A comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) ensures the health and safety of employees.  The SMS helps organizations proactively identify and control hazards.  A workplace safety culture cannot be achieved without an effective SMS.

AWARE-NS has developed a Safety Management System (SMS) of 13 elements, complete with program content, tools, templates and forms that will support the needs of the Nova Scotia Health and Community Services sectors.

AWARE-NS, the Health and Community Services Safety Association, in partnership with WCB Nova Scotia are working with individual organizations in developing and implementing an effective Safe Handling and Mobility (SHM) program.

The SHM program begins with Setting the Stage; building awareness and senior leadership commitment through active engagement. Program Review is then conducted to identify gaps and opportunities. Equipment Inventory is conducted, and an Action Plan is developed to close the gaps on the program and equipment.  The SHM Team is formed and roles and responsibilities are identified (SHM Champion, peer leaders, PACE Team & trainers) and an education/training roll-out plan is prepared for staff.

Lifting & Moving Safely (LAMS)

How to prevent Muskuloskeletal Injuries (MSIs) for non-resident activities.

We know that sprains and strains are the highest contributor to workplace injuries in the Health and Community Services sectors in Nova Scotia. AWARE-NS and WCB NS have already been providing training with the Safe Handling & Mobility (SHM) program. LAMS is additional training for the injuries that occur due to activities, other than the lifting and transferring of residents/clients.

This session is targeted towards managers/supervisors, support staff managers/supervisors and Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee members. 

LAMS covers a 6-step process for hot to prevent MSIs. This MSI prevention guide will help you every step of the way.  Learn how to build awareness, identify hazards, assess risk, implement controls and assess the effectiveness of your action plan.  You’ll soon be on your way to making your workplace safer for everyone.

Safe Handling & Mobility Sustainability Leadership

In partnership with WCB Nova Scotia, AWARE-NS has been successfully working with individual organizations in developing and implementing effective Safe Handling and Mobility (SHM) programs throughout the province.

Developing and implementing your SHM program is only the first step for your organization to ensure you are considering long-term sustainability.

For this reason, AWARE-NS has developed a Safe Handling and Mobility Sustainability Leadership training program. Based on the SAFER Leadership model, this training session is focused on helping your leadership team ensure your SHM program maintains its effectiveness into the future.

Program Details:

  • ½ day SAFER Leadership training
  • Designed for RNs, LPNs, SHM committees, or any staff member responsible for promoting SHM practices
  • Training conducted on-site
  • Department of Health and Wellness funding is available that will support employers to release staff to attend (4 hours)

Violence in the workplace is an issue that affects the safety and security of employees, residents and visitors at your organization. Workplace violence claims a high personal cost due to the emotional trauma and physical injury experienced by victims, their families and co-workers. It can also lead to increased absenteeism, higher sick leave costs, lost
productivity, high employee turn-over, higher insurance premiums and increased WCB premiums.

Workplace Violence - Code White

Code White refers to a trained team response to a threat that is a behavioural emergency involving a client, resident, person supported, and family member or outside intruder.  A Code White indicates the level of intensity has increased and there is imminent risk of a harm to self or others. In the event that a Code White is initiated at the facility, all staff will follow the are- specific procedures. 

Nova Scotia OHS Legislation requires any organization that has 20 or more employees must establish a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, with the purpose of workers and management working together to help ensure the health and safety of everyone at or near the workplace. But having a JOHS Committee is not enough. In order to be effective, JOHS Committee members need to have the necessary skills and knowledge in order to be effective in their role.

The AWARE-NS 2-day certificate program is designed to provide your JOHSC members with the necessary skills needed to establish and maintain a productive and effective JOHS Committee as outlined in the Nova Scotia OHS Act. The certificate includes:

Day 1

  • Internal Responsibility System (IRS)
  • Safety Accountability & Communication
  • JOHS Committee Awareness

Day 2

  • Hazard Identification
  • Workplace Inspections
  • Incident Investigation / Root Cause Analysis

Note: Students are not required to have Day 1 before taking Day 2 and can take Day 2 before Day 1 if they so wish.

The program objective is to integrate leadership skills and the practical application of the Safety Management System (SMS). Upon completion, participants will understand their role, responsibility and accountability for health and safety. It provides the tools and resources in developing a proactive occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS), and supports leadership values that positively impact safe work culture.

IRS: Roles & Responsibilities for the Worker

The Internal Responsibility System is the underlying philosophy of the Nova Scotia OH&S Act, which states that all workplace parties (employers, managers, supervisors, and employees) have shared responsibility when it comes to occupational health and safety.


Therefore, an essential function of developing and implementing an effective safety management system is ensuring all parties have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities regarding health and safety at the workplace.


For this reason, AWARE-NS has developed the Understanding Your Roles and Responsibilities for the Worker training program. This ½ day in-class program aims to provide the frontline workers with a general understanding of their roles and responsibilities in occupational health and safety. It will use both a lecture and discussion format and will include topics such as:

  • Key Legislative Requirements
  • The Internal Responsibility System and their role within this system
  • The Right of Workers under the Nova Scotia OHS Act
  • The Nova Scotia OHS Act Unsafe Work Refusal Process
  • And other important topics including the importance of reporting, hazard identification and assessing risks and JOHS Committee overview

Note: this course is not intended to replace the employer’s responsibility for ensuring their staff is provided with specific workplace roles and responsibilities training.

Self Care for the Health Care Worker

Every day health care workers provide physical and emotional support for the people they care for and their families. This takes a psychological and physical toll on workers, requiring mental and physical care for themselves. 

For this reason, AWARE-NS has developed the Self-Care for the Health Care Worker training program. This ½ day in-class program is designed to provide health care workers with knowledge on recognizing the need and developing strategies for providing self-care. This program will use lecture, discussion, and assessment formats which include:

  • Using the Self-Care Wheel
  • Recognizing and coping with stress
  • Top 12 Self-Care Tips for Helpers
  • Using the Self-Care Assessment
  • Developing a Self-Care Plan