FREDERICTON– The University of Fredericton (UFred) has joined an international coalition that’s aiming to create universal standards for health and safety training to reduce workplace injury and death around the world.
On Sept. 3, delegates from UFred joined more than 40 organizations from around the globe in signing the Singapore Accord, an agreement that aims to shift to a global standard in the field of health and safety, conceived by the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations (INSHPO).
“Our goal is to ensure that a mother working in a factory in Bangalore will have a healthy and safe work environment just as a mother in Ottawa can expect. That she will return home to her family at the end of the day,” said UFred president Don Roy, who is in Singapore for the Accord signing, in a release.
“Our commitment is to offer our expertise to the development of standards that will make this happen. Then, to align our programs to the standards that will be created and deliver quality educational programs that are accessible, affordable, and available anywhere, because we are already completely 100 per cent online.”
The Singapore Accord represents a commitment to continued cooperation and collaboration in developing global standards of practice for improving the skills of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) professionals. These standards, known as the Global Capabilities Framework, were created by INSHPO with the goal of creating universally safer workplaces.
Signatories of the accord are members of businesses and workers, educational institutions, government policy-makers, and associations and experts in the field of OHS. These individuals will be the driving force behind the establishment of defined and consistent standards required for competence in OHS roles and to lend credence to the endeavour to gain acceptance from various authorities in government and business.
“The global framework represents the most significant initiative ever produced on the international stage, by the health and safety profession, across multiple countries and jurisdictions,” said UFred partner and INSHPO president Eldeen Pozniak.
It displays for the first time a common commitment to define the critical roles which are taken up by practitioners and professionals to prevent workplace injury, illness, and fatalities, in a language to be used commonly throughout the world.”
Currently, there are differing standards of practice between jurisdictions globally on matters of occupational health and safety that have caused what UFred calls “human suffering and severe economic burden.” The objective of the Singapore Accord is to use evidence-based, scientifically proven concepts from a variety of professionals and practitioners to develop preventative measures and standards of practice.
“Our structure allows us to react quickly to industry needs and update or add new programs in a timely manner,” said Sheri McKillop, dean of the school of Occupational Health and Safety at UFred. “Health and safety standards are rapidly evolving, so we consult our professional advisory committees and industry partners regularly to ensure we are offering the type of education and skills in demand right now.”
By signing the accord, UFred is committing to use the Occupational Health and Safety Professional Capability Framework – A Global Framework for Practice, developed by INSHPO – to develop and review its occupational health and safety education programs to ensure that they comply with the Framework.