Christopher J. Lipowski, Dpl.Psych; B.A. Psych/Biol; Cert. Adv.OSM; CRSP
(
first & former McGill University Health and Safety Officer)

Senior Healthcare Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Principal / Pinnacle Enterprises Canada

Website: Healthcare Safety Info-eLinkô

"Dedicated to Promoting Healthcare Occupational Health and Safety Management Performance Excellence to Achieve High Quality Safe Patient Care"

PERSONAL 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 a bachelors degree in psychology / biology from Concordia University, both in Montreal. After almost two years in the role of Clinical Research Associate, Cardiovascular Division, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, I went on to work in basic research for three years in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, where I was accepted into and attended graduate studies (MSc) Psychiatry (Neuroscience). 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 through auditing, with the University's permission, the McGill University graduate School of Occupational Health one year intensive MSc(A) program. 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 initiated a self-employed occupational health and safety consulting service, Pinnacle Enterprises Canada. For over 18 years, my focus and objectives have been to apply my professional expertise and significant effort in promoting improvements primarily in the healthcare sector. It is currently well regarded that quality occupational health and safety and organizational culture are important factors that contribute to assuring high safe error-free patient care. I developed one of the first healthcare indoor mould control programs in Canada for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. 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 example of a progressive senior administration that is motivated to achieve safe working conditions for healthcare staff that supports a strong organizational safety culture and results in sustainable safe patient care as well as meaningful control of healthcare costs.

From 2009 to 2012, in colaboration with The Ottawa Hospital Environmental Health and Safety Team, I coordinated their 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).

In 2012 I completed the comprehensive Ryerson University, Toronto, Advanced Safety Management Certificate program.

My Healthcare website, Healthcare Safety Info-eLinkô is my personal contribution to the occupational health and safety profession. It emphasizes the need for hospital senior management and associated stakeholders (government agencies) to seriously consider the important link between the quality of healthcare occupational health and safety workplace conditions and practices and its direct impact on patient safety outcomes (medical errors). In order to achieve sustainable administrative performance with meaningful control of healthcare costs, reduction in hospital staff injuries, occupational diseases and patient error are an essential goal. A holistic approach is proposed that manages patient safety and care-provider safety programs together as an integral component of the organization's Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) that strives to identify in a systematic and priortized manner management opportunities for implementing changes that focus on continuous improvement objectives. This type of approach could be attained by implementing a HSMS in accordance with the the provisions of the OHSAS 18001; ISO 45001 - 2018; the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard, CAN/CSA-Z1000-14 and regularily assessing performance of the HSMS with specific Audit Instruments. In addition, organizational ISO 9001 quality performance standard can be considered and quality improvement tools such as Six Sigma and Lean among others can be utilized to assist in reaching the objective of a effectively functioning HSMS - To reduce care provider injury/disease rates - And provide serious high quality "safe" patient care.


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

    • 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; and 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: occupational safety audit reports, accident / occupational disease investigation reports, safety inspection reports, compliance violation reports; standard safe operating procedures (SOP); corporate policies and associated industry best practice procedures

    • Healthcare and Academic Organizations occupational health and safety knowledge and hands-on field experience >25 yrs.

    • Occupational Health extensive knowledge of - human toxicology, disease pathology, and infection prevention and control methodology

    • 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 workers.
    • Christopher J. Lipowski Strategies for Implementing a Successful HSMS and OHS Program:

      Four initial basic priorities are necessary for implementing a robust HSMS
      1. Possesses and Practices Strong Organizational Ethics;
      2. Organizational Senior Leadership that adheres to point # 1 above and values their staff wellbeing by fully supporting their corporate occupational health and safety management system;
      3. An organization with a staff possessing a positive safety culture mind-set and a cohesive team spirit that believes in and supports all leadership continuous occupational and patient safety improvement initiatives;
      4. An effectively administered Human Resources Management department focused on progressive and proactive methods of organizational personnel management and promotes a strong Safety Culture and the benefits of a well developed Health and Safety Management System with regular performance assessment through well designed Audit practices

      Five Essential Characteristics of an Effective Safety Management System and a Successful Occupational Health, Hygiene, and Safety Program Results --->


      1) A high quality well-administered dedicated Organizational Environmental Occupational Health and Safety Department managed by a qualified ethical professionals highly skilled and extensively experienced Occupational Health and Safety experts that report to a Senior Organizational Leader that is focused on and striving for successful OHS positive returns on meaningful invested efforts.


      2) The Environmental Occupational Health and Safety (EOSH) Leader must possess superior knowledge and skills in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health, and Safety Management, gained through university training in the field.


      3) The EOHS Leader Possess Advanced Comprehensive Knowledge of Proactive and Progressive Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Techniques:- safety management systems instrument implementation and audit methodology; modern specialized industrial hygiene technology and professionally recognized acceptable practices; a well-developed comprehension of occupational health topics as well as current standards in infection control and prevention techniques; occupational / environmental toxicology; a firm understanding of organizational psychology theory and its applications, e.g. stress prevention / control, safety culture development, wellness programs.


      4) The EOHS Leader must 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) An 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 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 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 (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hierarchy/default.html) - consideration of weekly exposure level variability, and full review / risk assessment of work 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" by the inexperienced unqualified assessor submitted to the EOHS manager who is either not vigilant to assure validity of the methods used nor aware of whether the sampling protocol was adequate and thus unaware of the error/s, who then submits the report to their 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 culture excellence.

      The EOHS Team must be knowledgeable, experienced and supportive of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems including Audit Procedures as it is well regarded to be an effective method for identifying existing hazard deficiencies determined through 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.  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: CCOHS 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."

      The recommendations above should in particular be noted by Human Resources Departments responsible and accountable for occupational health and safety. It is strongly advisable that HR staff improve their basic knowledge of organizational health and safety concepts to help assure that reliable well-developed workplace safety programs are implemented for successfully reducing occupational accident rates, diseases and direct / indirect associated costs. It is also highly recommended all senor stakeholders appreciate the significant return on investment for being dedicated to and supporting high quality "Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems" for promoting a robust safety culture and meeting industry best standards and practices.

    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 - Christopher J. Lipowski, CRSP