Framework of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Support for Research Phase-In

Based on the recent Research Phase-In Framework, EHS is proposing the following:

  1. Development of a Local Support Network
    • This will involve identification of Local Health and Safety contacts within academic and research units to work with identified EHS liaisons to support implementing the required safety measures and precautions.
  2. Training and Guidance
    • EHS will develop and provide an online training package for returning personnel, including researchers, addressing general COVID-19 related measures and precautions.
    • EHS will develop and maintain guidance documents related to COVID-19 precautionary measure and practices.
  3. Monitoring and Compliance
    • EHS will monitor COVID-19 related precautionary measures and practices through their ongoing inspections (Laboratory, Biosafety and Radiation) and audits
    • EHS will provide a COVID-19 inspection checklist for use by unit Health and Safety contacts and Local Joint Health and Safety Committees

Developing Support Network

EHS will develop a network of local contacts who will liaise with EHS experts to support implementation and monitoring of COVID-related precautionary measures in line with Public Health direction and best practices across the research enterprise.  In consultation with key departmental contacts including Associate Directors Research and Assistant Directors Finance & Operation, this network, will be developed first using the existing resources within Local Joint Health and Safety Committees (LJHSC) and Health and Safety Representative (H&S Rep) framework.  This network of Health and Safety contacts will be the point of contact for EHS and become the local resource for monitoring COVID-19 related measures that have been implemented by each department/unit.  

The majority of academic departments, particularly those that are most likely to require access to campus facilities during research phase-in have existing LJHSCs and therefore have existing liaisons with EHS personnel.  Research Stations have existing Health and Safety Representatives, as appropriate. See Appendix 1.   

Those academic departments without current LJHSCs, are likely to have limited requirements for on-site access to campus facilities as research will often be able to continue remotely.  It is reasonable to suggest that an alternative “health and safety” contact be identified and an EHS liaison assigned to each of these colleges to support these departments accordingly, during the return to work Phase-in following COVID-19.  While members of the LJHSC are preferred contacts given their previous involvement in safety in the workplace, units will be given the flexibility to assign others as appropriate with consideration of those personnel who are currently under-utilized. It will be important that the health and safety precautions put in place to support the resumption of research operations become an item on LJHSC meeting agendas to ensure that  JHSC engagement, as appropriate. 

EHS will establish a community of practice to support this networking, and using Microsoft Teams enable consistent communications, sharing of guidance and best practices as it relates to the research phase in.

Role of Unit Contacts

The role of unit contacts will be to:

  • Act as the point of contact for the EHS liaison
  • Participate in the networking team to stay current with new COVID-19 related policies/procedures/guidelines
  • Communicate related EHS guidance within their unit
  • Provide ongoing support to the unit related to COVID-19 precautionary measures as research is phased back
  • Monitor ongoing compliance using the approved research recovery checklist found within research management plans

Role of EHS Liaisons

  • Be a resource and liaise with the unit contact
  • Lead the networking team
  • Provide guidance to the unit contact on COVID-19 related, inquiries, related policies/procedures and guidelines
  • Provide a training module for returning research personnel
  • Provide the inspection checklist, incorporating covid-19 related precautionary measures and practices to unit contacts and/or LJHSCs
  • To ensure that measured outcomes are reviewed by LJHSCs
  • Include COVID-19 related precautionary measures within General Lab Safety, Biosafety and Radiation safety inspections and other EHS audits, and identify areas of inspection as a priority for 2020/21.

Training and Guidance

EHS has developed a training program designed for personnel returning to campus. This training program is designed to provide general information related to the COVID-19 measures and precautions which are required to be taken by members of the University community. The COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Awareness Training is accessible through Courselink.

EHS has also developed multiple guidelines related to precautionary measures to be taken for COVID-19 prevention including considerations for specific research spaces. Currently this includes:

Additionally, a “Research Recovery checklist” designed to be used in Research Management Plans is incorporated into the Research Phase-In framework.

Monitoring and Compliance

  • EHS will include COVID-19 related precautionary measures within General Lab Safety, Biosafety and Radiation safety inspections and other EHS audits and will identify inspections as a priority for 2020/21.
  • EHS will provide a COVID-19 related inspection checklist to LJHSCs and H&S Representatives to support ongoing workplace inspections.  This is in-line with recommendations for peer-to peer monitors, within Ontario’s Postsecondary Education Health Measures Framework for Reopening (June 12, 2020)

Appendix 1

Guelph Campus

The following table outlines those academic departments and related core facilities with and without existing LJHSCs and H&S reps and their corresponding EHS liaisons.

College Department LJHSC EHS Liaison
CBS Centre for Biodiversity Biodiversity Alicja Zachertowska
CBS Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Gausiya Khan
CBS Integrative Biology Integrative Biology Alicja Zachertowska
CBS Molecular & Cellular Biology  Molecular & Cellular Biology  Gausiya Khan
CEPS Chemistry Chemistry Alicja Zachertowska
CEPS Engineering Engineering Karanvir Virdi
CEPS Physics Physics Karanvir Virdi
CEPS Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
No LJHSC Jennifer Wesley
COA School of Fine Art and Music School of Fine Art and Music Karanvir Virdi
COA School of Language and Literature
School of English and Theatre Studies
No LJHSC Jennifer Wesley
CSAHS  Geography, Environment and Geomatics Geography (Hutt) Daniel Cardenas
CSAHS  and Lang Family Relations & Applied Nutrition
Political Science Psychology Sociology & Anthropology
Department of Management
Department of Economics &Finance Management
Department of Marketing & Consumer Studies
School of Hospitality, Food & Tourism
CSAHS – Lang Karanvir Virdi
OAC Animal Biosciences Animal Biosciences – Barn 37 B, C Bryan Lee
OAC Food Science Food Science Alicja Zachertowska
OAC Plant Agriculture Plant Agriculture Bryan Lee
OAC School of Environmental Design and Rural Development  School of Environmental Design and Rural Development  Christi Cooper
OAC School of Environmental Sciences School of Environmental Sciences Daniel Cardenas
OVC Pathobiology AHL/Pathobiology Gausiya Khan
OVC Biomedical Sciences Biomedical Sciences Gausiya Khan
OVC Health Sciences Centre
Clinical Studies
Population Medicine
OVC HSC / Clinical Studies/ Population Medicine Christi Cooper
Research Campus Animal Facilities Campus Animal Facilities Gausiya Khan
Research Campus Animal Facilities Isolation Unit Gausiya Khan
Research Agriculture and Food Lab Agriculture & Food Laboratory, Lab Services Division, 95 Stone Rd. Alicja Zachertowska
Research Animal Health Lab AHL/Pathobiology Gausiya Khan
Research Advanced Analysis Centre No LJHSC Jennifer Wesley

Ridgetown Campus & Research Stations

College Location JHSC EHS Liasion
OAC Ridgetown Campus JHSC Christi Cooper
Research Research Stations JHSC/H&S Reps Christi Cooper