to recommendations. (2014)


  1. Annually HSE Compliance Reports are collected from higher risk academic support departments (Central Stores, IST, Library, Plant Operations, FEDS and Ancillaries) and all Faculty departments.
  1. Extend to all academic support departments of 5 or more persons. (2014)
  1. Maintain Faculty/Department Health and Safety Co-ordinators/Committees list annually.
  1. Update list changes as notified by departments and verify every term. (2013)
  1. Orientation Training;
    1. Undergrad Students - mandatory online safety course:
      • Arts and Math - students with lab/shop/studio component
      • AHS, Engineering, Environment and Science – all students
    2. Grad Students
      • Employee Safety Orientation booklet distribution by Graduate Student Association
      • Engineering Expectations April and Sept. Safety Session
    3. Employees - Safety Orientation booklet distribution by Human Resources Dept.
    4. Faculty/Department Health and Safety Co ordinators and supervision – lecture format training
    5. Health and Safety Committees and Representatives – Orientation Guide and review with Safety Office staff
    6. Department Heads - Chairs’ Forums organized by OHD
  1. Update over twenty year old video content. (2015)



  1. Orientation booklet revised for GHS revision. (2015)



  1. Increase courses from 2 to 3 times per year. (2013)


  1. HSEMS Section 2.5 “Officers of the University, as defined in Section 2.1 are responsible for: 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.”

The Senior Management Health and Safety Committee has been Secretary of the University; VP Adm. & Fin., Associate Provost, Human Resources and Director of Safety as resource person.
Such a committee is a requirement under Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Workwell and HSE Management  Systems Standards.

  1. Review ongoing senior management participation and consider adding Associate Provost, Students due to higher risk depts. reporting to this position. (2013)
  1. HSEMS Section 2.6 h. “Assisting the Director of Safety or designate with conducting a periodic comprehensive Health, Safety and Environment review.”
  1. Start process in Engineering in preparation for Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board review. (2013)
  1. HSEMS Section 2.6 h .“Supervisors of Contractors and Sub-Contractors”.
  1. Review of the hiring and oversight  of contractors. (2015)
  1. HSEMS Section 2.11 b.” Preparing an annual report on uWaterloo's Health, Safety and Environment Program, which includes an assessment of Faculty/departmental compliance with the HSEMS;”
  1. Review to determine whether to resource appropriately and/or revise this section’s requirement. (2013)
  1. Managing occupational health and safety with a focus on committees/representatives and unit co-ordinators, training, safety regulations, designated substances, biological and chemical agents, hygiene, and technical standards.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  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 on behalf of uWaterloo to mitigate enforcement actions by Ministry of Labour (MOL).
  1. Additional Safety Officer will enable more focus on inspections, training and department reviews. (2013)

Add Inspection module to Parklane database. (2013)

  1. Support Joint Health & Safety Committees (JHSCs) or Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) in each workplace.
    • Main Campus
    • Architecture
    • Gage Avenue
    • Health Sciences Campus
    • Fire & Asphalt Research
    • Stratford Campus

Provide training, including certification, and resource persons, organize inspections, monitor and follow up on responses to JHSCs and HSR recommendations.

  1. Additional Safety Officer to support JHSCs and HSRs to ensure inspections are completed according to requirements. (2013)

Add Inspection module to Parklane database. (2013)

  1. Organize HSE training to ensure depts. 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.

Annually review HSE Training Program

  1. Resolve Safety Office online web based training not being supported by uWaterloo webpage standard. (2014)




Consider Adding Defensive Driving. (2015)

  1. Safety Regulations
    1. Construction Projects
      Monitor Plant Operations resolution with any compliance matters.

    2. Industrial Establishments
      Monitor department compliance through inspections and reviews
    3. Window Cleaning
      Monitor contractor compliance with Plant Operations
    4. Diving
      Monitor under Fieldwork
    5. Roll-over Protective Structures
      Monitor department compliance through inspections and reviews
    6. Confined Spaces
      Provide training and monitor department compliance through inspections and reviews
    7. Designated Substances including Asbestos
      Maintain required programs
      Monitor Plant Operations’ facilities inventory program for compliance
      Provide guidance to labs on appropriate use
    8. Biological and Chemical Agents
      Monitor to ensure departments limit exposures appropriately.
  1. Hygiene – Provide expertise to departments including the identification, evaluation and control of hazards.
    1. Indoor Air Quality
      Monitor through Plant Opeations. Assist departments with arranging assessments.
    2. Smoking
      Monitor compliance with Policy #29 and assist departments with resolving issues.
    3. Food
      Maintain Public Health requirements with Occupational Health nurse and advise departments on requirements.

ii. and  iii.

Public Health jurisdiction. Review reassignment. (2014)

  1. WHMIS
    Monitor department compliance with Right to Know labeling, MSDSs and area specific training.
    Provide generic training.
  1. Canada planning to revise WHMIS under Globally Harmonized System (GHS) in early 2014 with implementation synchronized with the USA.

This will require replacement of uWaterloo produced video and training programs for students and employees. (2015)

  1. 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.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Provide lab safety program and expertise which includes:
    1. confirm grant conditions required by legislation and regulatory agencies;
    2. review lab space and maintain inventory for monitoring and conducting regulatory inspections;
    3. ensure surveillance, hazard identification, and risk evaluation of laboratory related activities;
    4. assess requirements for lab users training and lab safety procedures; and
    5. review reports related to laboratory safety services, activities, incidents, and interventions in laboratory areas.
  1. Additional Safety Officer to support lab program. (2013)

Support Deloitte Internal Audit review of HSE Programs for successful outcome and respond to recommendations. (2013)

Complete management response to recommendations. (2014)

  1. Support Laboratory Safety Committee (LSC) and sub committees.


  1. Specific Lab Hazards
  1. Radiation
    Obtain Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) license. Arrange permits for work with radioisotopes and radiation emitting devices. Assess radiation exposure. Arrange disposal. Training includes:
    • Radiation Open Source Practical
    • Radiation Open Source Theory
    • Radiation Sealed Source Practical
    • Radiation Sealed Source Theory
    • Radiation TDG
  2. Biosafety
    Review and approve research projects. Arrange permits for work protocols and biohazard acquisitions. Regulate disposal. Training includes:
    • Biosafety Practical
    • Biosafety Theory
  3. Lasers
    Arrange permits. Training includes:
    • Laser Safety Practical
    • Laser Safety Theory
  4. X-Ray
    Arrange MOL approval for equipment permit. Training includes:

    • X-ray Safety Practical
    • X-ray Safety Theory
  5. Chemical including Nano
    Training is covered under WHMIS


  1. Implement  new Regulations. (2014)
  1. Nano risks is evolving area that requires monitoring. WHMIS being replaced by Globally Harmonized  System (GHS)
    uWaterloo should have comparable inventory and safety information records (MSDS) as at other Ontario research universities. (2015)
  1. Fieldwork
    Provide guidance to researchers and maintain fieldwork risk mgt. documents.
    Monitor department compliance.

  1. Chemical Weapons Treaty and Gov’t Depts. Safety Conditions Monitor uWaterloo compliance and report to government authorities.
  1. Handling workers’ compensation compliance, including injury prevention and reporting, first aid and ergonomics.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Manage WSIB claims administration functions including: injury reporting, accommodation (modified work, rehabilitation) and appeal hearings to ensure overall costs are minimized under financial incentives (rebates & surcharges) in WSIB NEER and Workwell programs.

This includes maintaining Parklane records database which is linked to PeopleSoft myHRinfo.
Monitor department compliance with WSIB requirements.

  1. Injuries predominately occur in areas that report to:
    • Associate Provost, Students
    • VP Adm.& Fin.

Engage these senior administrators in ensuring appropriate injury prevention and accommodation resources are allocated in their reporting depts. (2013)

  1. Address uWaterloo’s higher injury frequency/severity amongst universities. uWaterloo has more higher risk employees (food/bar services, custodians, housekeepers, trades) than at many other Ontario universities (due to contracting out). Safety Office prevention resources are focused on the higher risk depts in accordance with WSIB Workwell and management system best practices.
  1. Extend WSIB Workwell and management system best practices beyond higher risk areas.

All remaining academic support depts. (2014)

Academic Depts. (2015)

  1. Unpaid Learners Program (MTCU)
    Advise departments on recording of placements. Report placement injuries to WSIB and MTCU’s insurer.
  1. MTCU reports planning to revise system in 2013.

Safety Office will adjust afterwards. (2013)

  1. First Aid
    Protect workers and students from health and safety hazards according to ergonomic standards with assessments and training.
    Manages facilities and training according to WSIB regulation.
  1. Ergonomics
    Protect workers and students from health and safety hazards according to ergonomic standards with assessments and training.
    Monitor departments for compliance.
  1. Implement participatory employee and supervisor program and training. (2014)
  1. Providing planning and training in fire prevention and advising on emergency preparedness.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Develop and maintain fire prevention and life safety program that includes:
    1. liaison with authorities having jurisdiction (fire depts.)
    2. fire safety plans
    3. inspections and enforcement
    4. training fire supervisory staff (ex. fire wardens, dons)
    5. drills
    6. fire extinguisher selection
    7. fire/alarm investigations
  1. Update Simplified Risk Assessment for Waterloo Fire Rescue. (2013)

Complete fire safety plans review for all buildings. (2013)

  1. Develop and provide all emergency procedures information such as posters including:
    1. First aid
    2. Fire
    3. Lockdown
    4. Lab Hazards
  1. Respond to emergencies under uWaterloo Policy #60.
    Provide liaison with authorities having jurisdiction for municipal plans.
  1. Participate in planned revision of City of Waterloo Emergency Plan. (2014)

With Police Services develop Lockdown procedures and training. (2013)

  1. Managing environmental protection measures, the disposal of hazardous waste and the transportation of dangerous goods.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Emissions
    Monitor Ministry of Environment (MOE) Certificates of Approval through Plant Operations.
  1. Spills Emergency Response
    Maintain spills team for hazardous materials.
    Arrange external response on retainer. Report spills to the environment.
    Safety Office monitors departments compliance with requirements.
  1. Spills Team review. (2014)
  1. Hazardous Waste
    Arrange disposal according to regulations from the following sites:
  1. Main Campus
  2. Health Sciences Campus
  3. School of Architecture
  4. Huntsville
  5. Fire Research Centre, Wilmot Township
  6. Field Research, CFB Borden, Simcoe

Operate Environmental Safety Facilities in ESC (main facility), DWE, E6 and PHR under a collaborative agreement with an academic department (Chemistry) minimizing resource requirements which includes:

  1. administration;
  2. MOE HWIN registration;
  3. maintenance;
  4. vehicle requirements for transportation of hazardous materials;
  5. inform and instruct users in proper practices;
  6. receiving, treatment and packing biological, chemical and radioactive materials;
  7. maintain records of materials received and shipped according to regulations; and
  8. arrange hazardous waste contractors.
  1. Transportation of Dangerous Goods
    Provides training for employees under regulations (Central Stores and researchers) on classification of goods for shipping, documentation and standards. Complete declaration of convention compliance.
  1. Advising on public safety with respect to grounds and facilities, with a focus on events, personal safety and violence prevention.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Grounds and Facilities
    Maintain hazard reporting system
    Monitor compliance
  1. Children
    Provide guidance to departments and monitor compliance with uWaterloo Guideline “Children’s Camps on Campus”.
  1. Events (ex. Orientation, Competitions, Convocation)
    Provide expertise to organizers and monitor compliance.
  1. Personal Safety
    Administer funding under Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities grant for programs that address safety and security needs of women workers and students.
    Arrange and conduct campus personal safety reviews.
  1. 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.


  1. To achieve the above, the Safety Office will:
  1. 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.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Service requests (in person, phone or electronic) are assigned according to referral guide based on subject knowledge.
  1. Staff shall promptly advise inquirers how their inquiry will be handled.
  1. Feedback from the University community is encouraged and welcomed.
  1. Any reported concerns are investigated and improvements made as necessary.
  1. Interactions are conducted with awareness to the University’s cultural, religious and personal diversity.
  1. Development and maintenance of positive collaborations and partnerships with departments, agencies and organizations is insisted upon.
  1. 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.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Application and adherence to uWaterloo’s Policy #34 and Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS) ensures reasonable conformance
  1. Compliance records are maintained according to WatCLASS.
  1. Training records are maintained in Quest (students) and myHRinfo (employees).
  1. Liaise with Police Services, Plant Operations, Secretariat, Finance Risk Manager and Health Services on program compliance.
  1. Direct assurance of statutory compliance, define standards and resolve concerns with sound judgment, tact, integrity and diplomacy.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

Maintain positive relationships with statutory agencies including Fire Depts., MOL, MOE, Env. Canada, WSIB, PSHSA, Health Canada and CNSC.
Endeavour to promptly resolve of 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.

Adjust to effects of Bill 160 revision of Occupational Health and Safety Act.

  • Transfer of prevention system from WSIB to MOL.
  • MOL enforcement strategy. (2013)
  1. Assist in the management (as opposed to the avoidance) of risks associated with academic and research creativity and innovation.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

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.

  1. Monitor unit-specific due diligence and compliance through proactive performance measurement indicators.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

Maintain occurrence records and report on outcomes.

Determine appropriate leading performance indicators. (2014)
  1. To support accomplishment of its purposes the Safety Office will:
  1. Use the best communication media available.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)
  1. Publications
    Provide and maintain comprehensive technically accurate HSE booklets, posters and signage in an appropriate format for the intended users.
  1. Webpages
    Provide and maintain comprehensive technically accurate web based information (over 1,200 pages) in an appropriate format for the intended users.
  1. Webpages conversion to uWaterloo standard webpages.
  1. Training Records
    Maintain accurate myHRinfo and web based information for access by attendees, supervisors and department.
  1. myHRinfo access improvement.
  1. Communication Devices
    Provide appropriate equipment (computers, phones, etc.) to ensure Safety Office staff can respond promptly and effectively to service requests.
  1. Develop SharePoint site if supported by IST.
  1. Entrench quality and innovation as requirements to improve effectiveness and efficiency in processes and services, in the planning and execution of its responsibilities.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

Safety Office staff are expected to maintain the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior. This is consistently reinforced through staff meetings and reviews.

  1. Foster staff development and well-being while cultivating teamwork and a continuous learning environment.
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

The proper skills, knowledge and abilities for Safety Office staff to perform their roles will be maintained, monitored and improved through:

  1. appropriate training and courses to be current with HSE regulations and best practices, particularly in their area of responsibility.
  2. supporting career and professional development according to Policy 18.
  3. staff involvement in professional organizations encouraged and currently includes:
  • Council of Environmental Health and Safety Officers – Universities of Ontario
  • Risk Management Committee of Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO)
  • University Biosafety Officers
  • Canadian Radiation Protection Association
  • Ontario College & University Fire Safety Association
  • Ontario Kinesiology Association
  • Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals
  • Ontario Hygiene Assocation

Revise Safety Officer job descriptions and career paths. (2013)


Ensure all program areas have alternate staff member with subject competency. (2013)

Plan for orderly transfer to new Director of Safety. (2013)


  1. Minimize resource consumption
Ongoing Projects Project Initiatives (Timeline)

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 depts.
  • Coordinating travel and site visits to handle multiple tasks when possible and minimize overall time requirements.
  • Maintaining financial planning and control according to uWaterloo requirements and maintain a minimum of one over signature review of purchases or payments.