Health and Safety

Outdoor courtyard with picnic bench on the Penticton campus

Who we are

The Health and Safety Department is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all members of the Okanagan College community.  We foster safe environments through the provision of our programs and services.  

Report a health and safety incident or concern

Any workplace incident that results in or has the potential to cause injury or occupational illness must be reported to Okanagan College within 24 hours.  Serious incidents must be reported to Campus Security immediately.  Timely reporting allows effective investigations, correction of unsafe conditions, prevention of future occurrences, and expedites WorkSafeBC claims processing.  

Use the buttons below to report an injury, illness, or exposure, or to report a safety hazard, concern, or near miss.

Looking for Security Services?

Occupational health and safety committees

Okanagan College has four Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) Committees based out of Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm, and Vernon.  The Committees are composed of representatives from all employee groups including BCGEU Vocational and Support Staff, OC Faculty Association, Administration, and Management.  The Committees work collaboratively to promote and enhance health and safety in the workplace.  Visit the JOHS Committees webpage below.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

Our Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) helps ensure the provision, promotion, and maintenance of safe work environments for all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors at Okanagan College.

The OHSMS involves a continuous cycle of planning, implementing, evaluating, and enhancing elements of Okanagan College’s safety programs and procedures including:

  • Responsibilities, Policy, and Legislation
  • Hazard Identification Assessment, and Control
  • Incident Reporting and Investigation
  • Safety Education, Orientation, and Training
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response

Okanagan College’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System is documented in the Health & Safety Program Manual

Occupational Health and Safety programs

Our Occupational Health and Safety programs have been developed to ensure workers are protected, risks are minimized, and a healthy and safe workplace is maintained in compliance with applicable legislation.

View OHS programs

Occupational Health and Safety procedures

Our Occupational Health and Safety Procedures have been developed to ensure workers are protected, risks are minimized, and a healthy and safe workplace is maintained in compliance with all applicable legislation.

A hazard is a condition or practice with the potential for leading to accidental loss. Risk is the chance of loss occurring. Okanagan College is committed to identifying and controlling hazards to acceptable levels of risk using a hazard management strategy. Hazard management strategies entail identifying hazards, assessing the level of risk they pose, and controlling the hazard to an acceptable level of risk. This process is guided and documented using the Hazard Assessment and Control Form. While it is impossible to eliminate all hazards from a workplace, Regulations require all undue hazards be controlled. An undue hazard is defined as an excessive or unwarranted hazard.

Formal hazard assessments involve a thorough review of the overall operations of an organization to identify hazards, assess risk, and develop, implement, and monitor related controls. Worker jobs or types of work are broken down into separate tasks. Formal hazard assessments are required for all job positions at Okanagan College and are completed using the Hazard Assessment and Control Procedure below. One Hazard Assessment Form may be completed for multiple job positions with similar tasks.

For more information:

Hazard Assessment and Control

Hazard Assessment and Control Form

Okanagan College is committed to carrying out incident investigations in compliance with the Workers Compensation Act (Part 2, Division 10, Section 68-73). WorkSafeBC requires employers to conduct an investigation in the event of:

  • Serious injury to or death of a worker
  • Major structural failure or collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system, or excavation
  • Major release of a hazardous substance
  • Fire or explosion that had a potential for causing serious injury
  • Blasting incident causing personal injury
  • Dangerous incident involving explosives (even if no one is hurt)
  • A worker injury requiring medical treatment, or
  • An incident with the potential for causing serious injury (near miss).

Investigations should be carried out promptly after an incident, as preliminary investigations must be submitted to WorkSafeBC within 48 hours of a reportable incident. The purpose of the investigation is not to find fault, but to identify the root causes of the incident and to develop suitable corrective actions to prevent a recurrence and improve safety in the workplace at Okanagan College. Formal WorkSafeBC Employer Incident Investigations are conducted jointly between the Health and Safety Department and worker representatives of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

For more information:

Incident Investigations

WorkSafeBC - Conducting an Employer Investigation

New employees at Okanagan College are required to view the presentation linked below and submit a completed New Employee Orientation Checklist to the Health and Safety Department prior to commencing work.  

New Employee Orientation Presentation

New Employee Orientation Checklist

Workers have the right and responsibility to refuse unsafe work when there is reasonable cause to believe undue hazards exist in the workplace. WorkSafeBC defines an “undue hazard” as a condition in the workplace that may expose a worker to an excessive or unwarranted risk of injury or occupational disease. Employers have the responsibility to investigate all claims of unsafe work following the Refusing Unsafe Work Procedures in accordance with WorkSafeBC Regulations and Guidelines.

For more information:

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

Refusing Unsafe Work Tracking Form

WorkSafeBC - Refusing Unsafe Work

Working alone refers to circumstances where assistance is not readily available in the event of an emergency. Working alone or in isolation can presents hazards to employees. Okanagan College has developed this safety program to protect employees from the risks of working alone where assistance is not readily available.

The Working Alone Safety Program entails identifying hazards, developing control measures, implementing safe work procedures and communication plans, and employee training. The goals of this program are to:

  • Identify and asses existing and potential hazards that may arise where an employee is working alone or in isolation and help is not readily available
  • Make every reasonable effort to identify, document, and control hazards
  • Provide an effective means of communication between the employee and the workplace so help can be provided in an emergency
  • Ensure employees are adequately trained and educated to perform their jobs safely while working alone

The majority of work activities that occur at Okanagan College are low risk and only require workers to check in and out once every 4-8 hours. Working alone performing low risk activities does not require a formal Working Alone Safety Plan. Check ins can be done with Security through the OC Safe App or directly with a supervisor by phone, text, chat, radio, or other means.

For more information:

Working Alone Safety Program

Working Alone Safety Plan Template

I’ve been hurt at work, what do I do?

  • In the event of a workplace related injury, illness, or exposure you must notify a first aid attendant by calling Campus Security at 250-862-5401 or 6699 from a college phone
  • First Aid Attendants will perform a patient assessment and administer first aid as required
  • First Aid Attendants will determine the patient outcome as either Return to Work, or Refer to Medical Aid
  • First Aid Attendants will submit a First Aid Report to the Health and Safety Department
  • Workers must notify their supervisors of the incident and report any associated absences or changes in abilities that may require modified or alternate duties. 

I am returning to work immediately following a first aid incident, what do I need to do?

  • Notify your supervisor of the first aid incident and the outcome
  • Discuss with your supervisor any changes in abilities that may require modified or alternate duties
  • Monitor the injury, illness, or exposure for changes and seek additional medical aid as required
  • If you seek medical aid (services of a doctor or health care professional) after initially returning to work from a first aid incident, you are required to report to WorkSafeBC and OC’s Health and Safety Department

I had to seek medical aid or missed time because of a workplace injury, what happens next?

Any workplace injury, illness, or exposure that requires medical aid beyond first aid (treatment or service from a qualified doctor or health care provider), or results in lost time beyond the date of injury must be reported to WorkSafeBC by both the employer and the injured worker.  This requirement also applies to any students on unpaid practicum placements who receive worker’s compensation coverage through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.  

If your injury requires medical aid beyond first aid, or results in lost time beyond the date of injury:

  • Notify WorkSafeBC within 72 hours of the incident by calling their Teleclaim number at 1-888-967-5377
  • Notify OC’s Health and Safety Department within 24 hours of the incident by submitting a Worker’s Injury Report
  • Notify your supervisor of the incident and report any associated absences or changes in abilities that may require modified or alternate duties. 
  • Report any time lost beyond the date of injury in the Employee Leave Management System (ELMS). 

Workers Compensation Claim Process:

Upon notification of a worker receiving medical aid related to an occupational injury, illness, or exposure, WorkSafeBC will determine eligibility for receipt of benefits and services.  Eligibility will be determined based on information provided by the worker, the employer, and associated health care providers.  It is important to report to WorkSafeBC within 72 hours of the incident to avoid any potential delays in accessing benefits and services.  WorkSafeBC may award benefits relating to health care costs, lost wages, and/or vocational rehabilitation services. 

For more information regarding Workers Compensation Claims please contact the Health and Safety Department or visit:

WorkSafeBC - Claims

Formal workplace inspections provide a systematic means of identifying and correcting potentially hazardous conditions in the workplace, monitoring the effectiveness of hazard controls, and ensuring safe work practices are followed. This program is designed to provide a standard process for conducting formal workplace inspections including responsibilities, frequency requirements, and implementing corrective actions.

For more information contact the Health and Safety Department

WorkSafeBC - Workplace Inspections

Hazardous materials management

Learn more about the programs and procedures developed to manage hazardous materials at Okanagan College.

Okanagan College’s Asbestos Management Program has been developed to manage asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in all College facilities which may be disturbed by maintenance, renovation, demolition, or repair activities.  The program includes an up-to-date inventory of all asbestos-containing materials in College facilities, and identification system, and procedures for remediation.  Additional training is required for any worker whose tasks may put them in contact with asbestos-containing materials.

For more information:

Asbestos Exposure Control Plan

WorkSafeBC: Asbestos

Crystalline silica is a mineral found in materials such as sand, stone, concrete, and mortar.  Cutting, coring, crushing, drilling, or grinding crystalline silica containing materials can create a harmful dust known as respirable crystalline silica which can cause serious lung disease. 

Okanagan College is committed to protecting workers, students, and contractors from the risks associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure.  A Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Plan is required for any work that involves cutting, coring, crushing, drilling, or grinding crystalline silica containing materials.

For more information: 

Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Plan

WorkSafeBC: Crystalline Silica Exposure

The Health and Safety Department helps coordinate the disposal of hazardous materials at Okanagan College in compliance with the Hazardous Waste Regulation under the Environmental Management Act.

Please contact the Health and Safety Department for more information about the disposal of hazardous materials at Okanagan College.

For more information contact the Health and Safety Department.

BC Hazardous Waste Legislation Guide

Hazardous materials can be spilled or released in the workplace due to various causes such as human error, leaks, or mechanical failure. When a spill occurs, it is critical that there is a quick and appropriate response to minimize any harm to the environment and danger to workers and others.

To report a spill or release of hazardous materials contact Campus Security:

Penticton: 250-486-3879

Vernon: 250-307-4574

Kelowna and all other locations: 250-862-5401

For more information:

Spill Response Plan

Transport Canada defines a dangerous good as “a product, substance, or organism included by its nature or by the regulations in any of the classes listed in schedule to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. 

Okanagan College requires any workers dealing with the movement of materials classified as “Dangerous Goods” to complete TDG training.

For more information: Transportation of Dangerous Goods in Canada

Okanagan College’s WHMIS Safety Program is designed to protect workers from the health and safety hazards associated with using, storing, and handling hazardous materials in the workplace. 

WHMIS is a communications system designed to provide employees with vital information about hazardous materials used in the workplace. WHMIS outlines the responsibilities of suppliers, employers and workers, and details requirements for labelling, safety data sheets, hazard classes and pictograms, and worker training and education.

Safety data sheets (SDS) are available to all workers and students at Okanagan College online and through the OC Safe App.

For more information:

WHMIS Safety Program

WHMIS SDS Database

OC Safe mobile app

OC Safe is a free mobile safety app that provides direct access to campus safety resources and security tools.  The app includes important safety information, contacts, maps, and emergency procedures.

  • OC Alerts – Enable push notifications to receive alerts and updates in the event of an emergency
  • Get Help – Contact Campus Security to request first aid or emergency services
  • Safety and Security Tools – Access Safe Walk and Working Alone features
  • Resources – Find important safety and support resources including online WHMIS SDS and counseling services

Download the OC Safe App

Download for iOS devices

Download for Android devices

Screenshot of the OC Safe App