October 10, 2023
WHS Senior Advisor for South Zone Chantelle Comeau (left) and Blood Tribe Health Department Safety Advisor PJ Fox have been working on developing the health department’s health and safety program.
Story by Nouran Babcock
LETHBRIDGE — When the Blood Tribe Health Department sought expertise to develop their health and safety programs, they reached out to the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) team in the South Zone.
The Blood Tribe’s health department covers health and safety for approximately 15 departments across the Blood Reserve, including the Lethbridge Wellness Centre. The Blood Tribe Department of Health has an overarching safety program — and it’s up to PJ Fox, their health and safety advisor, to flesh out the details — with joint workplace health and safety committees, Hazard ID, Assessment and Control (HIAC) processes for each workplace role — to keep up to date and ensure compliance with provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
Fox’s team already enjoys a connection with Alberta Health Services (AHS) thanks to their collaboration during the pandemic. Ties grew stronger in March 2023, when Fox’s senior leadership put her in touch with Chantelle Comeau, AHS senior advisor for Workplace Health and Safety, South Zone. Since then, the pair have been working closely.
“Not only is mentorship such an important aspect of my career, but it's also part of my ethics as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional, where I promised myself that I would always support my peers,” says Comeau. “I’m so proud of PJ, she really gets it when it comes to safety.”
Fox’s role overseeing health and safety includes incidents, investigations and corrective actions as well as the reporting structure.
“The guidance has been a really great help with finding my way in my new position,” says Fox, adding it’s proven beneficial to have an existing relationship between her health department and AHS.
“Something that Chantelle told me was that health and safety is everyone's responsibility — and so I've really tried to emphasize that with all our employees – it's not a one-man job,” Fox adds.
Whether internal or external, positive relationships lie at the core of health and safety, and building on them is key to get buy-in, says Comeau.
“Our healthcare system encompasses everybody. It’s not just our workers inside, it's all the clients and patients, including the Blood Tribe. I hope our collaboration never ends — and that we’ll always have our friendship.”