1. Introduction
  2. General Principles
  3. Responsibilities
    1. Officers and Directors
    2. Deans and Academic and Administrative Department Heads
    3. Workers
    4. Supervisors of Independent Contractors
    5. Students
    6. Visitors


The Occupational Health and Safety Act  places the onus for compliance with legislation on the workplace parties within an organization. The Act lists responsibilities for employers, directors and officers, supervisors and workers forming the Internal Responsibility System (IRS). The IRS provides the basis for an effective Health and Safety Management System that enables the University to be proactive on health and safety matters. Its success depends on cooperation, consultation and a common interest in a safe and healthy workplace.

The workplace parties in the Internal Responsibility System at Carleton University are:

  • The Board of Governors
  • The Office of the President
  • The Deans, Directors and Department Heads
  • The Researchers, Managers and Supervisors
  • The Faculty, Staff and Students

The purpose of this document is as follows:

  • To formalize and clarify the health and safety responsibilities of each individual in the Carleton community, which should result in the promotion of health and safety and the reduction of occupational injury and illness;
  • To provide a framework under which the Board of Governors and the officers of Carleton University may comply with their personal legal duties to take all reasonable care to ensure that the University complies with the OHSA and its regulations
  • To implement the University health and safety policy and provide a framework for identifying and controlling workplace hazards; and
  • To provide guidance to department heads, managers and supervisors in meeting their obligations under the legislation.

General Principles

The management of health and safety is not an optional extra to existing management and supervisory activities. In order to make the health and safety management system successful, it must be fully integrated into all other management activities. Each level of management has an obligation and responsibility to those reporting to them and accountability to those whom they report to with respect to health and safety.

The safety standards at Carleton University must, at a minimum, meet the requirements of any applicable piece of legislation or code of practice, as set by the various regulatory agencies.

Students leaving Carleton University should take with them the knowledge and the attitude that integrates and accepts good health and safety practices as normal in their everyday activities. This standard can only be met if the faculty and staff set high personal standards, lead by example and ensure that safe work practices are routine in all activities.

Carleton University has an Environmental Health and Safety Policy in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The policy is reviewed and approved by Senior Management Committee on an annual basis. The policy expresses the commitment of the University to health and safety.


All persons in the workplace, faculty and staff, visitors and students, officers and directors, managers and supervisors, share the responsibility for ensuring a safe working environment. Under the OHSA, the University as an employer, and supervisors, must “take every precaution reasonable under the circumstances for the protection of a worker”. The responsibility lies with the Board of Governors and the line of supervision, beginning with the President and proceeding to the workplace supervisor and the worker. Managers and supervisors are accountable for carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with the OHSA and the policies and programs of the University. The OHSA assigns specific duties and responsibilities to various parties in the workplace.

Officers and Directors

The Officers and Directors of Carleton University are the members of the Board of Governors, the President, the Vice-Presidents, the Executive Director, and the University Secretary.

Section 32 of the OHSA states the following:

Every director and every officer of a corporation shall take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complies with,

(a) This Act and the regulations;

(b) Orders and requirements of inspectors and Directors (Ministry of Labour); and

(c) Orders of the Minister (Ministry of Labour).

The Board of Governors carries out its responsibilities through one of its committees, the Audit and Risk Committee, and through the Office of the President. The Board of Governors is responsible for the health and safety activities of Carleton University and for ensuring that the Health and Safety Management System is developed, implemented and maintained; and that the subject appears annually on their agenda.

The Audit and Risk Committee reviews annual report of the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) on Environmental Health and Safety.

The Office of the President assumes a leadership role in promoting the elements of the Health and Safety Management System. The President has overall responsibility for directing health and safety activities through the Vice-Presidents, and, in particular, for ensuring that the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) has developed and maintains a written environmental health and safety policy and program and that the program is implemented satisfactorily. The President has delegated specific responsibilities for health and safety to the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) and to the management structure.

The Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, the Vice-President (Research and International), and the Vice-President (Finance and Administration)  are responsible to the President for directing health and safety activities. Each Vice-President will assume a leadership role in promoting the elements of the health and safety management system within their areas of responsibility.

The Vice-President (Finance and Administration) oversees and supports the work of Environmental Health and Safety in coordinating the University’s activities regarding the development, implementation, and maintenance of the Health and Safety program.

The Executive Director (Office of Risk Management) is responsible to the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) for the following:

  • Recommending to the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) an environmental health and safety policy and program and amendments to keep them current;
  • Coordinating the University’s activities regarding the development, implementation and maintenance of the Health and Safety Program;
  • Preparation of an annual report to the Audit and Risk Committee for the Vice-President (Finance and Administration);
  • Providing the health and safety support services to the University community as assigned.

Environmental Health and Safety assists persons and departments in meeting their responsibilities by providing advice on applicable legislation and the University’s policies and procedures, monitoring compliance with the legislation and the Health and Safety Program, and recommending policies and procedures.

Deans and Academic and Administrative Department Heads

The heads of academic faculties and administrative units are responsible to their vice-president for ensuring the development, implementation and maintenance of health and safety programs within their unit. Although a number of functions surrounding the performance of these specific duties and legal obligations can be delegated by the dean to the department head, the responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable legislation still rests with this person.

Academic and administrative department heads will assume a leadership role in promoting the elements of the Health and Safety Management System by:

  • Conducting health and safety visibility tours of their areas;
  • Providing information, instruction and training to enable workers to safely perform their jobs;
  • Introducing and maintaining measures designed to identify, monitor, assess and control risks;
  • Reviewing reports of incidents to ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken;
  • Maintaining appropriate records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with their duties and obligations; and
  • Providing the proper supervision of all undergraduate and graduate students.

In the event that an employee or student of the University is found to be working in an unsafe manner contrary to University policy and in contravention of the legislation, a system must be in place to take corrective action. Dangerous working conditions must be stopped by the appropriate University official and must be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the OHSA and/or other applicable legislation.

Researchers, Managers, and Supervisors

The OHSA defines a “supervisor” as a “person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker” and lists the duties of a “supervisor” in Section 27, as follows:

A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

(a) Works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations; and

(b) Uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.

Without limiting the duty imposed by the above, a supervisor shall,

(a) Advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware;

(b) Where so prescribed (by the Regulations to this Act) provide a worker with written instructions as to the measures and procedures to be taken for protection of the workers; and

(c) Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

Due to the unique nature of a university workplace, faculty members have all of the duties and responsibilities of employers and supervisors as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to their contract staff and students.

Every person in a supervisory position is responsible to the line of authority for ensuring that:

  • The health and safety of those persons reporting to the supervisor are protected and promoted;
  • The maintenance and effectiveness of applicable health and safety programs are reviewed regularly;
  • Staff receive information, instruction and training in order to perform their jobs safely;
  • Accident/incident reports with potential for injury and/or property damage are investigated immediately and corrective action is taken;
  • The work area is inspected on a regular basis and the required safety procedures are being followed;
  • New staff are advised of safety rules, practices and procedures before beginning work;
  • Safety rules, practices and procedures are discussed with staff on a monthly basis.


The OHSA defines workers as “a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation”. All employees of the University are workers within the meaning of the OHSA. Students who are paid to perform work as well as co-op students are workers under the Act.

All workers, as outlined above, while on the University premises, are responsible for:

  • Complying with the OHSA and regulations and the rules and procedures developed under the Health and Safety Program of Carleton University;
  • Promptly reporting to his/her supervisor any observed contravention of the OHSA or regulations or of the rules and procedures developed under the Health and Safety Program or any workplace hazard of which he/she/they is aware;
  • Refraining from any activity that may endanger their health and safety or that of any other person.

Supervisors of Independent Contractors

Any employee of the University who is responsible for hiring or overseeing an independent contractor to perform work within a University workplace shall ensure the following:

  • The contract documents incorporate the applicable requirement under the University Health and Safety Program;
  • Relevant information relating to workplace hazards and environmental health and safety is communicated to the contractor;
  • Contract requirements for complying with the University Health and Safety Program and other relevant programs are monitored and enforced.


It is the intention of the University to maintain and to improve workplace health and safety for all of its members. The University needs the co-operation of students in meeting these obligations. The policy by the University is extended to all students while engaged in University activities. All students are therefore reminded of their general obligations to the University:

  • To take reasonable care for the health and safety of him/her/they and of other persons who may be affected by his/her/their acts or omissions.
  • To seek medical advice from a doctor if he/she/they suspects any medical condition that may be study/course related.
  • Not to interfere with or misuse equipment provided for safety purposes.
  • To co-operate with the University to enable it to comply with any relevant statutory provisions.
  • To co-operate with the University in the use of such personal protective equipment as may be required to be worn during practical classes and project work.


It is the policy of the University that, as much as is practicable, the campus will be a safe and healthy place to work and study. Therefore, although they may not meet the precise definition of worker, visitors to campus should be afforded the same protection that would be afforded a worker under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.