Health and Safety

Outdoor courtyard with picnic bench on the Penticton campus

Occupational Health and Safety programs

Our Occupational Health and Safety programs have been developed to ensure workers at Okanagan College are protected, risks are minimized, and a healthy and safe workplace is maintained in compliance with applicable legislation.  Learn more about our Occupational Health and Safety Programs below.

Compressed gases can present hazards in the workplace and must be properly controlled. The Compressed Gases Safety Program provides guidance on the safe use, handling, and storage requirements of compressed gases at Okanagan College.

For more information:

Compressed Gases Safety Program

The Confined Space Safety Program has been developed to manage the risks associated with working in confined spaces. The program inventories all confined spaces at Okanagan College, identifies hazards and controls, and details safe work and emergency procedures.  All confined space entries are marked with signage and secured with locks.  A Confined Space Entry Permit must be completed prior to accessing a confined space. 

For more information:

Confined Space Safety Program

WorkSafeBC - Confined Space Entry

WorkSafeBC - Confined Space Hazards


The Contractor Safety Program has been developed to manage the risks of contracted work at Okanagan College and ensure the health and safety of contractors and the broader College community.  This program applies to all contractors that conduct work and/or services for Okanagan College.  The program ensures all contractors performing work at Okanagan College operate in compliance with the Worker’s Compensation Act, WorkSafeBC Regulation, and applicable College policies, programs, and procedures. 

For more information:

Contractor Management Program

This safety program is designed to ensure all cranes, hoists, and lift equipment at Okanagan College is operated and maintained in accordance with applicable legislation and manufacturer’s specifications.  This program establishes the requirements for:

  • Qualifications, training, and orientations
  • Inspections and maintenance
  • Safe work and emergency procedures
  • Documentation and record keeping

For more information contact the Health and Safety Department

The Ergonomics Safety Program has been developed to reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries, which are the most common work-related injury in B.C.  Workstation set-up, safe lifting techniques, proper posture, appropriate seating positions, and adaptive equipment are all examples of ergonomics in the workplace.  Our Health and Safety Department provides ergonomic resources and services.

For more information: 

OC - Workstation Ergonomics

Ergonomic Tips for Home Offices

WorkSafeBC - Ergonomics

WorkSafeBC - How to Make Your Computer Workstation Fit You

The Fall Protection Safety Program is designed to prevent occupational injuries due to falls and applies to all work done by employees and/ or contractors at Okanagan College.  This program establishes requirements for when fall protection is needed, training and orientation, equipment selection and maintenance, and safe work and emergency procedures.  Fall Protection Plans are required for all tasks where a fall hazard exists.

For more information:

Fall Protection Safety Program

WorkSafeBC - Fall Protection Basics

WorkSafeBC - Fall Protection Anchors


Okanagan College maintains a First Aid Program in accordance with WorkSafeBC Regulation. The Okanagan College First Aid Program is designed to ensure all members of the college community receive appropriate first aid treatment in the event of an injury, illness, or exposure. First Aid Attendants are required to hold Occupational First Aid (OFA) Level 1 or Level 2 tickets and administer first aid within the scope of their training, including the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and Naloxone kits. 

  • In the event of an injury, illness, or exposure first aid services can be accessed by calling Security at:
  • 250-862-5401 or 6699 from a college phone
  • Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 in the event of medical emergency, but you must also notify Security so they can coordinate the emergency response on campus.

For more information:

First Aid Program

First Aid Attendant Resources

Driving can pose many significant risks. Okanagan College is committed to the health and safety of employees while they are driving for work purposes. The Fleet Vehicle Safety Program is designed to ensure service, fleet, and commercial vehicles owned by Okanagan College are operated and maintained in accordance with applicable WorkSafeBC and Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.  

Fleet Vehicle Safety Program

The General Safety Rules for Okanagan College workplaces are as follows:

  • Report all workplace injuries, exposures, and illnesses immediately
  • Report unsafe acts or conditions to your supervisor
  • Follow established safe work procedures and do not perform any unsafe acts
  • Keep work areas tidy and aisles clear – do not block emergency equipment or exits
  • Dress appropriately for your tasks and use PPE as required
  • Only operate tools, machinery, or equipment in accordance with the manufacture’s specifications
  • Don’t operate tools, machinery, or equipment you are not trained or qualified to use
  • Ensure your ability to work safely is not impaired by drugs, alcohol, fatigue, or other causes

Exposure to excessive noise in the workplace can cause permanent hearing loss, create physical and psychological stress, and contribute to accidents by making if difficult to communicate. Any workplace with exposure to average occupational noise levels of 85 dBA or peak noise levels of 140 dBA requires a hearing conservation program. Okanagan College’s Hearing Conservation Program has been established to help ensure employees, contractors, students, and visitors do not suffer health effects from exposure to excessive noise. The program entails minimizing noise exposure using the hierarchy of hazard controls, worker training and education, and audiometric testing and monitoring.

For more information:

Hearing Conservation Program

The Hot Work Safety Program is designed to protect persons and property from a fire caused by hot work.  This program details the requirements and procedures for performing hot work and establishes controls through the use of a hot work permit. 

Hot work will only be performed in areas that are or have been made fire safe. Fire watch persons are required where fire prevention systems are not sufficient.

For more information:

Hot Work Safety Program

The Influenza Vaccine Program aims to promote and enhance access to flu vaccines.

Flu shots protect against viruses that cause influenza (flu) by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the virus strains that are in the vaccine. Influenza vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza virus strains that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season

Influenza (flu) season typically occurs in the fall and winter but can occur as early as October and extend into the spring. Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from a cough or sneeze and then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose before washing their hands. A person with influenza is also at risk of other infections, including viral or bacterial pneumonia

For more information:

Influenza Vaccine Program

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization

HealthLinkBC File: Inactivated Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

FAQ about influenza vaccines page

Immunizebc: How do Vaccines Work

Influenza (Flu) Clinic locator

The Science and Technology Department has developed the Laboratory Safety Program to ensure the health and safety of all staff and students in laboratory settings in compliance with applicable legislation, standards, and guidelines.  The program entails worker training and orientation, hazard identification and control, and safe work and emergency procedures.

For more information:

Laboratory Safety Program

The Ladder Safety Program is designed to eliminate incidents related to ladder use, handling, and storage.  This program details worker training and orientation, appropriate ladder selection, hazard identification and control, inspection and maintenance requirements, and safe work and emergency procedures.

For more information contact the Health and Safety Department

The Lock Out Safety Program has been developed to protect workers from the hazards associated with the unexpected energization or startup of machinery or equipment or the unexpected release of an energy source.  This program establishes worker education and training requirements, hazard identification and control, lock out requirements and procedures.

When equipment or machinery is shut down for maintenance, no work may be performed until:

  • All parts and attachments have been secured against inadvertent movement
  • Exposure to energy sources have been effectively controlled
  • Energy isolating devices have been locked out as required

For more information:

Lock Out Safety Program

Manual handling includes any task that requires an individual to move or handle objects by lifting, lowering, holding, pushing, pulling, or carrying. This safety program ensures workers are aware of the hazards associated with manual handling and provides guidance to control these hazards.

For more information:

Manual Handling Safety Program

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable of all road users.  Drivers, riders, cyclists, and pedestrians all have responsibilities to pedestrian safety.  Interactions between pedestrians and vehicles on roads or in parking lots create many hazards.  In recognition of these hazards, this program provides guidance to enhance pedestrian safety at Okanagan College.

Pedestrians Should:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever possible
  • Walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic when a sidewalk or path is not available
  • Cross streets at designated crosswalks or intersections
  • Look for vehicles in all directions before entering a crosswalk or intersection
    • ensure you are seen, and the driver is stopping
  • Make eye contact with drivers; never assume a driver has seen you
  • Be as visible as possible, especially in poor weather and at night
    • Wear bright or light-colored clothing
    • Wear reflective clothing or markers
    • Use a flashlight, headlamp, or safety light
    • Stand clear of buses, parked cars, and other obstructions before crossing a road
  • Do not use headphones or electronic devices in crosswalks or intersections
  • Be alert to vehicle noises, back up lights, and back up alarms on vehicles

Drivers, Riders, and Cyclists Should:

  • Look out for pedestrians at all times
  • Be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit stops
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk; there may be pedestrians crossing where you can’t see
  • Slow down and use extra caution when visibility is limited at night or in poor weather
  • Always be alert for pedestrians when backing up
  • Follow posted speed limits and slow down as required in school zones and when pedestrians are on the road

For more information:

5.19 Pedestrian Safety Program

The Personal Protective Equipment Safety Program recognizes that some hazards cannot be managed solely through the use of engineering and administrative controls. When properly matched to a hazard, personal protective equipment (PPE) can be an effective last line of defense between a worker and a hazard. Using PPE does not reduce or eliminate the hazard itself and is only one component of an effective hazard control plan.

Personal protective equipment will be provided, used, and maintained when it has been determined that its use is required to ensure the health and safety of employees and that such use will lessen the likelihood of occupational injury and/or illness.

Please be aware there are various settings throughout our campuses that have mandatory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements

Different settings such as shops and laboratories have different PPE requirements indicated by signage as you enter an area

For more information:

Personal Protective Equipment Safety Program

The Respiratory Protection Program has been developed to eliminate or reduce potential harm to employees who may be exposed to respiratory health hazards. This program is intended to provide guidance on the selection, maintenance, and use of respiratory protection equipment as required by WorkSafeBC Regulations.

The Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) outlines the practices needed to control potential exposure to airborne contaminants when engineering or administrative controls are not reasonably practicable or adequate. The RPP is also implemented during maintenance, repairs, or emergency activities where airborne contaminants are present and other controls are not practical. It is also noted that the use of respirators as personal protective equipment is a last line of defense to protect workers after the standard hierarchy of controls has been applied.

For more information contact the Health and Safety Department

A safe work procedure (SWP) is a written step-by-step set of instructions on how to safely complete a specific task. Safe work procedures include:

  • Procedures listing all steps in sequence including pre and post task activities
  • All potential hazards associated with a task or piece of equipment
  • Hazard controls (elimination, substitution, engineering, administrative, PPE)
  • Training requirements
  • Prohibited actions and caution statements

Written safe work procedures are recommended for any medium to high-risk work activity and may be required when assigned by the Health and Safety Department, or in response to incident investigations or WorkSafeBC inspections.  The following points should be considered when determining if a written safe work procedure is required:

  • Requirements of applicable legislation, regulations, and guidelines such as the Worker’s Compensation Act
  • Findings from completed risk assessments, investigations, or inspections
  • Presence and effectiveness of existing hazard controls in place
  • Severity and consequences of potential incidents or injuries
  • Training and experience levels of workers performing the task
  • Complexity of the task (likelihood of errors increases with task complexity)
  • Frequency of the task (infrequent tasks may be harder to master)

For more information on developing safe work procedures:

Safe Work Procedures Program

Okanagan College is committed to a safe, healthy, and respectful workplace, and recognizes that scented products can negatively impact the health of some individuals. The Scent Safety Program endeavors to control exposure to scented products by increasing awareness, encouraging individuals to voluntarily avoid the use of scented products in the workplace, and providing guidance on addressing scent-related issues. Scent safety at Okanagan College is enhanced through the elimination, substitution, reduction, or isolation from heavily scented products and materials in the workplace.

For more information:

Scent Safety at Okanagan College

Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of injuries and near misses, particularly in the winter. It is important to be aware of slip, trip, and fall hazards and take steps to minimize the risk of injuries.  

You can help keep our campuses safe and prevent injuries by reporting slip, trip, or fall hazards to our Facilities Management Department by calling 250-762-5445 x4262 or submitting a Facilities Work Request

For more information read the Slip, Trips, and Falls Safety Program

Working in various weather conditions including hot and cold temperatures can present hazards to workers. This safety program is designed to provide education and awareness of hazards related to weather and temperature, and to provide guidance on working safely in hot and cold environments.

For more information:

Thermal Stress Safety Program