Policies and Administration
Statement of Commitment to Health and Safety
Acadia University has established a healthy, safe campus community as one of its values in the University Strategic Plan. This value will be respected through the implementation of an effective Health & Safety Management System.
The University and all employees have a responsibility to comply with the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act and all applicable regulations.
All University faculty and staff have a responsibility for their own health and safety, and for the health and safety of others. Everyone has a duty to report, as soon as possible, all hazardous conditions, injuries, illnesses, and near misses related to the workplace. Everyone is encouraged to offer suggestions or ideas to improve health and safety on campus.
Managers and supervisors are directly responsible for maintaining a safe workplace and for ensuring that the employees under their supervision comply with our Health & Safety Management System. Department heads and directors, managers, supervisors, and all employees must take all reasonable care to ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, students, and others who enter our University community.
To ensure that we maintain a safe and healthy work environment, Acadia University commits to working in a spirit of consultation and cooperation with all employees, through our Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee and its sub-committees. They play a critical role in our health and safety success.
This OHS System and Nova Scotia OHS Legislation are founded on the Internal Responsibility System (or IRS). Under the IRS, everyone in the workplace shares in the responsibility for health and safety. The IRS is based on the following six points:
- Every individual in our University workplaces has the responsibility to participate in identifying OHS problems and seek solutions.
- Everyone, at every level, is involved and included in the IRS.
- Everyone's goal must be the same: the protection of life and Health, and the elimination of accidental loss to facilities, equipment, and other aspects of our work environment.
- Open communication is essential. There must be no secrets when it comes to health and safety!
- Rather than wait until injuries and illnesses occur, everyone should proactively seek to identify hazards and take appropriate action to prevent losses.
- For the IRS to function effectively, everyone must be held accountable.
The IRS is the "people framework" within this OHS System. For the system to be successful, the IRS must work like a problem-solving machine. Each person's mission is to identify hazards and opportunities for safety improvement.
Issues should always be dealt with at the lowest possible level. If you're unable to deal with a problem or opportunity because of a lack of authority, resources, knowledge or experience, then report it upwards to the next level. Don't pass the buck! Continue to help solve the problem.
Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Sub-committee members assist in managing health and safety by recommending, advising, and monitoring the effectiveness of this OHS system. JOHSC and Sub-committee members must not be viewed as Safety Cops! Safety is everyone's job, and everyone has individual responsibilities.
Employees have the right to know about hazards in the workplace and to be provided with the information, instruction, and training necessary to protect their health and safety. This openness is essential, so that people can do a better job identifying problems and opportunities for improvement.
Employees have the right to refuse dangerous work, where the employee has reasonable grounds for believing that the act is likely to endanger the employee's health or safety or the health or safety of any other person.
Most safety concerns should be resolved through open communications. If a work refusal does occur, it's an indication that the IRS may not be working properly.
Employees have the right to participate, but that doesn't refer to direct participation in health and safety. Direct participation of each employee is expected through the concept of the IRS. The right to participate really means that employees are entitled to participate in the management of health and safety, through the JOHSC and Sub-committees.
Contractors are important partners in providing and maintaining services on our campus. Contractors are responsible for working safely and meeting the same high standards for OHS that we set for ourselves.
As expressed in our Statement of Commitment to Health & Safety:
"Acadia University has established a healthy, safe campus community as one of its values in the University Strategic Plan. This value will be respected through the implementation of an effective Health & Safety Management System."
The intent of Acadia's Health and Safety Management System, or OHS System is to eliminate or control risks, and its success depends on each person knowing and fulfilling his or her responsibilities for health and safety.
These statements are intended to outline the general distribution of authority, responsibility and accountability for occupational health and safety (OHS) at Acadia University.
Responsibility is the obligation or duty an individual has to do get things done.
Authority, on the other hand, can be defined as the power that an individual has to act and to get others to do things. Ultimately, the authority and responsibility for OHS at Acadia University lies with the Board of Governors and cascades down the organization by way of delegation.
Accountability means determining if individuals properly exercise their authority and carry out their responsibilities. Accountability requires clearly defined standards against which performance can be evaluated. Accountability tends to flow back up the organizational structure.
These three attributes - responsibility, authority, and accountability - go hand-in-hand. All three must be present and defined for each level within the University organization so that the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) can function effectively.
The management of health and safety is not an optional extra to existing management and supervisory activities. In order for this OHS System to be successful, it must be fully integrated into all other management activities. Each level within our organization has an obligation and a responsibility to those reporting to them, and accountability to those whom they report to with respect to health and safety.
The NS Occupational Health and Safety Act and relevant regulations are the guiding documents that define specific health and safety responsibilities for the University and its faculty and staff.
The Governors and the Officers of Acadia: Every Governor and every Officer of Acadia shall take all reasonable care to ensure that Acadia complies with health & safety legislation, as well as the orders and requirements of NS Environment and Labour personnel in their administration of the health & safety legislation.
The Board of Governors of Acadia University. The Board is responsible for ensuring that:
- An OHS System and supporting programs are established and are comprehensive, adaptable and adequately resourced;
- Systems are in place to ensure the competency and viability of the internal responsibility system;
- Due diligence is demonstrated thought vigilant documentation and audit; and
- The subject of the development, implementation, maintenance and effectiveness of the OHS System appears at least annually on the agenda of the Board's review of the University's operations.
The President and Vice-Chancellor. The President and Vice-Chancellor is responsible to the Board for directing the health and safety activities of the University and for ensuring that:
- An OHS System and risk management strategy for the University is developed and implemented;
- OHS risk management is integrated into all strategic planning processes of the University;
- The annual performance review of those persons reporting to the President includes measurement of the performance of applicable responsibilities under the OHS System; and
- The subject of the development, implementation, maintenance and effectiveness of the OHS System appears annually on the agenda of the President's review of the University's operations.
Members of the President's Advisory Council and Associate Members. The President's Advisory Council and Associate Members are responsible to the President and Vice-Chancellor for directing the health and safety activities of the University and for ensuring that:
- An OHS System is developed, implemented and maintained current for the University;
- A Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee is established and is functional;
- The annual performance review of those persons reporting to the President's Advisory Council and Associate Members includes measurement of the performance of applicable responsibilities under the OHS System; and
- The subject of the development, implementation, maintenance and effectiveness of the OHS System appears monthly on the agenda of the President's Advisory Council's review of the University's operation.
Director of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources, is responsible to the President's Advisory Council for developing the University's risk management strategy and OHS System, and for directing the University's activities relating to OHS compliance and due diligence.
Deans, Directors, Registrar, and University Librarian. The Deans, Directors, the Registrar and the University Librarian are responsible to their respective Vice President, for ensuring that:
- OHS risk management is integrated into all aspects of planning and decision-making within their respective faculties and departments;
- The OHS policies and programs applicable to their Faculties and departments are developed, implemented, evaluated, maintained current and are adequately resourced;
- The internal responsibility system within their areas is competent and its performance is evaluated;
- The annual performance review of those persons reporting to the Deans, Directors, Registrar and University Librarian includes measurement of the performance of applicable responsibilities under the OHS System; and
- The subject of the development, implementation, maintenance and effectiveness of the applicable OHS Programs appears annually on the agenda of their review of operations.
- Chairs, Department Heads and Managers: Each Chair, Department Head and Manager is responsible to their respective Dean or Director for ensuring that:
- The OHS policies, programs and practices set out in the OHS System are implemented and maintained within the department where applicable;
- OHS risk management is integrated into all aspects of planning and decision-making within their respective areas;
- Risk assessments are performed for all activities which have actual or potential hazards, including those associated with undergraduate, graduate and research programs and projects conducted at Acadia's campus and within locations outside of Acadia's campus used for University activities;
- OHS procedures and practices are developed, implemented and maintained current to manage the OHS risk specific to the activities occurring within their respective areas;
- The competency and performance of the internal responsibility system within their areas, as outlined in guidelines established by the OHS System, is achieved and maintained;
- Occurrences (including incidents and near-misses) are investigated to identify any changes necessary to prevent reoccurrences;
- Adequate supervision, training, written instructions, and information is provided to all individuals working and learning within their areas to manage OHS risk and demonstrate due diligence;
- Annual OHS management system performance reviews are conducted. These include examining occurrence profiles, workplace inspection findings, Health and safety concerns, training activities and other factors to assist in determining OHS performance and planning priorities;
- An ad-hoc Health & Safety Sub-committee is supported and engaged in assisting in the fulfillment of the requirements of the OHS System
Supervising Faculty and Staff. Any faculty or staff member having charge over an area or activity, or with any degree of authority over an individual receiving any form of remuneration, is responsible to their respective Chair, Director or Manager for ensuring that:
- The hazards associated with the area or activity have been identified and the necessary risk control and emergency response measures are identified, documented, communicated and implemented;
- All individuals under their supervision have been informed of the hazards and instructed on the necessary risk control and emergency response measures;
- The applicable University and departmental OHS policies, programs, procedures and practices associated with the area and activity under their supervision are communicated and implemented;
- Workplace inspections, monitoring and occurrence reporting and investigation are routinely conducted to ensure the integrity of risk control and emergency response measures;
- Any observed hazards or lapses in the functioning of an OHS program and other OHS concerns are responded to promptly;
- Risk assessments are performed on all research projects which have actual or potential hazards, and all individuals engaged in activity associated with the research project are informed and instructed accordingly.
Faculty Members. Faculty members must exercise the responsibilities of an employee, as expressed in section 17 of the NS OH&S Act.
In the circumstance where a faculty member serves in an administrative role that is identified in this document as having responsibility, authority and accountability for an OHS Program (or part thereof), they shall fulfill the requirements of the OHS System in that regard.
Consistent with these obligations and a duty of care for their students, each faculty member is responsible to their respective Chair or Academic Director for ensuring that:
- The curriculum is designed and conducted to ensure that the management of risk to students reflects the policies, procedures and practices established by the University;
- Risk assessments are performed for any activity with inherent OHS risk; and
- Students are informed of their rights and responsibilities and the hazards associated with the course activity or environment and are instructed on risk and emergency control measures.
Supervisors of Independent Contractors Any employee of Acadia who is responsible for overseeing a contract for goods or services between Acadia and an independent contractor shall ensure that:
- The contract documents refer to applicable requirements under Acadia's OHS System;
- Relevant OHS information is communicated between Acadia and the independent contractor; and
- That contract requirements for complying with Acadia's OHS System are monitored and, wherever possible, enforced.
All Employees and Individuals Receiving Financial Remuneration. Every person who receives financial remuneration from Acadia is an "employee" within the meaning of the NS OH&S Act and therefore has the rights and responsibilities outlined in the Act and is responsible to:
- take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to protect the employee's own health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
- co-operate with the employer and with the employee's fellow employees to protect the employee's own health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
- take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to ensure that protective devices, equipment or clothing required by the employer, the Act or the regulations are used or worn;
- consult and co-operate with the joint occupational health and safety committee;
- co-operate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by the Act or the regulations; and comply with the Act and the regulations.
- Where an employee believes that any condition, device, equipment, machine, material or thing or any aspect of the workplace is or may be dangerous to the employee's health or safety or that of any other person at the workplace, the employee shall
- (a) immediately report it to a supervisor;
- (b) where the matter is not remedied to the employee's satisfaction, report it to the committee or the representative, if any; and
- (c) where the matter is not remedied to the employee's satisfaction after the employee reports in accordance with clauses (a) and (b), report it to the OHS Division of NS Environment & Labour.
All employees are also responsible for complying with the rules and procedures developed within the OHS System for performing work in a safe and healthy manner;
Students. Every Acadia student must take all reasonable care to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment. The intent of all Acadia University policies and procedures related to students and student behaviour, including those identified in the Acadia University Judicial Handbook and the Residence Life Handbook, is to ensure reason and responsibility are consistent.
Students who are paid to perform work become employees under the NS OH&S Act and, therefore, have the same rights and responsibilities outlined in this document and the OHS Act. In addition, any individual performing work on University premises, not for pay, but for educational and other authorized purposes are considered by the University to have rights and responsibilities under the University OHS System and supporting programs.
Building Managers play a vital role by facilitating clear, effective communications between the University and the occupants/users of campus buildings. Building Managers provide a forum for discussion and resolution of building related problems, and contribute to the responsible stewardship and improvement of our campus facilities.
Each building on campus is required to have a designated Building Manager. A list of Building Managers shall be kept current by Building Services, and provided to the Health & Safety Advisor for posting and distribution. In buildings that house multiple departments, Building Managers may arrange for the designation of departmental contacts that report upwards to the Building Manager. Building Managers may choose to delegate certain duties and responsibilities, but must retain overall accountability.
Duties and responsibilities of Building Managers include:
- Serving as a central contact, regarding building-related problems, for both the building occupants and various University departments,
- Coordinating and reporting pertinent details of building-related problems, necessary building repairs and unsafe building conditions to Physical Plant Services, Building Services and/or Health and Safety Advisor,
- Receiving information from Physical Plant Services regarding planned or emergency utility shutdowns and other service interruptions, and assisting in notifying building occupants,
- Communicating and coordinating with Building Services and Physical Plant Services regarding renovation and construction activities,
- Communicating and coordinating with the Health & Safety Advisor and/or Safety & Security staff regarding safety or security issues,
- Assist Building Services with the implementation of a fire safety plan for the facility including the appointment of a fire warden
____*** / Original Signed /***_____
22 October 2019
Darrell Youden (He/Him)
VP Finance and Administration and CFO