Christopher J. Lipowski, Dpl.Psych; B.A. Psych/Biol; Cert. Adv.OSM; CRSP
first & former McGill University Health and Safety Officer
Healthcare Occupational Health and Safety Professional
Principal / Pinnacle Enterprises Canada
Webmaster - Healthcare Safety Info-eLinkô

"Dedicated to Healthcare Occupational Health and Safety Management Performance Excellence
to Achieve Safe Error-free Patient Care"

OBJECTIVE:

To make meaningful contributions in a collaborative manner for organizations that recognize their human capital as their most valuable asset and is committed towards achieving effective occupational health and safety performance through proactive management system strategies and programs that promote a strong safety culture to reduce occupational accident / disease incidence rates, meet legislative compliance requirements and due diligence, and enhance corporate financial sustainability.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE SUMMARY:

I obtained my diploma in psychology from Loyola College and bachelors degree in psychology / biology from Concordia University, both in Montreal. After completing almost two years in the role of Clinical Research Associate, Cardiovascular Division, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, I went on to work in laboratory research for three years at McGill University, in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, where I was accepted into and attended graduate studies (M.Sc.) neuroscience (behavioural genetics) program. Under the thesis supervision and guidance of Dr. Roberta Palmour PhD & Dr. Frank Ervin MD, my concept and laboratory research work led to a novel finding that CNS adenosine A1 and A2 receptors are involved in aggressive behavior in an animal model, published in Life Science (1989; 44 (18):1293-301), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2716472. (withdrew from program after 2.5 years due to lack of grant funding)

Subsequently, I changed career directions and went on to receive comprehensive training in occupational health and industrial hygiene through auditing (with the University's permission) the one year full-time intensive MSc(A) graduate studies program at the Faculty of Medicine's School of Occupational Health Sciences. In 1993 I obtained the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) designation http://www.bcrsp.ca/. As the University's first Health and Safety Officer, for over thirteen years I applied my knowledge in psychology towards improving safety management organizational culture and used my training in occupational hygiene to develop and/or improve programs such as Asbestos Assessment and Control; Ergonomics / Musculoskeletal Disorder Prevention and Injury Remediation; Indoor Mould Evaluation and Control; Academic Research Laboratory Safety Inspection; the first University Biosafety Manual and Training; Accident Investigation and Prevention. After 17 years service with the University, I left McGill in 2000 and formed a self-employed occupational health and safety consulting service, Pinnacle Enterprises Canada. For over 18 years, I have devoted my focus and dedication, along with significant effort, to apply my occupational health and safety professional expertise to promote meaningful staff and patient safety improvements in the healthcare sector. It has for some time now been well recognized that healthcare organizations with implemented credible established industry standard occupational health and safety management systems results in continuous safety management improvements and evolution of a robust corporate saftey culture.These are one of the primary essential factors required to achieve successful safe error-free patient care.

The 45001-2018, and CAN/CSA-Z1000-14 standards are proactive instruments I utilize for establishing effective management strategies that identify leading as well as laging safety performance metrics to effectively reduce occupational hazard risks and associated losses. Appyling "occupational safety management systems" is an powerful and convincing example of a progressive healthcare senior administration that is motivated to achieve safe working conditions for healthcare staff leading to a strong organizational safety culture that results in sustainable safe patient care as well as controlling escalating healthcare costs.

Recent Professional Development Accomplishment - In 2012 I completed the Ryerson University (Toronto, Ontario) Advanced Safety Management Certificate, a unique comprehensive program in Canada.

Recent Professional Success - From 2009 to 2012, at The Ottawa Hospital (Ontario) (>12,000 employees) in colaboration with the Environmental Health and Safety Team and reporting to the Director as Project Consultant, I coordinated their Health and Safety Management System development initiatives based on the CSA-Z-1006 standard (currently the CSA-Z1000-14 standard) including Internal Audit Program that subsequently received a 100% conformity rating in an external audit performed by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Personal Career Highlight - was invited to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2012 by Louis DiBerardinis, CIH, CSP, Director of Environment, Health, and Safety to attend a interview for the position of Assistant to the Director. The 3.5 hour multi-stage assesment process also included a panel interview with ESH Department Associate Directors and Bill VanSchalkwyk, Executive Director (currently Managing Director of Environmental Health & Safety at Harvard University).

Personal Interests - Behavioral Neurobiology; Immunogenetics and Epigenetics; Clinical Psychology; Organizational Psychology; Occupational Health and Disease; Industrial Hygiene, Public Health; Philosophy, Sociology and Culture; Human Evolution Science; Classical Literature.

Healthcare Website - Healthcare Safety Info-eLinkô is my personal contribution to the occupational health, hygiene and safety profession.


CORE PERSONAL VALUES:

  • Uncompromising integrity, trust & professional ethics 
  • Professional competence through continuous learning and knowledge acquisition

    PRIMARY PROFESSIONAL STRENGTHS:
    • Consensus-Building Skill strong interactive colaborative interpersonal skills with general staff, trades professionals, all levels of management, academics, credible technical professionals, and contractors. Accomplished through active listening to other's points of view, asking questions as appropriate, and striving to achieve resonable compromise and collective consensus. Strive for a winning conclusion.

    • Analytical and Critical Skills through use of logical thinking and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a complex challenge and identify creative solutions to solve problems effectively in a timely manner.
    • Healthcare and Academic Institution occupational health and safety knowledge and extensive hands-on field experience >30 yrs.
    • OHS Legislation - extensive detailed knowledge of legislation and long-term experience in compliance assessment and regulation enforcement: Canadian Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Acts, Canadian Labour Code Part Two; U.S. OSHA regulations and guidelines.
    • Occupational Safety Management Systems Development and Internal Audit / Identifying and Assessing Leading and Laging Safety Performance Indicators CAN/CSA-Z1000-14; ANSI Z10; OHSAS 18001; ISO 45001-2018)
    • Occupational Health and Safety Program Development, Initiation, and Performance Assessment
    • Occupational Hazard Identification and Hazard Risk Assessment determination /  development of prioritized cost effective risk control measures in accordance with AIHA guidelines - Hierarchy of hazard control, a system used in industry to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards. It is a widely accepted system promoted by numerous safety organizations. This concept is taught to managers in industry, to be promoted as standard practice in the workplace. These are elimination and substitution; engineering controls; and administrative controls and PPE. View - http://aeasseincludes.asse.org/professionalsafety/pastissues/051/02/020206as.pdf
    • Senior Level Professional Writing Skill: academic journal articles; corporate policies in accordance with legislative requirements and industry best practices for senior administration; occupational safety audit reports for senior management; accident / occupational disease investigation reports for all levels of staff; safety inspection reports; compliance violation reports; standard safe operating procedures (SOP).
    • Occupational Health extensive knowledge of - human toxicology, disease pathology, and infection prevention and control methodology.
    • Occupational Psychology extensive knowledge and experience how individuals and groups behave in the workplac; providing coaching, guidance and advice to employees and students; motivating staff to comprehend and value requirements to comply with organizational safety practices; techniques and stategies for promoting a successful sustainable organizational safety culture.
    • Occupational / Industrial Hygiene trained in field with practical experience (>15 years), leading industrial hygiene walk-through workplace survey investigations to identify occupational hazards / risks and develop exposure monitoring plan, project management oversight, and supervision of certified industrial hygiene technicians.
    • Medical / Academic Research Laboratory Safety: inspection / GHS and WHMIS / CBSG, BMBL / chemical hazard risk assessment and development of effective controls and processes / fume hood assessment / chemical storage.
    • Occupational Accident Investigation: direct and root cause analysis / witness interview / incident site evaluation / accident trends analysis to determine areas requiring priority prevention action measures - preparation of written report for senior management on results and associated incident prevention recommendations.
    • Office Ergonomics: computer user evaluation to determine possible risk factors including related injury review; office ergonomic equipment assessment and cost effective improvement recommendations where required; provide onsite assistance to affected employees including brief but comprehensive ergonomic training on proper equipment set-up and use / provide ergonomic advice / staff training.
    • Asbestos and Mould Program Management: sample collection and submission to an AIHA® Laboratory Accreditation Program Certified Laboratory for sample assessment and identification; review samping results and submit written report with cost effective abatement / or control recommendations; abatement contractor selection and oversight; asbestos / mould management program development in compliance with current legislative requirements / eliminate health hazard risks to building occupants and staff.

      Christopher J. Lipowski Implementing a Successful HSMS and Associated OHS Programs:

      Four initial basic priorities are necessary for implementing a strong sustainable HSMS


      1.) A Healthcare Organization that Possess and Practices Strong Corporate Ethics;


      2.) Healthcare Organizational Senior Leadership that adheres to point # 1 - and values their staff wellbeing by genuinely supporting all aspects of their corporate "occupational health and safety management system";


      3.) A Healthcare organization staff and management that has a "positive safety culture mind-set" and cohesive team spirit. That believes in and supports its leadership efforts for continuous occupational and patient safety improvement initiatives;


      4.) An effective Healthcare Human Resources (HR) department with well trained professionals focused on progressive and proactive methods of organizational personnel management that includes promoting a Safety Culture which refers to the manner how occupational health and safety issues and challenges are addressed in the workplace. Safety Culture includes the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values employees share regarding safety topics. A progressive HR department comprehends the value and benefits of implementing a quality sustaneable Health and Safety Management System and the benefits of regular performance improvement assessment practices through well designed Audit practices utilized to identify areas requiring improvement which typically involve management efficiency.

      Five Essential Characteristics of an Effective Healthcare Safety Management System and Successful Occupational Health, Hygiene, and Safety Programs --->


      1.) Requires a well-administered dedicated Organizational Environmental Occupational Health and Safety Department managed by a qualified ethical professionals highly skilled as well as extensively experienced Occupational Health and Safety experts that report to a Senior Organizational Leader who is focused on and striving for successful OHS positive returns on meaningful invested efforts based on prioritized risk assessment process and System audit results to initiate adequately controlled workplace hazards and decrease injuries and occupational diseases in their workplace.


      2.) The Healthcare Environmental Occupational Health and Safety (EOSH) Leader must possess superior knowledge and skills in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health, and Safety Management Theory and Practices - included in these are: modern specialized industrial hygiene technology and professionally recognized acceptable practices; a well-developed comprehension of occupational health topics as well as current standards of infection control and prevention; occupational / environmental toxicology; a firm understanding of organizational psychology theory and its applications, e.g. stress prevention / control, safety culture development, wellness programs., gained through advanced education / training in the field. The Leader must abide with established professional ethics and posses an ethical personality with good judgement and decision making skills.


      3.) The Healthcare EOHS Leader must possess Advanced Comprehensive Knowledge of Proactive and Progressive Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems such as the "Occupational Health and Safety ISO 45001", a standard which is based on the the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle that is applied to all processes of OH&S management system. This standard can be used for accreditation for successful implementation and results. There are other Standards such as the Canadian CSA Z1000-14 Occupational Health and Safety Management system. Knowledge and experience in specialized techniques of the safety management systems instrument implementation and audit methodology is essential.


      4.) It is essential the Healthcare EOHS Leader have a solid comprehensive understanding of OHS legislation and effective application methods to attain organizational compliance / accountability using the concept of the "Internal Responsibility System" assuring sustainable organizational due diligence.


      5) A Healthcare Environmental Occupational Health and Safety Department (EOHS) must be structured in such a manner that will require unwavering genuine support and commitment from Senior Administration that provides the EOSH Department sufficient funding, tools, and all associated resources for its Director to accomplish organizational OHS objectives and goals. Hiring appropriate number of highly credible properly certified OHS professionals (including individuals possessing appropriate personality traits) for building an effective and progressive team motivated to contribute to move forward in a positive direction towards achieving continuous OHS improvement. Hiring inappropriate low cost OHS contractors that are poorly educated or lack proper training in the profession or hiring staff insufficiently educated or lacking extensive field work experience in OHS is a recipe for disaster (see actual example below) as an error made by lack of trained and educated personnel in OHS can have serious implications for the organization from the legal point of view and more importantly may result in harming staff and or patients by providing incorrect OHS information leading one to believe that a particular hazard risk is under control and "safe" when in fact it is not. The first and fundamental step in the control of occupational hazards is their recognition.

      > For example, a "an OHS staff member" who is not suitably trained nor qualified to perform industrial hygiene monitoring - performs air sampling for formaldehyde exposure in a hospital pathology facility: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/formaldehyde#datasheet=lcss&section=GHS-Classification (Formaldehyde is a nearly colorless gas with a pungent suffocating odor.  It is used as a tissue preservative in a liquid solution that is 37% formaldehyde by weight generally inhibited with 6-12% methyl alcohol. At this concentration the solution is called formalin. Some formalin solutions also contain phenol. Formaldehyde, - National Research Council has upheld the listing of formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen" - and solutions containing these chemicals are potential human carcinogens, irritants, and chemical sensitizers). The inexperienced hazard risk assessor may perform sampling protocol errors including such as: use of incorrect equipment; not calibrating the equipment correctly; only performing area monitoring without performing personal dosimetry when in fact it is essential for establishing valid results; selecting incorrect dosimeter device; incorrectly adjusting sampling pump settings; not evaluating the work location ventilation systems, etc. Also highly problematic may be lack of taking adequate number of monitoring samples and not considering possibility of daily/weekly exposure variability potential. Often such inexperienced assessors are primarily motivated to only determine legislative compliance by examining acute exposure levels with a few sample data results. In addition to sampling protocol error the monitoring investigator may not take into consideration the need for a comprehensive assessment to determine the possibility of chronically (long term) exposure to the hazardous substance which would require monitoring with an acceptable sampling strategy that includes suitable number of samples to meet statistical validity, the evaluation of the effectivenesses of all existing hierarchy of hazard controls e.g. local and general ventilation)(https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hierarchy/default.html), consideration of weekly exposure level variability, and full comprehensive review of assessment of standard safe work operating practices (SOP).

      Thus, due to sampling protocol error the assessor upon completion of the monitoring session may have obtained results that indicate acceptable contaminant levels in conformance with local legislative standards. However, the conclusion may be completely erroneous and in fact the toxic vapor may be elevated well beyond the permissible / acceptable exposure control requirements. The outcome of this scenario is: A "sampling report" with incorrect information by the inexperienced unqualified assessor submitted to the EOHS manager who is either not vigilant to assure validity of the method/s used or aware of whether the sampling protocol was adequate for the type of hazard and thus unaware of the errors, who then submits the final report to their Organizational Safety Committee and Senior Management Team stating that the area is "safe" to work in, has made a significant administrative error as in fact it really is not safe for the worker/s. It is also important to note the ACGIH Board of Directors state: "Policy Statement on the Uses of TLVs® and BEIs® - The Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs®) are developed as guidelines to assist in the control of health hazards. These recommendations or guidelines are intended for use in the practice of industrial hygiene, to be interpreted and applied only by a person trained in this discipline. They are not developed for use as legal standards and ACGIH® does not advocate their use as such. However, it is recognized that in certain circumstances individuals or organizations may wish to make use of these recommendations or guidelines as a supplement to their occupational safety and health program. ACGIH® will not oppose their use in this manner, if the use of TLVs® and BEIs® in these instances will contribute to the overall improvement in worker protection. However, the user must recognize the constraints and limitations subject to their proper use and bear the responsibility for such use. The Introductions to the TLV®/BEI® Book and the TLV®/BEI® Documentation provide the philosophical and practical bases for the uses and limitations of the TLVs® and BEIs®. To extend those uses of the TLVs® and BEIs® to include other applications, such as use without the judgment of an industrial hygienist, application to a different population, development of new exposure/recovery time models, or new effect endpoints, stretches the reliability and even viability of the database for the TLV® or BEI® as evidenced by the individual Documentation. It is not appropriate for individuals or organizations to impose on the TLVs® or the BEIs® their concepts of what the TLVs® or BEIs® should be or how they should be applied or to transfer regulatory standards requirements to the TLVs® or BEIs®." (http://www.acgih.org/tlv-bei-guidelines/tlv-chemical-substances-introduction). Therefore, hiring Qualified Experienced OHS ethical Professionals is essential in the occupational health and safety field in order to assure that valid accurate hazard risk information is obtained in a prioritized manner, an essential integral component for achieving and maintaining organizational safety excellence.

      The Healthcare EOHS Team must be made up of ethical, properly trained, experienced professionals who are knowlable and supportive of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems including Accreditation Audit Procedures as this methodolgy of OHS practice is well regarded to be an effective method for identifying existing hazard deficiencies determined through hazard identification and assessment of related risk levels. This provides opportunities for risk control improvement strategy development utilizing hazard risk level information to attain efficient acceptable risk reduction in a prioritized manner which is a cost effective process of managing OHS.  In addition to assessment of lagging safety indicators which are reactive in scope such as occupational accidents and lost time injury rates / costs, an organization benefits from carrying out safety performance assessment through review of qualitative / quantitative leading safety indicator data. Leading indicators measure the positive inputs that staff and management are making to improve the occupational health and safety management system. Use of both lagging as well as leading indicator data is a highly efficient method for identifying needed improvement change/s for effective hazard risk control factors in a prioritized fashion. The subsequent implementation of hazard risk control improvements will have a serious likely-hood of reducing staff injury and occupational disease rates that in turn will impact reductions in associated patient error risks and associated persistent escalating healthcare costs. This is an achievable recipe for developing genuine sustainable occupational health and safety conditions, high quality error-free patient care, and ultimately set the foundation for a strong organizational sustainable holistic safety culture that addresses simultaneously both patient and staff safety concerns. A trend that should be mandatory in the healthcare sector.

      Note: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) https://www.ccohs.ca - states - "A legal limit or guideline (such as an occupational exposure limit) should never be viewed as a line between "safe" and "unsafe". The best approach is to always keep exposures or the risk of a hazard as low as possible. As an example, carcinogens are not usually defined by an exposure limit. With many carcinogens, it is difficult to say for certainty that if exposure is below a set point, the agent is not likely to cause harm. For this reason, for carcinogens and other specific agents (such as allergens), the "As Low as Reasonably Practicable" (ALARA) principle should be applied. ALARA, in practical terms, means that exposure should be eliminated or reduced as much as possible."

       

      A MESSAGE FOR HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION:

      The recommendations above should in particular be considered by Healthcare Senior Administration and associated stakeholders such as Human Resources. To appreciate the "significant return on investment" obtained through dedication to and support of implementing a credible high quality "Occupational Health and Safety Management System" that adheres to regular Quality Reviews through Internal and External Audits utilizing leading as well as lagging safety performance indicators to identify effective strategies for successfully reducing occupational injury and disease rates. This will promote a robust organizational safety culture that meets industry best standards and practices. A significant additional benefit of a successful OHSMS is the potential to achieve meaningful healthcare cost control improvements.

    Please view my Power Point presentation:

    An Integrated Healthcare Safety Management System - The Link Between Staff and Patient Safety - An Innovative Total Quality Holistic Approach for Effective Healthcare Safety Management
    “Raising the Bar to Achieve Total Quality Patient Care Excellence (2014)”(ppt presentation)

    Email: chris@mtpinnacle.com

    Occupational Health and Safety Consulting Services

    Website: Healthcare Safety Info-eLinkô

    Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials and professional background as well as my pathway proposal to successful implementation of OHS programs to reduce injuries and occupational disease in the Healthcare workplace that has a direct impact on patient care quality and safety outcomes.


    Christopher J. Lipowski, CRSP