Health and Safety


SAFETY TIP: Working safely at a computer

Sitting and working on a desktop computer may seem harmless, but if you are not in the proper position and don’t get up and stretch frequently enough it can be a serious health and safety hazard leading to muscle injury, back and neck pain, and compression of spinal discs among others. Please see the attached infographic on proper posture and other tips. It is essential to have an office chair and other equipment that are adjustable so that you can be in the proper position. If you do not have adequate equipment please request it from your department. If they refuse please contact our health and safety reps and they will be happy to assist you.

Engineering and Applied Science
Alexandria Tsimiklis,, representing unit TAs/TFs
Hadiseh Bolkharighehi,, representing Post Docs

Health Science
Jordan Babando,, representing TAs/TFs
Dusan Bucevac,, representing Post Docs

University Administrative Services
Jacob DesRochers,, representing TAs/TFs
Arts and Science
Yagya Paudel,, representing TAs/TFs

Matt Norris,, representing TAs/TFs

Additional resources on ergonomics may be found at (excellent illustrations)



Health and Safety Newsletter (Most Recent)


The Public Service Alliance Canada Local 901 Union (PSAC 901) is seeking TAs/TFs and Postdoctoral Scholars to serve as union members on joint health and safety committees (JHSC). These are paid positions with an hourly rate of $39.31.

JHSC members conduct safety inspections in teams of laboratories, offices, and buildings specific to their committee. They report hazards observed, as well as hazards communicated to them by students and staff in writing and at committee meetings. At meetings the hazards are discussed and consensus is reached on a course of corrective action recommended to the university.

Experience with JHSC, knowledge of technical safety aspects or of the Occupational Health and Safety Act are not necessary as training will be provided. Reliability, objectivity, approachability, and an interest in safety are necessary. Becoming a JHSC member may serve you very well in the future since such experience is viewed by many employers as an asset.

Apply by sending a max 300 word statement of interest by September 15th, 2017 explaining why you want the position, how you fulfill the required qualifications, and which faculty you are working in to

Specific Duties of Joint health and Safety Committee Members

  1. Prepare for and participate in Joint Health and safety committee meetings.
    1. The preparation time for most committees is 1 hour and consists of reading inspection reports and, if needed, conducting further research into an issue in order to better participate in its discussion.
    2. Meeting frequencies and durations are as follows
      1. The Arts and Science Committee meets 5-6 times per year.
      2. The Engineering and Applied Science Committee meets 3-4 times per year.
  • The Health Science Committee meets 6 times per year.
  1. The University Administrative Services Committee meets 4 times per year.
  2. Meetings are typically 1 hour long.
  1. JHSC reps must be able to discuss safety issues objectively, based on evidence, and must be able to reach consensus on recommendations.
  1. Prepare for safety inspections
    1. JHSC committee reps conduct safety inspections of university buildings; typically in pairs. The common procedure is to pair a novice member with a more experienced one during inspections. Inspection teams change for different buildings and typically a member will do around 4 inspections per year.
    2. Preparation for an inspection consists of planning an inspection route, determining what personal protective equipment is necessary, and arranging to have for use of said equipment on inspection day.
    3. During an inspection, immediate hazards must be acted on immediately; such as by cordoning off a hazardous area.
  2. Conduct safety inspections
    1. Proceeding at their own pace and seeing what they deem necessary, JHSC members inspect workplaces
    2. Hazards or possible hazards are recorded.
    3. JHSC reps do not operate equipment but rather ask for it to be demonstrated for them.
    4. They verify that adequate safety engineering controls are in place and are being used.
    5. JHSC reps prepare an inspection report detailing their findings within 5 business days of an inspection.
  3. Other duties:
    1. Attend a paid training. Opportunities for additional paid training as well as training leading to certification exist if the member is interested.
    2. Provide copies of all inspection reports submitted to the committee and all committee minutes to the PSAC 901 Health and Safety Executive.
    3. Promote worker safety to fellow PSAC 901 members by:
      1. Encouraging them to talk to their supervisors first regarding specific safety issues.
      2. Reporting issues raised by them to JHSC meetings
  • Encouraging them to learn about their rights, responsibilities, and duties.
  1. Create and provide timesheets of activities for remuneration.


  • Be a member of PSAC 901 and be willing to serve on a JHSC Committee for at least 12 months.
  • Be a member of the particular faculty associated with the committee or have a TA/TF position in that faculty either now or in the past 12 months. The faculties associated with the University Administrative Services Committee are Law, Business, and Religion. If no qualified candidate is found in the particular faculty associated with a committee other candidates will be considered provided they have health and safety experience (this is a required of PSAC 901’s collective agreement with the employer).
  • Be able to do committee work by consensus.
  • Be dependable: the safety of fellow TAs, TFs, and Postdocs is only improved if their JHSC representative is diligent in their duties.
  • Keep organized and thorough notes.
  • Self-organizing and taking initiative are key assets that lead to good quality inspections.
  • Have a flexible enough schedule to participate in meetings and go on inspections.
  • Technical knowledge of safety hazards or the Occupational Health and Safety Act are not required. Training will be provided.


PSAC 901 office Mon to Thursday 1o:00-16:00 : in person at 138 Union St, Queen’s University, Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 547, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6

By phone: 613-533-6000, ext. 77010

Stay Informed!

Keep an eye out for Health and Safety Updates from PSAC 901 in the 901 Bite, our website, and social media.  In the case of discovered hazards (e.g. bats; lead paint), we will email members directly with information.