The Dalhousie Environmental Health and Safety Committee recognizes significant accomplishments in campus environmental health and safety by presenting an annual award. In recognizing such accomplishments, the Committee hopes to underscore the importance of campus health and safety express the appreciation of the University community for the work of individuals and units.
Who is eligible for an award?
Any individual or group who has undertaken any activity that makes Dalhousie University a safer place in which to live, play, work or study;
- improves safety for University activities which take place off-campus; or
- integrates health and safety into teaching or research activities
Who may make nominations?
Any Dalhousie University student, staff or faculty member.
What form will the award take?
Recipients will be presented with a plaque at a ceremony involving the Dalhousie University Environmental Health and Safety Committee and University officials.
How do I make a nomination?
Send a short note describing the individual or program and the impact on the environement, health and/or safety, along with a contact person involved with the program. Please include your name and send it to the EH&S Office.
2012-2013: Gerald Johnston, Mark Obrovac, & Ian Wagschal
Dr. Jim Spatz, Chair of the Board, and President Richard Florizone presented the 2013 Environmental Health and Safety Award to three recipients: Dr. Gerald Johnston, Faculty of Medicine, for his leadership in establishing a medical surveillance program for individuals working with biological agents; Professor Mark Obrovac, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, for his work on a number of initiatives to unify the safety policies and practices in his department; and Mr. Ian Wagschal, Department of Facilities Management, for his work to initiate a system of contractor oversight that has led to a greater understanding by contractors and Dalhousie staff of the importance of safety at Dalhousie.
2011-2012: Josh Leon, Blaine Cleghorn, & Facilities Management's Hazardous Materials Team
The annual Environmental Health and Safety Awards were presented to three deserving recipients.
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, for his leadership in integrating health and safety as part of the learning experience of the faculty’s students, and across the faculty in general.
Assistant dean, dental clinical sciences of the Faculty of Dentistry, for his contributions in communicating and developing and supporting programs for faculty, staff and students in health and safety.
Facilities Management’s Hazardous Materials Team
Who brings a proactive approach to identifying, quantifying and addresses hazardous materials in university buildings.
2008-2009: Paul Amyotte & Peter Wallace
Professor of Process Engineering and Applied Science in the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Paul Amyotte teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on industrial safety, prevention and risk assessment. He conducts research on offshore safety, inherent safety, process safety, and dust explosion prevention. Knowledge of these health and safety issues is critical to professional practice.
Dr. Amyotte was recently invited to Texas A&M University, where he presented a lecture titled "Making Safety Second Nature." He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, chair of the NSERC Strategic Projects Selection Panel for Safety and Security and a member of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board with a particular interest in the teaching of risk management.
Peter Wallace, a senior instructor in the Department of Earth Sciences, has authored and formalized the special precautions required for the health and safety of many faculty and students participating in field work in his department. Mr. Wallace’s protocols provide for risk assessment and documentation, preparation and training for such risks. This has imparted field safety awareness and best practice throughout the teaching staff. And, his efforts have proven so valuable that other departments now use his safety manual in establishing their field work safety precautions.
He also has produced a comprehensive field guide and ensures that safety equipment is not only available, but up to date and maintained.
2007-2008: University Safety Committee Members & Radiation Safety Committee
University Safety Committee Members and Radiation Safety Committee
The Dalhousie Environmental Health and Safety Committee understands that creating a safe and healthy work and study environment requires the participation of all members of the University. To encourage such participation, the University has a long standing practice of operating safety committees at local unit, building, and faculty levels. It is at these levels that both University-wide and local safety programs are supported and where local issues are most easily resolved.
The Environmental Health and Safety Committee has decided to recognize their contribution to University health and safety, by awarding the 2007-2008 Environmental Health and Safety Committee Award to past and present members of these local committees.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its creation, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee wishes to particularly recognize the contribution made by members of the University Radiation Safety Committee. First established in 1982, the Radiation Safety Committee has guided the development of the policies and procedures which together have created a radiation safety program which is well respected by other Universities and by both Federal and Provincial regulatory agencies. The Committee has successfully brought together researchers and teachers from the Faculties of Dentistry, Medicine, Science, and - since amalgamated with the Technical University of Nova Scotia - Engineering to achieve the highest standards of radiation safety. The Radiation Safety Committee, like other local committees, continues to respond to new developments. In recent years, the Committee has taken a broader view of its mandate and is presently guiding the development of safety programs to address the safety issues associated with the use of x-rays and lasers.
2005-2006: University Fire Wardens
University Fire Wardens
Whenever there is a need for the evacuation of a University building, there are a number of fire wardens in the building that help direct occupants to the appropriate exits. In the case of a real emergency, this could be an action that can prevent injury or even death. Fire wardens volunteer their time to perform this function.
With the 2005-2006 Award, the Committee continues that practice by recognizing the voluntary contribution to campus safety made by hundreds of fire wardens whose efforts support their colleagues, students and visitors in buildings across the entire University. The Committee believes that Dalhousie is a leader in institutional fire safety and that effors of fire wardens who volunteer their time and effort is a critically important component of our system.
2004-2005: Personnel Services & Dalhousie Health Services
Personnel Services and Dalhousie Health Services for their efforts in offering the annual Flu Immunization Program
By the 1990's, Canadian public health authorities had begun to promote an annual flu shot as a safe and effective means of reducing the illness caused each winter by the influenza virus. The immunization programs offered by public health agencies focused largely on "high risk" groups including the aged and those whose medical conditions placed them at particular risk. It is only during the last few years that some of these public health agencies have come to realize that there are more important public health benefits to offering immunization to a much broader range of people.
As annual flu clinics became more prevalent in the late 1990's, Personnel Services recognized that an annual flu immunization could benefit Dalhousie employees, including many who would not be included among the "high risk" populations. Accordingly, Personnel Services, assisted by Dalhousie's University Health Services, offered the first staff influenza immunization clinic in the fall of 1999. Encouraged by the almost 450 employees who participated in that first clinic, Personnel Services and Dalhousie University Health Services offered a second program in 2000. At that clinic, almost 800 people received a flu shot. Encouraged by this level of interest, Personnel Services and University Health Services have continued to offer immunization clinics each year since. In a typical year between 600 and 700 employees have received flu immunization.
For many years, immunizations have been an important component of infection control programs at Dalhousie. Such infection control programs are particularly important in patient care and in units where work or study brings people into contact with potentially infectious human or animal tissue. The Environmental Health and Safety Committee wishes to acknowledge the importance of these infection control programs and the contributions thate those involved are making to health and safety within the University and the wider community.
By awarding the Annual Environmental Health and Safety Award to Personnel Services and University Health Services, the Committee wishes to recognize in a particular way, infection control efforts embodied in the annual flu immunization initiative.
2003-2004: Staff and Volunteers of Fenwick Place before, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Juan
Staff and Volunteers who served residents of Fenwick Place before, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Juan
As did most Nova Scotians, staff of Fenwick Place expected that Hurricane Juan would behave like all hurricanes, in living memory. So, on September 29th, the staff began preparations for a storm they expected would bring high winds and rain. With the usual storm preparations completed by 6:00 pm, the storm began about 9:00 pm. But by 10:30 pm., it was clear that this was no ordinary storm.
The preparations for Hurricane Juan actually began over a decade ago, when Housing and Conference Services first began comprehensive emergency planning. In the months and weeks before Juan came ashore, Housing continued to carry-out renovations in Fenwick Place and modify procedures in response to the experience of spring storms.
As the storm grew in intensity, the Accommodation's Office began to receive calls that the wind was blowing in south-facing windows. Staff were dispatched to help those in distress and a limited evacuation was initiated. Soon, reports began to reach to the office that windows in other parts of the building were also being blown in and that rain, driven by 150 km/hour winds, was flooding into many suites. Realizing the danger that the storm presented, Fenwick managers ordered a complete evacuation.
Staff, aided by volunteer residents, put the emergency evacuation plan into effect. Despite the raging storm, continuing wind and water damage, and the power failure, the staff and volunteer residents safely evacuated about 450 people to the building=s lower floor. Once the evacuation was complete, the staff and volunteers - sometimes at considerable personal risk - selflessly cared for the displaced residents until morning.
As dawn broke, staff concluded that residents could not return to their rooms. So, while others in the Municipality were still trying to come to grips with the extent of the hurricane damage, staff had already begun to find alternative accommodations and to arrange transportation, in a City paralysed by the storm. By mid-morning, they had set in motion, the repair efforts. During the following week, staff cared for the displaced residents, developed a longer term accommodations plan for those whose apartments had been virtually destroyed and completed repairs that allowed most residents to return to the building in time for the resumption of classes.
Along with other members of the University, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee recognizes the efforts of all those who contributed to the planning and execution of Dalhousie's response to Hurricane Juan. By awarding the 2003-2004 Health and Safety Award to all those who served the residents of Fenwick Place during the Juan crisis, the Committee wishes to particularly recognize their outstanding health and safety performance, particularly in the areas of emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
2002-2003: Dalhousie Arts Centre
Dalhousie Arts Centre in recognition of significant accomplishments in Fire and Public Safety
Over the past several years, Management and Staff of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, have taken steps to improve public and fire safety within the Arts Centre while also supporting improved safety performance within the wider Performing Arts community.
Although the Arts Centre is just over 30 years old, many changes have been introduced into the Fire and Building Codes since the building was first opened. Recognizing that the newer designs called for in the current codes afford increased protection, the Arts Centre Management has added or upgraded railings, throughout public areas of the Arts Centre and at emergency exits. Stair tread markings have been improved to offer better visibility, and the entrance to the Cohn Theatre has been modified to facilitate emergency egress.
The Arts Centre responded to province-wide concerns, about the dangers of working at heights, and purchased a new hoist. Not only does it permit Arts Centre staff and visiting productions to more safety prepare the theatres for performances, the hoist is also available to our students as they carry-out the backstage work associated with our student theatre productions.
The Arts Centre also hosted a very successful Rigging Safety Workshop. This Workshop provided an opportunity for our technical staff, as well as those from performing arts organizations across the region, to learn more about this highly specialized field from an internationally recognized expert.
And in a quiet and unassuming way, the Management and staff, conscientiously care for the comfort and safety of the thousands of people who visit the Arts Centre each year.
The Environmental Health and Safety Committee wishes to recognize these efforts by awarding the 2002-2003 Environmental Health and Safety Award to the Management and Staff of the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
2001-2002: Facilities Management
Facilities Management in recognition of significant accomplishments in Construction Safety
Over the past several years, Dalhousie has been involved in major construction at a level not seen for several decades. Historically, this type of heavy construction has been notoriously dangerous. Although in recent years, the industry's safety performance has improved, both in Nova Scotia and across the country, heavy construction remains a dangerous activity and serious accidents continue to injure, disable and occasionally kill construction workers.
Shortly after the amalgamation with the former TUNS, Dalhousie embarked on a building program which has seen the University successfully renovate the heritage Morray Apartment Building and link it to the H.R. Theakston Building, to create a major new teaching space on the Sexton campus. While that project was underway, the University fast-tracked the construction of a major, state-of-the-art building to house the Faculty of Computer Sciences. Within the last few weeks, the University opened yet another new building - the Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building. As well as accommodating the Dean and most of the departments which comprise the Faculty, the building includes 27 classrooms and seminar rooms which will make it a major centre for teaching.
In total, these projects represent an expenditure in the range of 35 million dollars and required almost 350,000 hours of labour. Despite the dangers involved, only 6 construction workers suffered work injuries that were serious enough to cause them to lose time from work. In none of these accidents did the workers suffer any continuing disability and each worker was subsequently able to return to work.
Responsibility for safety on a construction project is shared by the general contractor, the sub- contractors and the individual workers. But the general contractor carries a special responsibility for co-ordinating the activities of dozens of firms and hundreds of workers. Most organizations turn to outside general contractors when undertaking major construction efforts. But in each of these projects, Dalhousie chose to act as its own general contractor. The safe and successful completion of these projects is the result of the combined efforts of a number of people within Facilities Management.
The annual Environmental Health and Safety Awards were presented to three deserving recipients.
Josh Leon, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, for his leadership in integrating health and safety as part of the learning experience of the faculty’s students, and across the faculty in general.
Blaine Cleghorn, assistant dean, dental clinical sciences of the Faculty of Dentistry, for his contributions in communicating and developing and supporting programs for faculty, staff and students in health and safety.
Facilities Management’s Hazardous Materials Team, who brings a proactive approach to identifying, quantifying and addresses hazardous materials in university buildings.The Environmental Health and Safety Committee wishes to recognize these efforts by awarding the 2001 - 2002 Environmental Health and Safety Award to Facilities Management.
1999-2000: Housing & Conference Services
Housing and Conference Services in recognition of Residence Safety
Over the past several years, Housing and Conference Services has made a concerted effort to improve health and safety in the University residences.
A major focus has been improved fire safety and emergency preparedness. Examples of initiatives include:
- Improved fire separation in Fenwick Place hallways.
- Installation of wired-in smoke detectors in Howe Hall, Shirreff Hall and Glengary Apartments.
- Emergency lighting upgrades in Shirreff Hall and O'Brien Hall.
- Improved exit provisions in Shirreff Hall and Eliza Ritchie.
- Development of comprehensive emergency evacuation plans for each residence, the initial work to create a university residence disaster response plan.
An expanded training program has been developed to train Front Desk staff in fire safety, first aid and CPR.
In the area of health, a new sharps collection and disposal program was developed to reduce the chances that a resident or a staff member might be accidentally at risk of contracting a blood-borne disease as a result of suffering a needle stick injuryt.
In environmental matters, staff have worked with students to expand recycling efforts and to support a student initiative to safely dispose of batteries.
Dalhousie Security Services in recognition of Light Walk
Each summer since 1991, the Security Office has organized a Light Walk which has brought together students and academic, administrative and trades staff who are interested in campus safety and security. Touring the campus grounds after dark, the group has identified areas where inadequate lighting and over-grown shrubbery create places where accidents or assaults might be more likely. A week or two after the tour, the groups reassemble to review the findings and to suggest steps that might be taken to improve safety and security.
In response to these suggestions, the University has invested well over $135,000 in outdoor safety and security improvements. There is no doubt that, as a result of the Light Walk, the campus is now a much safer and more welcoming place.
As many of the long standing problems have been resolved, the more recent tours have increasingly started to look at other areas of outdoor safety including the conditions of sidewalks, stairs and other potential hazards.
Based upon the success of the Dalhousie Light Walk, similar programs have sprung up in Halifax and area neighbourhoods and at other universities in both Nova Scotia and across the country.
1998-1999: Faculty of Dentistry & Dalhousie Student Union, & Dalhousie Security
Faculty of Dentistry in recognition of Needle Stick Injury Prevention Program
Dental work requires continual work with sharp hand-held instruments, scalpel blades, needles and rotary burrs. Although an accident with any such equipment is serious, sharp dental instruments which have been in contact with patient blood or similar may present a particular hazard.
In 1990, as part of an expanded infection control program, the Dental Clinic began to focus on the prevention of cut and puncture injuries in the Clinic. Included among the steps taken to eliminate these injuries were:
- a review and redesign of sharps handling procedures in patient treatment and collection and cleaning of used instruments;
- introduction of a one-handed scoop technique to avoid the injuries which occurred during needle recapping;
- removal of sharps from patient treatment cubicals at end of day to protect evening shift custodians;
- housekeeping in patient treatment cubicles.
Dalhousie Student Union and Dalhousie Security Department in recognition of Tiger Patrol Program
The Environmental Health and Safety Committee wishes to acknowledge both the Dalhousie Student Union and Dalhousie Security Services for their inovative and highly successful Tiger Patrol program. Since 1991, Tiger Patrol have provided safe escorts to 7689 pedestrians. Since introduced in 1994, the Tiger Patrol Van Service has safely transported 11077 people between campus locations.