An OHN is a Registered Nurse with specialized training in Occupational Health and Safety issues in the workplace. These dedicated professionals can be found in a variety of organizations: Industry, Business, Governments, Health Care Facilities, and Community Agencies. Beyond health maintenance and restoration after individual illness or injury, Occupational Health Nurses provide their clients a bridge to a healthier workplace, benefit to individual employees and to the organization for which they work. For further details on what Occupational Health Nurses do please click below links:
(i.e. nursing protocols, medical directives, environmental surveillance, return to work policy etc.).
Networks with professional colleagues and associations including Nursing, Medical, Safety, EAP, Health, Emergency Measures and Fire Services.
Prepares timely reports in cooperation with workers, supervisors and management to meet requirements of
Workers’ Compensation Board, Federal/Provincial Department of Labor and Department of Health.
Budgets for occupational health programs, equipment and supplies.
Develops position descriptions and a performance appraisal system for Occupational Health Staff.
Assesses and recommends suitable levels of staffing and physical space for health service activities. Obtains
and maintains basic specialized equipment required.
Arranges for Occupational Health staff training, specific to the needs of the individual and the employer.
Identifies, arranges and conducts specific tests which measure fitness-for-work as they apply to the workers’ job description. Applies fitness-for-work standards (related to the demands of the job) during employee health assessment (i.e. pre-placement, pre-transfer, periodic, special, post illness or injury, termination).
Explains findings of assessment to worker (i.e. implications related to job requirements).
Informs, counsels and refers workers with a typical results.
Recommends specific job modifications within functional limits.
Recommends appropriate personal protective equipment if indicated.
Identifies employee groups potentially at risk, based on exposures specific to the work place.
Collaborates with management, other health professionals and workers in development of programs and protocols related to worker exposure.
Ensures health-monitoring procedures conform to pertinent legislation, for example Occupational Health and Safety, Human Rights.
Implements health surveillance programs for workers at risk.
Develops, implements, evaluates and revises programs which focus on special needs such as hearing conservation, sight conservation, respiratory.
Acts in an advisory capacity to supervisors and the joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
Applies principles of epidemiology to the workplace (i.e. cause/effect relationship, collection
of data, analysis of results).
Collects and analyzes data related to worker illness and injury for research purposes.
Utilizes research findings to support proposals to management.
Plans and implements nursing interventions to minimize effects of illness, injury or disability.
Interprets signs and symptoms in relation to possible workplace exposure, for example cumulative
trauma disorder, hearing loss, repetitive strain, hypothermia, radiation sickness and lifestyle
factors, including smoking, recreational activities.
Refers worker to appropriate treatment source, utilizing available community facilities for treatment, rehabilitation and supportive care.
Follows up on referrals to confirm resolution of problems and/or reinforce recommendations as necessary.
Identifies the causes of and/or trends in occupational accidents and injuries and makes recommendations as necessary.
Identifies needs or employees with chronic or life threatening conditions (i.e. cancer, HIV, hypertension, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, injuries) and plans early intervention to assist workers in achieving
optimum level of functioning.
Assists in arranging temporary or modified work for affected workers in collaboration with worker,
management, physician and insurance carriers, consistent with current legislation and employment contracts.
Establishes trust and credibility.
Provides problem assessment and short-term counseling, utilizing appropriate counseling
techniques when working with troubled workers or their families.
Refers workers/families requiring therapeutic counseling to appropriate resources, providing
follow-up support as necessary.
Plans and coordinates critical incident stress education management for individuals or groups
Develops and implements effective rehabilitative measures to facilitate the early and safe
return to work of sick or injured workers.
Arranges workplace accommodation/vocational rehabilitation for individual workers, in the
form of modified work for specific periods of time.
Recognizes potential environmental health hazards including:
- Physical (i.e. noise, temperature, radiation)
- Toxicological (i.e. chemicals, dust)
- Biological (i.e. bacteria, fungi, insects, plants)
- Biomechanical/Ergonomic (i.e. person/machine interface, physical work demands, lighting).
Reviews environmental surveillance reports in relation to regulated permissible exposure levels.
Collaborates in the development of monitoring protocols, which indicate type of tests (including hazard specific tests), frequency of measurements, nature of reports, follow-up and referral.
Applies principles of industrial hygiene and makes recommendations for the control of environmental
hazards (i.e. substitution of chemicals, engineering controls, administrative controls, personal
Applies principles of loss control, accident investigation and safety programming.
Collaborates with appropriate departments, agencies and/or consultants regarding identified hazards
utilizing the services of the Workers’ Compensation Board, Department of Labor, health
and safety organizations.
Collaborates with other key personnel (i.e. safety, security, management) to develop, implement and
evaluate a disaster recovery plan for workplace.
Determines, priority issues through participatory planning (i.e. with upper management, departments,
OH&S personnel, workers, and unions).
Collects data on prevalence or risk for specific diseases/injuries (i.e. hypertension, obstructive
lung disease, back injury, and repetitive motion injuries). Develops and maintains programs
based on data analysis and tailored to match the needs of the organization.
Sets objectives based on program goals, for example increasing awareness, increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, changing behavior, reducing risk, and reducing morbidity/mortality. Analyzes data to determine whether the program is achieving its objectives.
Evaluates current programs of adult education in preventative education, on topics pertinent
to the individual work force.
Utilizes community resources (professional literature, education films, existing programs, and specialists).
Provides training to workers on a variety of topics (i.e. WHMIS, First Aid).
Cost Benefit Studies
Investigates costs of proposed programs and presents options to the employer.
Builds the evaluation criteria into the proposed program.
Estimates cost recovery period.
Partners with insurance carriers, Worker’s Compensation, Canada Pension Disability and/or other
insurers to restore the employee to health.
Coordinates the development of individualized return to work plans based on principles of disability management.
Facilitates the provision of benefits for eligible employees.
Improves employee productivity and reduces down time. Success is achieved as much through increased productivity as cost cutting. By promoting physical and social well-being; by working to prevent disease and disability and by assisting in the rehabilitation of sick and injured workers, the Occupational Health Nurse can contribute to a higher level of wellness among the working population. In turn, productivity is enhanced. Your company will see improved employee performance through Occupational Health and Safety activities.
Provides customized, effective health and safety programs. Save hours of expensive management time now dentifying health and safety concerns and understanding government regulations. Your Occupational Health Nurse can tailor programs to match your specific requirements.
Enhances your profile as a responsible employer and improves employee morale. Your Occupational Health Nurse will make your workplace a better place by acting as an effective liaison between management and employees. The Occupational Health Nurse will also recognize your company’s interests in their health and well-being.
Assists the employer to meet the requirements of occupational health and safety legislation (legislation may be federal or provincial).
Keeps current with legislative changes.