April 12, 2006

Minutes of Meeting:

Wednesday,April 12, 2006 - 9:00 a.m.

Room SB 3128

Present: Sandy Arch, Lisa Cheung, Patrick Doyle, Rob Eidukaitis, Margaret Fung, Paul Handley, John Janczura, Rubina Lewis, Liz Martin, Louise Oliver, Laura Patterson, Len Paris, Fred Wright

Regrets: Evan Apsit, Ray deSouza, Paull Goldsmith, Jack Pienczykowski, April Wong

Guests: Peter Nicoll, Myra Lefkowitz 

1. Approval Of Agenda

The agenda was approved as distributed. 

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

 The minutes were approved as distributed.                  

3. Welcome New Director Evironmental Health and Safety  - Peter Nicoll

  Len welcomed Peter Nicoll, the new Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the University.  Peter outlined the goals of his Department for the next three years, and their action plan for this year. 

Peter believes that Health and Safety at U of T should be guided by a series of principles.  Some of these include:  Health and Safety must be seen as important to the Community (focus on the benefit, de-emphasize compliance as the driving force); more emphasis should be placed on prevention; there must be a strong sense of ownership by line management, including faculty; expectations of the University for line managers should be set out for all management processes an effective management system must be risk-based, which requires us to have a strong sense of risk assessment and spend a lot of time and energy assessing hazards.

In March, his group had met to define their mission and identify goals for the next three years.  The goals included:  increase engagement of senior managers in Health and Safety management; become more proactive, less reactive; develop an effective training program, including online training where appropriate; increase visibility, credibility for the department; an increase emphasis on the environmental in Environmental Health and Safety

Priorities for this year include:  the introduction of the risk assessment process to one service department, one academic department, and, if possible, to one campus; identify ways to manage the workings of the JHSCs so they are all in compliance with the legislative requirements, as a minimum; obtain approval for a new EHS management system; increase e-training for areas where it is possible; establish more timely accident statistics; and reorganize the website to make it more user-friendly.

[Peter suggested having training come to UTM to facilitate participation by committee members and others, and advised Len that he had made a commitment to Ray to look at a dedicated person for UTM.]

 Peter welcomed any suggestions from Committee members.  Len suggested that the Committee could spent time at an upcoming meeting brainstorming ways to implement some of Peter's ideas.  Peter offered to come out to UTM again, and talk about the risk assessment/management process.

4. Smoking Policy and possible Changes 

Len introduced Myra Lefkowitz, Manager of Health and Well-being Programs and Services, who had been invited to provide the Committee with an update on the University's smoking policy.  Governing Council routinely reviews all University policies and is currently working on the Smoking Policy.  The current policy is from 1995, and does not reflect the changes in legislation that have taken place over the past several years.  The University is divided into two camps:  one which would like to see the policy tightened, the other which would like to leave it to the city and province to decide where people can and cannot smoke.

In the absence of clear direction from the University, many areas on the St. George campus have developed their own responses.  For example, the Faculty of Physical Education and Health has designated areas where people can smoke, with benches and ashtrays.  This works better in the good weather; in winter, people revert to smoking in the doorways.  With respect to the campaign launched at UTM, Myra confirmed that there is nothing in the policy to preclude our making a local practice regarding where people can smoke.  The current policy talks about limiting exposure to second-hand smoke, and supports our initiative.

The review of the policy is not moving at the moment.  Sandra Deike has done a lot of work, and has advised the Assistant Vice-President, HR, that direction from senior management is required in order for the group to move forward.  It would be helpful if the Committee sent a letter to Christina Sass-Kortsak (Assistant VP-HR) and Angela Hildyard (VP-HR), copying Myra, Sandra and Peter, saying we would like there to be a review of policy to support our policy at UTM.  Myra also said it may be appropriate to develop a working committee with membership from health and Well-being, Student Health, that could look at supporting or funding smoking cessation programs, as there is a need to complement limits on smoking with education and resources to help smokers quit.

The UTM "Move your Butt" campaign information was circulated for information.  Myra complimented the Committee on its initiative.  Len advised the Committee that Donna Liu in the Library had prepared the flash presentation and all the related materials, and that he would like to invite her to a meeting to thank her for all her hard work.  The Committee was in agreement with this suggestion.

5.Bussiness Arising from the Minutes

a) Terms of Reference

Len presented Peter with the Terms of Reference, signed by Len, Sandy and Ray, for his review and hopefully approval or additional comments.

b)  South Building Safety Audit

Len had recently received a written report of the audit done in December and March.  The audit covers only the research wing and areas in which graduate students work.  The report included several recommendations involving the Graduate Students' Union, regarding lighting in the hallways, light switches in the washrooms so they cannot be turned off, signage on doors indicating what time doors are locked, and building hours.  In the next few weeks, Len will finalize the recommendations, have them costed and have the work done.  Len offered to attach a copy of the audit to these minutes.

Margaret said there was an issue at the United Steelworkers Central Committee regarding staff leaving work at night, and they wanted the suburban campuses to look at the parking areas.  Len advised that at UTM, we have a lot of lighting and phones in surface parking.  In the CCIT Garage, there is good signage, closed circuit cameras, phones, and good lighting.  He also reminded the committee that we have the Walksafer the Working Alone programs.  Reminders go out about these periodically on the Erincomm listserve.

c) Accident Reports

Len advised the Committee that there were no lost-time accidents for staff.  In addition, most accidents were minor.  Sandy mentioned that several people had been injured on rough wood bannisters, and she had told them to advise the department to ensure the bannisters were sanded.  She urged the Committee to ensure that any hazards that could be resolved through maintenance were reported.

d) Workplace Inspections

Len urged Committee members to continue doing their inspections.

6.New Bussiness

a) Emergency exit, D-block, South Building

It was noted that the signage for the emergency evacuation sign near the 1000 stairwell (near the new vivarium)  is very confusing.  Len will speak to Fred about this.

b)  Inspection forms

At the last meeting, Elizabeth Cheung had shared a new form for inspections, and talked about having a subcommittee to revise forms to ensure that the inspections consider factors relevant to the diversity of our population (e.g., that fire extinguishers are accessible to people in wheelchairs, that signs can be understood by people who do not speak English).  It was suggested that this be done over the spring and summer.  Rubina, Lisa and Louise will make up this committee and will send the revised form to Liz for her review.

c) Health and Safety web page

Len reported that the UTM JHSC web page is currently being revamped to have many more links to Environmental Health and Safety and Health and Well-being sites.  Once this is done, he will send the link to the committee.

d) Committee membership

 Len advised that Adrian Georgescu would like to join the committee. 

 e) Lifting Devices

Margaret said she was still waiting to hear about lifting devices on campus.  Several members suggested people she could contact or areas that may have lifting devices.

f)  Health and Safety Day

Margaret indicated that they were waiting to hear back from Steel about dates - they are looking at late May or sometime in June.

g) Summer WHMIS course

This course will be held on May 5.  For those who miss it, Rubina has the video, and she gives them a quiz afterward.  WHMIS online also works; however, it is used as a back-up, since the preference is still for people to attend.  There was some discussion about whether a quiz should follow the training; given that the in-person training is a full day and the instructor is able to ensure participants are engaged, it may be that a quiz is more appropriate for either on-line or video training.


The meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 21, 2006 at 9:00 am in room SB2068