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A safe and healthy workplace


workers inspecting job site

I am responsible for:
a safe and healthy workplace

The City cares about your safety and wants you to go home in good physical and mental health at the end of your shift and at the end of your career. Having a physically and psychologically safe work environment is critical to ensuring you are able to meet your obligations and succeed at work. Hand in hand with this is your responsibility to report and remain fit for workBeing able to safely and acceptably perform assigned duties without any limitations due to physical and/or mental health conditions, and/or the use or after-effects of alcohol, illicit drugs, medications or any other substance..

At The City, we work in many different locations on any given day. A safe and healthy workplaceAny location where City work is being or may be conducted including work-based social gatherings. A workplace can include City buildings, vehicles, off-site meetings, customer sites or telework locations. may look different in an office, the field, your home or in a vehicle, but the principles are the same:

  • Be fit for workBeing able to safely and acceptably perform assigned duties without any limitations due to physical and/or mental health conditions, and/or the use or after-effects of alcohol, illicit drugs, medications or any other substance..
  • Be aware and take action to remove hazards.
  • Assume responsibility for potential risks.
  • Respond quickly and appropriately when health or safety has been compromised.

These are important responsibilities that we all share to prevent, deal with and respond to incidents or concerns that could put ourselves or our colleagues at risk of injury or illness.

The City is committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment by establishing and maintaining a culture of responsibility and accountability at the individual, leadership and corporate levels.

Safe and healthy behaviours

Get informed and be proactive:

  • Report hazards, near misses and emergency responses at work to prevent and respond to them effectively.
  • Watch out for others and speak up if you notice something that does not feel or seem safe.
  • Handle tools, equipment and resources following proper safety procedures.
  • Take threatsAny act, gesture or statement that gives an employee, or another person, reasonable cause to believe that there is risk of injury to themselves or another person or damage to property. or acts of violence against people or property seriously and report concerns to your leader.
  • Make yourself aware of the resources offered by The City to support health concerns (e.g. EFAP).
  • Promote a work environment that is mentally and physically healthy, safe and free from violence.
  • Support co-workers returning from medical leave in their transition back to work.

Setting an example:

  • I maintain a good work/life balance by learning about the importance of good nutrition, sleep, exercise and outdoor activities.
  • I know how to perform my job safely. I always follow safe work practices such as wearing appropriate protective gear, using the right equipment and handling hazardous material properly.

woman in lab coat

Assume responsibility:

  • Be accountable for your actions and assume responsibility for any substance use.
  • Report and remain fit for work.Being able to safely and acceptably perform assigned duties without any limitations due to physical and/or mental health conditions, and/or the use or after-effects of alcohol, illicit drugs, medications or any other substance.
  • Report any suspected distribution, sale or possession of illegal substances at work.
  • Submit a safety report for any hazards or near misses you encounter.
  • Hold a valid provincial driver’s licence for the type of City vehicle or equipment you operate.

Setting an example:

  • If I am not fit to do my job, I let my supervisor know immediately so I keep myself, co-workers, citizens and City resources safe.
  • If I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I get support and implement strategies to cope or seek help to get back on track.
  • I ask my supervisor, the Corporate Health Consultant or Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) for help if I’m concerned that my use of substances is a problem.
  • I clear my work areas of obstructions or hazards.
  • I show guests or visitors from another location where the closest fire exits are in case of an emergency.
  • When I am prescribed medication, I confirm with my doctor or pharmacist that I can still work safely and effectively while taking it.

I always have choices.
Which one feels right to me?

A customer is upset about a proposed development in her neighbourhood and seems to hold me responsible. She starts yelling profanities and slamming her fists on the counter. What should I do?

I also speak loudly to let the customer know I am not easily intimidated. If her behaviour continues I can escort her out of the building myself.

Ask the customer to calm down and tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable. Once she calms down, I can better address her concerns.

Remain calm. Let the customer know that I would like to help, but she needs to stop swearing. Listen patiently.

If the behaviour continues or escalates
I let the customer know I can’t serve her. If appropriate, remove myself from the situation and/or call for assistance (from my leader, control centre or Corporate Security).

It depends...

Like most situations, how you react depends on where you are and the degree of risk in the situation. In this case, you may try to calm the angry customer down so you can help her. If this doesn’t work, you may need to remove yourself from the situation and get help.

Take threatsAny act, gesture or statement that gives an employee, or another person, reasonable cause to believe that there is risk of injury to themselves or another person or damage to property. or acts of violence against people or City property seriously and don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1 if you need to. When the incident is over report it. It’s also a great idea to talk to your supervisor about how the situation was handled so you can handle it even better next time.

More examples

Substance use

Dear Code of Conduct,

My doctor has prescribed a new medication for a medical condition I have. One of the side effects of this medication is that it makes me feel quite sleepy, especially when I haven’t eaten for a while. As a City Bus Operator, I am required to “be on my toes” and alert while driving a City vehicle in heavy traffic and interacting with citizens using the transit system. Do I need to tell my supervisor every time I’ve taken my meds?

– Sleepy when Hungry

Dear Sleepy when Hungry,

I’m glad you asked – sometimes people think our Substance Use Policy only applies to illicit or illegal drugs but it can be any substance that affects your performance or ability to be safe.

For your protection, and to protect the safety of citizens, City employees must:

  • Arrive in a condition fit for work.
  • Remain fit for work at all times while on City business.

Inform your supervisor if you know your medication might impair your ability to drive your bus safely and effectively. If you are unsure whether you are fit for work, talk to your supervisor as soon as you can. They will likely contact a Corporate Health Consultant for guidance. If it’s believed to be unsafe for you to work, your supervisor will see if he or she can temporarily accommodate you so you can still work.

In both safety-sensitive and non-safety-sensitive roles, employees who take prescription or over-the-counter medication must advise their leader of any potential side effects that could impact their ability to work safely. You do not need to disclose the actual medication(s) you are taking or why you are taking them.

Occupational health & safety

Dear Code of Conduct,

My team leader suggested disabling a safety device (dead man’s switch) to speed up work. I know meeting our timelines is very important but I don’t feel the new process is safe. What should I do?

– Concerned about Safety

Dear Concerned about Safety,

Under provincial Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, employees have an obligation to refuse unsafe work. Disabling a safety device violates OHS legislation. If at any time you feel that something isn’t safe, you should speak to your leader immediately and/or contact your Safety Advisor immediately. Details of how this process works at The City are set out in our Occupational Health & Safety Policy. Do the right thing: stand up and say something.

Substance use

Dear Code of Conduct,

I am planning to meet up with some friends for a beer before I start my shift. Is that okay?

– Thirsty before Work

Dear Thirsty,

The answer is ‘it depends.’ If you hold a ‘safety-sensitive’ position you cannot be under the influence of alcohol, hallucinogenic or mind-altering substances at work. Even one beer puts you in this category. If you are not in a safety-sensitive position, the answer is different. You may be able to have a beer as long as you are able to report to your shift ‘fit for work.’ Use sound judgement on whether having a drink would affect your work. I would advise you to see if your business unit has any restrictions around the use of alcohol before you schedule the meet up. If you don’t already know, you may want to ask your supervisor if he or she is aware of this business-specific rule.

Workplace violence

Dear Code of Conduct,

I overheard a co-worker threaten another employee. I have approached the employee to get her to report it but she refused because she’s scared. What should I do?

– Concerned Co-worker

Dear Concerned Co-worker,

If you are concerned for your colleague there are a number of options available to you to communicate this concern. First, consider talking to your supervisor who may be able to look into the situation further. You can also contact Corporate Security or talk to the HR Business Partner in your business unit.

Learn more

Policies

A safe and healthy workplace is supported by the following policies:

Resources

Resources supporting a safe and healthy workplace can be found in the resource section.

If you are unsure:
ask questions and seek guidance

Your leader is there to provide clarity on expectations in the workplace and to support you.

If you are not comfortable speaking to your leader, you can speak with their leader. The Corporate Organizational Chart can help you identify who this is.

The HR Business Partner in your business unit can answer some of your questions or help you find someone who can. If you need to find contact information for your HR Business Partner call: 403-268-5800



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