A Culture of Care

The University of Alberta's three-year safety action plan will embed health and safety as a core value within the university community.

Goal

To empower U of A employees to own their safety performance and that of others so everyone can go home safely each day.

Employees have every right to expect they will return to their families healthy and safe at the end of their day. The same holds true for members of the public who access university services. An embedded safety culture means elevating health and safety to a core value within the U of A – it means a university commitment to the physical, psychological and cultural safety and well-being of the university community.

Creating a safe workplace environment across our One University requires specific attention to several factors. Safety involves not only the physical environment, but also cultural and psychological well-being, which are equally critical aspects of feeling safe in the workplace.

How we got here

The university has a comprehensive Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS) and a stated commitment from the president confirming that safe behaviour is the shared responsibility of all University of Alberta faculty, staff, students and visitors.

In response to an increase in reportable, preventable and serious near-miss incidents in 2021-22 and to acknowledge gaps in our safety culture, the university established a Safety Strategy Advisory Committee, a supporting working group and engaged other stakeholders representing a broad cross section of the university community including students, staff and faculty. The advisory committee developed a three-year action plan that includes a series of initiatives with measurable outcomes.

Next Steps

Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environment (HRHSE) will be responsible for the development of a plan that will support the implementation of the Culture of Care action plan. The action plan is built on four pillars: Buy-in and Organizational Alignment, Employee Empowerment, Recognition and Rewards and Reporting Systems.

The successful implementation of the action plan will be a coordinated effort, with shared responsibilities across the university, leading to a robust and integrated safety culture. An embedded safety culture means a university commitment to the physical, psychological and cultural safety and well-being of the university community. This will be achieved by integrating this action plan with other ongoing plans and strategies including (but not limited to) the Indigenous Strategic Plan, the Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, Suicide Prevention Framework and the Healthy University Strategic Plan. As initiatives are being implemented, and based on outcomes as reflected in the plan’s performance metrics, HRHSE may revise, update and re-prioritize planned initiatives to ensure they are achieving the desired outcomes.

The action plan upholds the university’s promise to lead with purpose and recognizes that people are the foundation of this institution’s success in our core mission of research, teaching, and community engagement.

“At the University of Alberta, we prioritize safety to protect the health and well-being of our students, employees and visitors. Safe behaviour is our shared responsibility and our legal obligation — but more importantly, it is also our ethical obligation.”

Stories

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