Introducing… a safety specialist

Introducing… a safety specialist

Harjot Aulakh is a safety specialist based at St. Peter’s Hospital and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. He’s been with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for less than a year.

What do you love most about your role?

What I appreciate the most is the ability to have a positive impact in terms of supporting and ensuring the safety of the organization’s most valuable resources, our people. By collaborating with leaders to keep their teams safe, I contribute to our goal of providing an excellent patient experience. Knowing the work I do supports the well-being and health of our staff and our patients is immensely gratifying. I feel lucky to do the work I do.

What do you find challenging?

As a safety specialist, the work I do touches each part of the hospitals I support. That means understanding how to control a wide variety of hazards. During the winter months when snow and ice are prevalent, my team focuses on preventing slips, trips and falls. I work with many departments including customer support services, which includes portering and nutrition services, our engineering team and clinical staff to highlight different hazards that may affect their respective roles. Understanding that wide spectrum can be quite challenging, but it personally means each day is new and exciting. It is one of the reasons I enjoy working at HHS.

Describe a typical day.

Each day brings a new set of challenges and opportunities for me, so a typical day doesn’t really exist. Generally, I start most days reviewing any staff occurrences reported in the last 24 hours. If any exist, I look over the corrective measures implemented by managers and offer support to prevent similar occurrences from happening again. I may also spend time talking to managers and representatives from our joint health and safety committees to take a proactive look at potential issues. I advise and support them on how to best protect our staff. This often involves researching legislation and best practices from a staff safety standpoint. I provide recommendations based on that research.

The most gratifying part was knowing my contributions to ensure the health and safety of our people would allow them to focus on their goal to provide excellent patient care.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.

The most gratifying experience I’ve had at HHS, and truly my career to date, has been the support I provided to St. Peter’s Hospital in the aftermath of the fire in November. It was a hectic time for all of the staff and patients. My role involved supporting site leaders to ensure the workplace conditions were safe for our employees and, as the hospital reopened, to verify the areas affected by the fire were safe for re-occupancy. The most gratifying part was knowing my contributions to ensuring the health and safety of our people would allow them to focus on their goal to provide excellent patient care.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?

One of the most common misconceptions about the role is we are responsible for all staff safety across the organization. In fact, safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our people are responsible for working in a safe manner and ensuring all incidents are reported to their manager for further action. While we provide support and assistance to the entire organization to maintain a safe work environment, we want everyone to know their role as well.