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Your Guide to Safety Procedures – for Occupational Health and Safety Grads

By May 28, 2024No Comments
Occupational Health and Safety

Whether you’re just embarking on your occupational health and safety course/online safety training courses or are already a graduate, whether working on a construction site or in an office, safety procedures are key to your thriving in this field.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), our industry’s federal governing body, states, “The purpose of OHS legislation is to protect … against hazards on the job. It outlines the general rights and responsibilities of the employer, the supervisor, and the worker. Each of the Canadian provinces and the federal government have their own OHS legislation … and the details of the OHS legislation vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another …”

If your workplace health and safety course is approved by the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP), then you will be well on your way to understanding leading-edge standards for your jurisdiction and how to comply, but this is an overview of best practices on some procedures you’ll be expected to know.

The Guidelines That Drive Safety

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), or Safe Work Methods Statements (SWMS, pronounced ‘Swims’) are step-by-step instructions on how routine operations should be carried out. These are often preceded by a job safety analysis, whereby hazards are identified, and control methods described. Full details on how to develop SOPs can be found here.

Top OHS Procedures You’ll Want to Know


1. Ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is Worn to Minimize Exposure

Regardless of the job being performed, PPE is essential before starting the work to be done. Gear and clothing can minimize exposure to hazards, from safety glasses and earplugs to gloves.

  • Consider the environment.
  • Do a check of the PPE needed.
  • Ensure there is access to proper gear.
  • Ensure all PPE are in good working order and clean.
  • Recommend that extras be carried in case damage occurs so the job can continue.
  • Replace or recommend that any worn or torn equipment be replaced, immediately.

2. Maintain Overall Awareness

Safety checks are not a one-and-done process; it is ongoing. Assessing potential hazards and keeping a keen eye on OHS precautions can keep team members and yourself safe.

  • Understand the latest regulations.
  • Be aware of the dos and don’ts of the tasks at hand.
  • Educate yourself on the environment and the potential dangers.
  • Educate others on how best to prepare and protect themselves.

3. Develop an Emergency Response Plan

Essential for all businesses, a document and plan that outlines all policies and procedures in the event of an emergency, is a must.

  • Identify strategies for how to evacuate a facility, including meeting points, routes and how to communicate with the team during an incident.
  • Create a plan that maps out, with icons, the facility and all relevant locations and resources, such as assembly points, fire protection equipment, first aid and how to notify emergency services.

4. Manage Hazardous Materials

Due to the risk involved in storing and handling hazardous material, it is essential that consistent steps are taken to prevent workplace accidents and injury.

  • Identify hazardous materials and maintain a safety data sheet for each chemical.
  • Conduct a risk assessment to determine the hazard of each material.
  • Label clearly and mark the location of each storage area.
  • Ensure an optimal storage environment that considers temperature, ventilation, and lighting.
  • Identify and train those who will have access to the area.

5. Work Safely with Electrical Equipment and Electricity

One of the most dangerous energy sources, used near daily, it is essential to know and adhere to safety procedures to mitigate risk.

  • Ensure only qualified personnel with verified licences are allowed to conduct or oversee electrical work.
  • Use of specific PPE.
  • Test equipment before use.
  • Before work is carried out, ensure equipment is de-energized and when reenergized, ensure it will not pose any risk to the health and safety of workers.
  • Identify and label electrical equipment.
  • Inspect, test, tag portable electrical equipment.
  • Removal of portable equipment that fails testing.
  • Maintain accurate records.

6. Develop and Maintain Fire Safety Procedures

To protect those working with and visiting facilities, we must adhere to building codes, and fire precautions, developing plans that take into consideration the type of business and number of employees.

  • Complete a full fire risk assessment including identifying fire hazards, ignition sources, and persons at risk.
  • How will employees be alerted in the event of a fire.
  • Layout a plan for how employees should respond to a fire alarm and an emergency.
  • Layout evacuation routes, exits, and establish areas of refuge.
  • Ensure fire fighting equipment is on site, identified and an appropriate training is carried out.

7. Provide First Aid and Medical Care

Injuries and accidents can happen at anytime and there is a need to be prepared for anything, so that employees are taken care of immediately and medical and first aid care is administered in keeping with regulations.

  • Create a first aid station and ensure employees are aware of its placement and the protocols to adhere to in the event of an accident or injury.
  • Have a first aid officer, trained in handling a variety of conditions, who is onsite and in charge.
  • Ensure first aid kits, relevant to the work area, include necessary equipment and are clearly marked and workplace training on those procedures and processes are completed.
  • Ensure all incidents are reported promptly and comprehensively.

8. Conduct Orientation and Training

We want to avoid injury and accidents at all costs and mitigate any risk to employees and blow back on employers. This all begins with creating solid plans and procedures and then taking the time to make sure all company employees are aware and trained.

  • Assess the employees who need training and in which areas.
  • Conduct initial training for new employees.
  • Train workers in specialized areas or those new to working in an area that comes with on-the-job risks.
  • Incorporate continuous and updated training workshops to ensure OHS procedures, protocols and knowledge are current.

9. Investigate, Report, Update, Repeat

Incidents of accident can be decreased if we learn from those that happen and update procedures as we learn. Investigation and developing full reports that drive change are essential for ongoing development and improvement.

  • Report the incident to the officer in charge and those authorities that are appropriate for the incident or workspace.
  • Secure the scene of the accident or injury.
  • Gather details on the incident as quickly as possible, from the injured party, those involved and those who witnessed it.
  • Analyze the facts and identify actions to be taken and information that would influence a shift in policy and procedure.
  • Prepare a written report.
  • Develop a plan for and implement corrective action.
  • Review the process and adapt accordingly.

Safety standards in the workplace are ever evolving; employees are more aware than ever of how they deserve to be treated and cared for on the job. We must support and comply with the latest and highest standards. OHS procedures are the guidelines we need to identify, create, and implement, to ensure we’re able to adhere to such standards. These are just a few of the areas you’ll address. As you move through your occupational health and safety training courses you will touch on each of these, and more, and in detail, until you are fully confident to launch into this fascinating field.

Are you still considering if you’ll study occupational health safety? If so, take the “Medical Professional Career Discovery Quiz”.

But if you’re interested in starting your Occupational Health & Safety career, we’re here to help you navigate the steps to get there. Book a virtual appointment with an Admissions Advisor today!

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