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June 2018

Alberta occupational health and safety legislation has changed

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act establishes minimum standards for healthy and safe practices in Alberta workplaces. The Act has been amended, effective June 1, 2018. Key updates include:
  • Changes to the purpose of the Act (to include psychological hazards and social wellbeing)
  • New roles and responsibilities in the workplace
  • Provision of worker rights (right to refuse dangerous work, right to know, right to participate)
For more information about the new Act and how it will affect the university, visit the EHS website or the Alberta government website.

Safety and Security Working Group (have you completed the survey yet?)

This summer a working group led by Facilities and Operations and Risk Management Services is reviewing safety and security across University of Alberta campuses.
A critical part of this work involves gaining a better understanding of the experience of members of the university community. To achieve this, the working group is asking all staff and students to take a few minutes to complete a short online survey.
The survey is available here.
In the photo above, representatives from Facilities and Operations and Risk Management Services at a forum in the Fine Arts Building April 11, 2018.

Word from Insurance & Risk Assessment

New alcohol event resource
If you are planning an event with alcohol service please be sure to check out the new Alcohol Events webpage. Did you know that all UAlberta groups are required to apply for permission to host an alcohol event? You can find a list of resources for event planners, rules for advertising UAlberta events, what you need to know to plan an outdoor event with alcohol, and more!

Does your department or unit issue waivers?
Insurance & Risk Assessment is conducting an institutional review of waivers and we need your help to ensure that we are considering your department's needs. We are developing guidelines and updating templates and we need to make sure we have consistent practices across our campuses.
View our website for more information or contact Amy Stafford at if you wish to be apprised of our progress and any changes we make. 
In the meantime, please feel free to use our online form to request a waiver tailored to your activity or event. For international travel, please submit the request at least 1 month in advance of the trip. For all other activities, please submit at least 15 business days in advance.

Travelling on university business this summer?
Remember to check with your personal insurance provider about insurance protection for personal property under your home or tenant policy.

A workplace impairment policy is on its way

If you missed the original article, see THE QUAD for information about the new policy, which is now in development.

Did you see the revised expense reimbursement procedure?
It's in THE QUAD too.

Nitric acid is explosive!

A recent incident in a U of A laboratory illustrated the explosive properties of nitric acid, particularly when combined with organic substances.
The incident — a blast event — occurred after a researcher heated an autoclave reaction vessel containing nitric acid and organic residue. The blast ejected the autoclave cap and body through the side of an oven. The autoclave body ricocheted off shelving and fell to the floor. The cap passed through a partition wall and struck the far wall of the laboratory next door.
Similar incidents have happened at postsecondary institutions across North America.
It is easy to forget that common chemicals can be hazardous. When working with any chemical, follow these basic steps:
1. Before you begin, complete a hazard assessment, including a review of the Safety Data Sheet, and implement control measures
2. Store it safely
3. Dispose of it properly

To learn more about the nitric acid blast event, as well as advice for safe handling of nitric acid, read the EHS blog.

Image: A transport truck in Ukraine carrying nitric acid explodes. YouTube / Nikolai Bearded

Please dispose of glassware properly

University cleaning and shipping staff have been noticing increased incidences of lab glassware being left on loading docks or dumped in blue bins. EHS asks that you avoid this unsafe practice and review their glassware disposal page for how to dispose of glass properly.

EHS services now include fire safety

Environment, Health & Safety has been working with Facilities and Operations (F&O) to reorganize fire safety as a centrally managed program. As of June 1st, 2018, the EHS Emergency Management (EM) Team will assume the following responsibilities:
  • U of A fire safety plan 
  • Fire warden program
  • Fire extinguisher training
  • Flammable storage cabinetslab fire safety
  • Fire drills
  • Emergency response binders
  • Edmonton Fire and Rescue Services Liaison
  • Smudging guidelines and procedures
  • Monthly inspections
For assistance with any of the above, contact 
Note that F&O will continue to conduct fire safety code inspections.

Mark your calendar

Safety Fest happens September 10-15. Read all about it!
The EHS Committee Mini Conference happens October 25.
If it's an EMERGENCY call 911. In other words:
  • If you need police because there's a crime happening right now call 911.
  • If something is on fire call 911.
  • If someone needs medical attention right now call 911.
This gets the emergency service rolling toward the scene.
Now that you've done that, call UAPS at 780-492-5050 (at Augustana 708-608-2905). UAPS will come to the scene to assist, including making sure the emergency responders can get to the location as quickly as possible.
For Enterprise Square, after calling 911, call 780-428-1541 for Enterprise Square Security.
Copyright © 2018 Risk Management Services at the University of Alberta, All rights reserved.

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