The Joys of Occupational Health and Safety!

By Milena Radzikowska

Know that digital-age adage: if you imagine something, it probably already exists on the Internet? Mine would be an on-line personality test based on your favorite academic committee. 

With some mix of trepidation and excitement I now reveal to you that mine is JOHSC, MRU’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (and, I’m certain that a lot can be guessed about my personality from my use of the word ‘excitement’ in this context). I will also attempt—below—to coax you into this compact, but passionate club.

While most of us are not currently working on campus, I would be loath to argue that there’s no intersect between our occupation, our health, and our safety. Furthermore, as MRU is currently undertaking much-needed updates and revisions to Policies and Procedures related to workplace health and safety, the following are important both to our current, as well as future, work experience at MRU.

What’s JOHSC?

JOHSC was re-formed at the start of 2019 in response to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, and subsequent Regulation and Code ( The Committee is made up of representatives from the worker side (MRSA and MRFA) and the employer side. Up until very recently, the two co-chairs (one from each side) were Peter Davidson, Head of Security, and me (as an MRFA representative). Last month, Catharine Lindland, Director of Student Learning Services, replaced Peter in the role of co-chair. The Act defines the Committee’s structure and responsibilities. 

So far, our work has focused on providing direction and clarity around OHS and the process for incident reporting at MRU; supporting updates and revisions to Policies and Procedures related to workplace health and safety; conduct regular work site and yearly incident report reviews, long-term safety remediation, and health and safety training; and respond to provincial reviews and site visits. JOHSC works with MRU’s Environmental Health & Safety team. EH&S sits under HR and is charged with reviewing, investigating, responding to, and reporting workplace health and safety incidents and concerns. HR reviews and investigates reports of violence and harassment.


All injuries, dangerous or harmful conditions, and close calls that occur at MRU should be reported to EH&S within 24h of the incident. In situations when swift reporting is not possible, we encourage you to report as soon as you’re able. Please use

  • Chemical and biological hazards 
  • Domestic violence in the workplace 
  • Fire and explosion hazards 
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Physical attack and aggression 
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Verbal or written threats

* Dating and sexual violence are also part of this list, but they are addressed through services and processes that are victim-centered and trauma-informed.

  • Ensure workers have skills and training needed to do their jobs in a healthy and safe manner
  • Provide competent supervisors
  • Prevent workplace violence and harassment
  • Inform workers of work site hazards
  • Set up safe work practices
  • Provide safety equipment and training
  • Investigate serious injuries and incidents, and potentially serious incidents
  • Work with the JOHSC
  • Meet OHS and Employment Standards Code requirements


  • Participate in assessments, inspections, and training
  • Know your area’s Emergency Wardens and First Aiders
  • Review emergency response and evacuation procedures
  • Ensure you have appropriate safety training for your role


  • Correct hazards immediately if you’re trained to do so
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Stay clear of contractor work zones
  • Practice good housekeeping
  • Inspect all tools and equipment before use
  • Be fit for duty (physically and mentally)
  • Report all incidents (including close calls).

If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me—your MRFA JOHSC rep—via (to email or using the calendar to schedule a video call).