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.
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Joint 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.
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:
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:
New employee health and safety orientation training is now available in myPD. This training will orientate workers to important health and safety topics, programs and procedures including:
- Rules, rights, and responsibilities
- Workplace hazards and safe work procedures
- First aid and emergency procedures
- Personal protective equipment
- WHMIS and hazardous materials management
- Working alone or in isolation
- Refusing unsafe work
- Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees
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:
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 assess 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:
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 250-317-2435.
- 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 Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.
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).
You will be contacted by the Health and Safety Department and a worker representative from the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee to participate in an incident investigation.
The purpose of incident investigations is to determine why an incident occurred and what can be done to prevent a recurrence in the future. They are not intended to be accusatory or fault finding in nature.
Workers Compensation Claim Process:
Upon notification of a worker missing time or 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. WorkSafeBC requires both the injured worker and the employer to report the injury, and the employer to submit an incident investigation report before a claim can be processed. It is important to report to WorkSafeBC within 72 hours of the incident to avoid any potential delays in accessing benefits and services. Once an injury has been reported, WorkSafeBC may contact the worker to request additional medical documentation or assessments to evaluate the claim. WorkSafeBC may award benefits relating to health care costs, lost wages, and/or vocational rehabilitation services.
Workers will continue to receive their regular pay from Okanagan College while their WCB claim is being processed. For approved short-term wage-loss claims, worker’s pay is adjusted to approximately 90% of their regular take-home earnings. For leaves longer than 10 weeks, long-term wage rates are calculated using additional information. Learn more about WorkSafeBC’s wage rate calculations.
For more information regarding Workers Compensation Claims please contact the Health and Safety Department or visit:
Workplace inspections provide a systematic means to identify and correct potentially hazardous conditions associated with the work environment, monitor the effectiveness of hazard controls, and ensure safe work practices.
Okanagan College’s Workplace Inspection Program details the various types of inspections that are performed to prevent the development of unsafe conditions that could lead to injuries, illnesses, and exposures in the workplace. The Workplace Inspection Program provides the framework and resources for performing the various types of inspections and tracking corrective actions to completion.
Types of workplace inspections include:
- Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) inspections
- General area inspections
- Specialized area inspections
- Equipment inspections
- Informal inspections
- Post incident inspections
- Regulatory agency inspections
For more information:
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:
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:
For assistance disposing of hazardous waste please download and complete the form below and notify the Health and Safety Department to coordinate collection and disposal.
For more information contact the Health and Safety Department.
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:
Kelowna and all other locations: 250-862-5401
For more information:
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.
Workplace labels can be created using the link below, or stick on labels can be requested from the Health and Safety Department by email.
For more information:
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
Please note you must have push notifications enabled to receive emergency communications. To check if you have the most recent version go the About/Preferences section and select Data Update, then Check for Updates. If you are unable to update to the latest version please uninstall the app and reinstall it.
Okanagan College has been committed to student and employee health and safety, following Provincial Health Office guidelines. Following the guidance of the Government of B.C. and Provincial Health Office, we will continue to create and maintain a safe and rewarding learning environment.