Page 1

Environment, Health and Safety Annual Report 2015/16

Our mandate is to support the

university’s mission through services, partnership, guidance and education to promote health, safety, protection of the environment, and regulatory compliance.


Contents 3

Director’s message





24 Focus on EHS 29 Regulatory 32 Elsewhere in the community 33 2016: What’s ahead? 34 Find us


Director’s message

Connecting with our community In 2015, EHS focused on building awareness of and support for safe, healthy, and environmentallyresponsible research and learning. In pursuit of this, EHS relied on three key strategies: •

Expansion of client outreach opportunities

Development of community partnerships, and

Design and delivery of innovative tools and training


Director’s message (continued) In 2015, EHS looked for opportunities to build awareness of environment, health and safety programs and services. Through its Client Outreach Group, EHS expanded its presence at university events and developed a digital strategy to enhance web and social media communication. EHS also found ways to deliver and strengthen safety messaging through campus partnerships. Building on the launch of the senior administrators’ committee in 2014, for example, EHS continued to work with university departments in 2015 to facilitate the expansion of environment, health and safety committees across campus, intended to help champion future EHS initiatives. In response to client requests for more user-friendly resources, EHS launched an online incident reporting tool in September and continued to oversee the development of both a new database and an online hazard management tool. As always, EHS continued to assist clients with permitting, importation and approvals, and to advocate on behalf of the university for legislation and regulations that make sense. EHS also refined its approach to laboratory inspections in 2015, validating criteria against legislation and standardizing the scheduling and follow up process. Finally, and in alignment with the U of A’s mission statement, EHS sought out opportunities to connect and share information with communities beyond the university. In 2016, EHS will continue to look for ways to instill and cultivate a culture of safety at the university. Rob Munro, Director



Goal Continue EHSMS development and implementation Finalize site for EHSMS document collaboration Launch incident reporting portal Finalize and launch departmental database Finalize and launch online hazard management tool Implement biohazard laboratory licensing system

Outcome C

Assignment of accountabilities vetted and posted Feb 2016.


Google site developed and shared with collaborators Aug 2015.


Tool went live Sept 2015; interface with database expected 2016.


Expected completion Q4.

Launch event May 2016.

Launched Dec 2015.


Complete/on schedule


Delayed/expected to meet revised schedule


Delayed indefinitely 5


Goal Advance Ellerslie remediation process Support MICF through commissioning and operation phases Establish EHS committees in high risk faculties Address operational continuity audit findings Develop health and safety training for all supervisors Trial chemical inventory tool in Department of Chemistry

Outcome C

Bioremediation lab scale experiments underway.


All scheduled regulatory milestones have been met and production requirements established.


Senior level committee established. Faculty committees in progress.


Detailed plan has been developed; implementation underway.


Training plan developed in consultation with senior EHS committee.


Working with department to resolve technical and organizational challenges.



Goal Meet new Alberta OHS code requirements Increase EHS visibility on campus (identified as gap in 2014 client survey) Improve communication with university community (identified as gap in 2014 client survey)

Transition to core services model

Outcome D

Awaiting new requirements.


Expanded EHS presence at campus events, launched social media strategy.


Designated a communications coordinator. Frequent EHS updates on Twitter, in Risk@, community digests and other publications.





Client Outreach

In 2015, Client Outreach continued to promote EHS programs and services at events across campus: •

“New staff orientation” in March, August and November

Risk Management Symposium

University “lunch and learns”

Safety Information Day: Chemical & Materials Engineering

In collaboration with Facilities and Operations, fire extinguisher training for749 university staff and students

Fire extinguisher training at Rutherford Library



Client Outreach

EHS also coordinated Safety Week 2015, a showcase of safety groups across campus.

Carnival-themed, the event was in a new location daily, traveling to Quad, ETLC, Business Quad, ECHA, and Celebration Plaza. The event featured EHS, UAPS, Field Research Office, the Injury Prevention Centre, Safewalk, Faculty of Extension Occupational Health and Safety program, and demos from Fire Rescue Services, the Edmonton Police Service canine unit, Fisher Scientific and Cardiac Sciences. Participants were invited to “huck a hazard” and spin “the wheel o’ safety” to demonstrate their safety knowledge. Over the course of the week, EHS handed out 1100 pairs of safety glasses and hundreds of Safety Week frisbees, bags of popcorn, and more. The event received coverage on "The Quad," Risk@ and Faculty of Extension newsletters, Twitter, U of A weekly digest, residence digest, and in The Gateway.

“Great demos, great exhibitors!” Safety Week participant



Client Outreach

In October 2015, EHS helped to coordinate Fire Safety Day at Michener Park in partnership with Facilities and Operations and Residence Services. Residents learned how to put out stove top fires, met with local firefighters, and tried out the fire extinguisher simulator. Fire Safety Day will return in 2016. 10


Client Outreach

In response to recommendations from the 2014 client survey, EHS worked to expand and improve its digital strategy, enhancing existing web and social media tools:

Initiated process to transition website from Sitecore 2.0 to 3.0 and completed administrative training; new website expected to launch Q3 2016

Expanded social media strategy; implementation 2016

Responded to 177 inquiries from “Ask EHS” website tool: • eLearning questions • Respirators • Ergonomics • First aid training • Chematix registration 11


Community Partnerships

Building on momentum from 2014, EHS continued to support the creation

faculty /portfolio environment, health and safety committees, intended to encourage

and development of

collaborative approaches to hazard assessment and mitigation. In 2015, EHS •

Developed committee terms of reference and assisted with annual plans

Helped to launch the Devonian Gardens environment, health and safety committee

Worked with Arts, Libraries, Science, Nursing, and Finance & Administration to launch committees in 2016 Senior Administrators’ Environment, Health and Safety Committee

Faculty/Portfolio A EHS Committee Figure 1

Faculty/Portfolio B EHS Committee

Organizational structure for university environment, health and safety committees 12


Community Partnerships

Field Research Office In July 2015, representatives from EHS, F&O and FRO toured seven university field research sites across Alberta. EHS noted opportunities for collaboration between groups to improve safety practices. Another tour is planned for summer 2016.

Office of Sustainability In 2015, EHS collaborated with Sustainability on the following: • Safety and sustainability training • Lab inspections • Hazardous waste EHS will expand collaboration efforts in 2016. Facilities & Operations • Joint initiative to test fume hoods; 2500 tested summer 2015 • Coordinated Fire Safety Day and Safety Week demos • Collaborated on fire extinguisher training, emergency equipment installation and testing 13


Community Partnerships

Facilitated by EHS and comprised of administrators and subject matter experts from across the university, the Crisis Management Team (CMT) manages and coordinates the university’s response to an emergency. The CMT typically operates out of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) located on North Campus. Some of the incidents that the CMT responded to or prepared for in 2015 included the following: Fires in residences Student suicide Hazmat releases on campus Ebola concerns Paris attacks and the impacts on community members abroad • International sporting events on U of A campuses

• • • • •

Primary emergency operations centre available 24/7

EHS delivers online and in-person training for all CMT members. 14


Community Partnerships

EHS also continued to assist the university community with emergency drills and equipment installation, training and opportunities for collaboration in emergency planning and

management. In 2015, EHS:

Developed and delivered four tabletop exercises to CMT section chiefs, four to Augustana and two to first responders.

Coordinated severe weather and/or medical emergency drills for HSLAS, Chemistry, and Facilities and Operations.

Initiated quarterly meetings with Alberta post-secondary emergency management/security managers and coordinators.

Led monthly EOC training.

Conducted six CMT notification drills, ten emergency notification drills and two tests of U of A Alerts.

Brought four more buildings on line with Alertus beacons.

Helped to install more than 30 new AEDs across the university. 15


Innovative Tools & Training

In 2015, EHS developed and launched or tested the following online tools intended to support hazard management and incident reporting: •

EHS database

Hazard assessment web application

Online incident reporting tools

EHS also developed four new courses in 2015 (MICF orientation, engineering orientation and ATV safety) and continued to improve and promote existing tools such as the emergency management wiki and Active Shooter video.

EHS Database Expected in 2016, the new EHS database will •

Enable researchers to register online with EHS

Leverage software already in use by Research Ethics Office

Interface with other databases on campus

Improve efficiencies and streamline processes

Improve data analysis capabilities to assist in recognizing trends and emerging priorities 16


Innovative Tools & Training

Hazard Assessment Web Application •

Online tool for hazard assessment and control

Funded by a 2014 “creative sentencing” verdict following a workplace fatality

Developed in partnership with Alberta Association of Safety Professionals (AASP)

Underwent rigorous testing in late 2015 and early 2016

Will launch 2016



Innovative Tools & Training

Online Incident Reporting The online incident reporting form was launched September 2015. The tool allows users to report incidents and near-miss events easily and immediately. The form also incorporates a workflow that requires supervisors to review the form and provide recommendations for improved hazard management. The convenience of the online tool may be partially responsible for the increase of incidents reported in 2015, as seen in Figure 2. Figure 2 Incidents Reported 2009 - 2015 400 350

No of Incidents

300 250 200 150 100

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

50 0



Innovative Tools & Training

Online Incident Reporting Figure 3 indicates the frequency of incidents in 2015. Incident numbers, reflecting an increase in “slips and trips,� peaked in February and December. Higher numbers in June and September likely reflect the intake of summer student researchers and graduate students respectively. 39









26 19


Figure 3 Frequency of incidents Jan












As expected, numbers of incidents declined in April and December, corresponding with the end of instructional periods. 19


Innovative Tools & Training

Online Incident Reporting Injuries from physical impact (bruises, sprains, etc.) were the most common incident type in 2015, representing 41% of those reported (Figure 4). Cuts and needle stick incidents as well as those arising from chemical contact were also commonly reported, particularly splashes to the face and eyes. Figure 4 Incident Types Chemical contact

Physical impact

3% 2%1%3% 21%

Cuts & needle sticks




Animal Bites Non-conformance, Elec Shock, Illness, Equip Fail, Prop Dam, fire expl Slips, trips, falls Temperature related ( burns, frostbite) Vehicle, Pedestrian



Innovative Tools & Training

“Get Goggles� video In response to the increase in eye-related incidents, EHS partnered with the Department of Drama to produce an educational video encouraging the selection of splash goggles over safety glasses.

Uploaded to YouTube, the video was promoted in the Risk@ newsletter, shared via Twitter and embedded in the EHS website. The video has been viewed approximately 500 times since July 2015. 21


Innovative Tools & Training

Emergency Plan Wiki & Video A 2015 audit of the university’s emergency management program identified emergency planning as a priority. In support of this, EHS continued to facilitate emergency management planning and preparedness with online resources: • Wiki with templates to support accessible, easy-to-use emergency planning • Easy enrollment for emergency notification via email, text or the UAlberta app The U of A also continued to gain recognition as a leader in active shooter training through licensing of the 2014 video Shooter on Campus. In 2015, the video was licensed beyond Alberta’s borders to British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

In 2015, 20 university groups used EHS wikis to prepare unit action and operational continuity plans 22


Innovative Tools & Training

Training EHS eLearning course completions rose in 2015 to 9215, a 30% increase over the previous year. Of these, 5290 completed the online WHMIS course. Figure 5 compares the number of completions from 2014 to 2015 for the other 17 online courses that EHS offers; MICF, CMT and ICS training was new for 2015. Figure 5: Course completions in 2015

MICF Orientation for Staff and Students MICF Orientation for Maintenance & Service‌ CMT Orientation ICS 100 Fire Warden Fire Extinguisher High School Orientation WISEST TDG 102 TDG 101 UV Protection CCIS Fume hoods Led 110 MICF and 3 Radiation Refresher enhanced Radiation Safety biocontainment Chemical Safety Concepts in Biosafety facility in-person Laboratory Safety orientations

0 2014

Led in-classroom training for 47 radionuclide users, and 172 laser and xray users







2015 23

Focus on EHS

Operations Team

The EHS Operations Team formed in 2014 to

provide consistency and excellence in customer service. On a typical day, Operations can be found doing any of the following: •

Respiratory fit-testing

Laboratory inspections

Hazardous waste pickup and processing

Indoor air quality consultations

Developing EHS online training

Respirator fit-testing

The 2016 EHS Operations Team

EHS offers respirator fit-testing to university personnel who require a respirator to work safely. In 2015, Operations conducted 180 respirator fit-tests and provided training on respirator use and maintenance, a 16% increase from 2014. 24

Focus on EHS

Operations Team

Lab Inspections, scheduled annually, are central to

Operations’ activities. Inspectors help researchers to identify and manage workplace hazards. In 2015, EHS inspected 998 spaces across campus belonging to 411 researchers. Inspectors identified the following key areas for improvement: •

Hazard signage accuracy

Hazard assessment completion

Safe and compatible chemical storage

Inspectors also reported the following positive findings: •

Up-to-date biosafety cabinet testing

Current permits for radioisotope usage and up-to-date biosafety registries

Complete and current WHMIS training records

In 2016, EHS will expand the program to include 1600 laboratories across campus.


Focus on EHS

Operations Team

Unannounced PPE Inspections Periodically, Operations and the rest of EHS conduct unannounced inspections in support of the PPE Initiative launched in 2014. Research groups are expected to have completed a PPE checklist and be wearing appropriate PPE, as identified through hazard assessment. As per table 1, the majority of groups inspected in 2015 were in compliance with basic PPE requirements for laboratory work. The lowest compliance came during spring 2015, corresponding with both the arrival of summer students and return to seasonal clothing contravening PPE requirements. Lab coats and eye protection were the most frequently missing PPE. Both announced and unannounced inspections also identified a need for better resources and training surrounding hazard assessments; promotion of the web application will begin in 2016. Table 1: Findings from Unannounced PPE Inspections Quarter

Q1-2015 Jan.1 to Mar.31 Q2-2015 Apr.1 to June.30 Q3-2015 July.1 to Sept.30 Q4- 2015 Oct.1 to Dec 31 †Small

% Compliance (wearing correct PPE) 99â€

% Checklist Posted

Most Frequently Missing PPE


% Hazard Assessment Posted 89.5




Eye protection




Lab coat/gown




Eye protection

Lab coat/gown

sample size (n=36) 26

Focus on EHS

Operations Team

Hazardous Waste Disposal In 2015, Operations collected 13,415 kg of solid waste and 75,527 L of liquid waste, an increase of 400 kg and 4,500 L over 2014 numbers. Figure 6 notes the percentage of waste by TDG class; no Class 1 (explosive) waste was collected in 2015. 0.3

2.1 1.0

2 Waste Gases


3 Flammable: liquid 20.8


4 Flammable: solid 5 Oxidizers 6 Toxic: liquids


6 Toxic: solids 8 Corrosives: liquid


8 Corrosives: solid 0.2 0.9

9 Miscellaneous Non regulated

Figure 6 Percentage of Waste by TDG Class 27

Focus on EHS

Operations Team

By the numbers 24

biosafety cabinets decontami nated

242 hazard signs created or modified

Did you know? There are 1427 hazard signs on campus


Chematix users enrolled



spaces inspected across campus

Occupational hygiene



containment level 3 filter tests


respirator fit-tests


Did you know? Testing takes about ½ hr per cabinet and is done annually


biosafety cabinet tests

Chemical related queries


Regulatory EHS provides an oversight role on behalf of the university to comply with federal , provincial and municipal regulations. In 2015, EHS •

Hosted site inspections by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

Received a operating license for the Medical Isotope Cyclotron Facility (MICF); full production mode is anticipated by 2016.

Began assisting with the SLOWPOKE decommissioning process. The license to decommission the facility is expected in 2016.

Prepared approval renewal application for the Cloverbar Hazardous Waste Management Facility (CHWMF) to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP)

Applied to PHAC for institutional licenses to work with and store human pathogens and toxins as legislated by the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA).

Helped to negotiate agreements with Alberta Health Services and Canadian Blood Services to support researchers cross-appointed between institutions.

Assisted the Faculty of Science in the development and certification of an aquatic quarantine facility to facilitate the acquisition of aquatic species not indigenous to Alberta.

Processed Chemical Weapons Convention declarations from 176 university researchers – a 300% increase in responses from 2014. 29


EHS also assisted with permits, approvals, transfers of hazardous material, and registry updates in support of research and learning at the university. Figure 7 notes the number of each regulatory activity undertaken by EHS in 2015. Radionuclide laboratory permit inspections

Average turnaround time: 7.1 days

Radiation device inspections Letters of biohazards approval Biosafety registry updates Pathogen transfer assistance

Average turnaround time: 24 days

PHAC security clearances Chemical safety approvals or amendments 0


100 150 200 250 300 350 400

Figure 7



Bio Roundup Prior to the HPTA coming into effect, EHS organized a “onetime amnesty” allowing research groups to get rid of unneeded or unwanted biological materials at no cost. From October to December, EHS collected •

20,880 L

1,360 kg

Biological waste

EHS also provided a template for researchers to inventory their holdings, as required by the HPTR. Among the Items collected during the Roundup were: • samples dating back to 1985 • pork ribs from Safeway • pine beetle infested logs Don’t wait for a roundup! Contact with questions about hazardous waste. 31

Elsewhere in the Community

Community Engagement and Involvement As per legislation and in collaboration with University Relations, EHS provided the following engagement opportunities for the public to comment on upcoming EHS initiatives that occur off-campus: •

Launched webpages to profile MICF and SLOWPOKE nuclear facilities

Hosted an open house at Millennium Place February 17 in conjunction with renewal of license for Cloverbar Hazardous Waste Management Facility license renewal information session

In May, EHS also participated in the City of Edmonton event “Get Ready in the Park” to share university health and safety initiatives with the broader community. This image cannot currently be displayed.

On May 4 2015, members of EHS participated in the annual “Steps for Life” walk in support of families of workers killed on the job. Team EHS 32

2016: What’s Ahead?

EHS Focus in 2016 In addition to fulfilling our regulatory role and supporting the delivery and maintenance of 2015 priorities, EHS will use 2016 to •

Develop and deliver training that conveys environment, health and safety roles and responsibilities to supervisors

Undertake with City of Edmonton first-responders an inter-agency emergency response simulation

Expand lab inspection and hazard signage programs to include all laboratories on campus (approximately 1600)

Modify safety systems to align with changes to the Alberta OHS Code (including transition to WHMIS 2015)

Develop the following eLearning courses:

ATV safety (expanded)

Hazardous waste management

Supervisory training

Revise the following eLearning courses: •

Concepts in biosafety

Chemical safety

WHMIS (to reflect new legislation)

Develop new institutional biosafety guidelines based on plans developed for the HPTA application

Demonstrate commitment to customer service though completion and application of soft skills training 33

Find Us

Environment, Health and Safety 3107 Research Transition Facility University of Alberta @EHS_UofA Subscribe to Risk@UAlberta (Risk Management Services online newsletter)


EHS annual report 2015/2016  

The 2015/2016 annual report for the Department of Environment, Health and Safety at the University of Alberta

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