It pays to be prepared

New Occupational Health Committees making a difference at USask.

By Ashley Dopko, University Communications

As aquatic coordinator for the College of Kinesiology for 31 years, Kim Jones knows about safety. For Jones, safety is more than what someone does or doesn’t do.

“Communication and collaboration are critical to achieving our safety outcomes for the College of Kinesiology,” said Jones who is part of the college’s new Occupational Health Committee.

In 2024, the university’s Safety Resources team in partnership with the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, is shifting from smaller local safety committees to more robust Occupational Health Committees (OHC) across campus. The new OHC committees, which are legislated by government, are responsible to help identify, eliminate, or control hazards. In addition to this they make recommendations to improve workplace health and safety as well as helping to resolve concerns.

Jones and the OHC committee in kinesiology have recently worked to initiate a number of safety-related changes including making a small alteration to a sump pump, full flooring renewal at the clubhouse at Griffith Stadium and the Loft at Education gym (previously trip hazards) to name just a few.

“We had a big win when a ramp was added to R Lot making it safer and more accessible,” said Jones, noting that it is a team effort. “All of these achievements have been a big collaborative effort across many units across campus. Facilities, and Colleen Funk especially, has really helped our college have these wins.”

Everyone on campus has the responsibility to make sure their workspace is safe, explained Jones.

“It’s important to realize that even though you’re technically in an office setting, there are still challenges that you can face,” said Jones. “There are ergonomics to consider or even things like trip hazards on floors, or even the possibility of pipes bursting.”

If you’re experiencing workplace safety issues or have questions about safety,  contact your supervisor to discuss the safety concerns in an effort to resolve them. If the issue can't be resolved between the worker and supervisor, USask’s Safety Resources and your local OHC can work with workers and their supervisor to resolve workplace safety issues.