Health and Safety Management: Your Orientation Starts NowPosted: December 3, 2012
Steve here again, with an update from the health and safety management program. My class has now finished our hand in assignments and it is now time to strap down for exams. Before I start studying I’d like to take a moment with you and reflect on what we have accomplished in some of our courses over the past 3 months.
Occupational Health and Safety Legislation / Industrial Hygiene
These were two courses I found most interesting. They build upon one another and are a natural progression out of the occupational health and safety undergraduate courses offered by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University. During the first few months we learned how to interpret legislation from the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario (OHSA), as well examined the role organizations such as the ACGIH and CSA play in our legislation.
In the Industrial Hygiene half of our semester, we learned how to go beyond the legislation. What I mean by going beyond the legislation is knowing what a company has to do to be in compliance in Ontario, and then taking that knowledge a step further by measuring and sampling to make sure your solution is compliant with legislated minimum’s such as TWAEV’s. In this class we are taught about the tools that are available to health and safety specialists to measure how effective our solutions are. This course will open your eyes to the immense role the ACGIH and AIHA among other organizations will play in your future career.
Environmental Issues for Health and Safety
I must admit, before our environmental issues class I did not have any exposure to environmental legislation. Also – if you were to ask me what an ISO standard was a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to give you an accurate description. Since September, I am happy to report Sasha Finley has substantially expanded my knowledge about what is required of companies to comply with environmental legislation in Ontario.
I also realize how important this area of compliance is for a health and safety manager to be cognizant of. As a health and safety manager you will be intimately involved with the processing of chemicals and how they flow through your facility. Your responsibilities will not stop after the processing is finished though, you will also be responsible for these chemicals once your process is finished. You will have to understand what needs to happen when these chemicals are of no further use to your facility. This class has given us to the tools we need to properly manage our waste streams as well as work towards helping company’s conform with ISO 14001 / 18001 standards.
One of my favorite group projects in this class was investigating the safety of cellphones. During our investigation we uncovered disconnects between the OHSA and Industry Canada guidelines. Cellphone companies are quite aware of the disconnects in our legislation and have already responded to protect themselves. For example owners IPhone 4 / 4s contains a sub menu in their legal menu called RF exposure. You will read that you need to maintain 10mm of distance between you and your cellphone to keep your exposure levels below or at tested levels. Meanwhile it is stated in the OHSA that no worker should be exposed to levels higher than 1.6W/Kg. This introduces a case of possible non-compliance.
These are just 3 of the courses we’ve covered in our first semester. I’ll cover the remaining two classes, which were equally as valuable to my experience at continuing studies in my next blog post. I have thoroughly enjoyed the job skills I feel I will take away from this first semester, and I am already confident we will feel competent in our various roles when we start our practicums in May.