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Occupational Health and Safety

Turn your concern for safety into a rewarding career developing and maintaining healthy and safe work environments.

Two men in safety vests, goggles and hard hats consult a clipboard while kneeling in an unfinished basement or utility room.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Opportunities in the occupational health and safety (OH&S) field are growing. If you see yourself doing any of the following, you may be well-suited to a career in OH&S:

  • Practical hands-on problem solving, like working with and educating people
  • Managing, collecting and interpreting data to identify trends and issues in the workplace
  • Promoting legislation, standards and best practices in OH&S

Throughout the program, you focus on what people do, analyze why they do it and then apply a research-supported intervention strategy to improve working environment conditions. As a graduate, you're well prepared to contribute to, and lead, the development and maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid, full-time employment in a field related to your program.
    • Co-op takes place in third term and must be a minimum of 12 weeks and 420 hours.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • To meet the needs of employers, this program was developed in partnership with the Workers' Compensation Board's Community Initiatives and Research Program.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • To be successful in this program, basic proficiency in Microsoft Word/PowerPoint, and excellent oral and written communication, research and collaboration skills are recommended.
  • OH&S practitioners work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Industrial safety standards require that you have adequate vision and colour perception to operate safely while performing the tasks in the shop and in the field.
  • Demand for entry-level practitioners in the OH&S field is growing.


Seats are available for domestic applicants only. International applicants will be waitlisted.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Institute of Technology Campus/Online
Full time Blended
Delivered through a combination of online and in-person classes. At least 50% of learning is in-person.
Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma plus 3 years' work experience after high school graduation in a related field such as industry, trades, health or human resources, or a diploma or undergraduate degree.
    • You're required to submit a post-secondary transcript or a high school transcript and résumé, as supporting documents accompanying your application.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country.  View document and language requirements by country

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.
  • Confined Space Entry Certification
  • A current, official criminal record check is required to complete work placements (such as field work, internships, co-ops) in this program. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to complete program requirements. Information on this process will be provided at the beginning of your program.


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates find employment in a variety of safety system monitoring positions. Occupational titles include safety supervisors and safety advisors. Dependent upon your previous experience, these positions can vary from entry-level to mid-management.
  • The OHS diploma program at NSCC satisfies the formal educational requirement for the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) designations. You can find more details at the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals.
  • Learn more about labour market information. View career options

Future study options

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

COMM 1300 - Professional OHSE Communications I
In this course learners develop essential communications strategies and professional skills required for success as an OHSE professional. The course focuses on honing written, verbal and word processing skills, and provides opportunity to foster professional etiquette skills.

COMM 1301 - Professional OHSE Communications II
This course prepares learners to communicate effectively in an OHSE context. Learners will apply practical communications skills in an applied scenario. Chairing meetings, taking minutes and planning, organizing and delivering presentations, are all practiced. Learners also hone technical writing skills and foster professional skills required for work as an OHSE professional.

COMP 2112 - Applied Spreadsheets
This course introduces the student to electronic spreadsheets. Basic formulae and functions will be used to perform calculations on the spreadsheet data as well as applying formatting skills to enhance the appearance and clarity of printed spreadsheets and reports. Students will also learn to correct common errors, and to utilize sorting and filtering functions to increase efficiency. This course cannot be used to fulfill an elective requirement for students in Business Administration.

EMER 1003 - Business Continuity Planning I
This course follows the ISO 22301 model and covers all aspects of business continuity and emergency planning. Learners review the standards and professional practices, identify regulations, terminologies and principles, and apply concepts to industry.

EMER 1006 - Leadership and Influence
This course examines the different types of leadership, and nurtures the entrepreneurial skills necessary for effective leadership given various situational determinants. Learners will identify leadership traits, engage in critical self-reflection, develop a plan for personal leadership growth, explore how to foster a collaborative culture, and examine change management and conflict resolution strategies.

EMER 1013 - Business Continuity Planning II
Building on the theoretical concepts addressed in Business Continuity Planning I, this course sees the learner create a mock business continuity plan for an Atlantic Canadian company, a process that includes research, risk assessment, plan development, exercise planning and implementation, and a lessons learned exercise.

MATH 1080 - Math and Statistics for OHSE
In this course the learner practices the application of basic statistical and mathematical methods to problems in occupational health and safety. Learners solve problems related to conversion, ratio/proportion, mean, per cent, rate, standard deviation, time weighted average and other applicable calculations, as well as produce and interpret graphical representations of data.

MGMT 1010 - Organizational Behaviour
This course gives students a fundamental understanding of the factors that influence effective interactions within an organization. Individual traits, team dynamics, and organizational culture will all be examined as factors contributing to workplace success and sustainability. Topics such as perception, diversity, motivation, ethics, conflict resolution, and change will be examined to help students become better equipped to interact with others in an organization and to find career satisfaction.

MGMT 3050 - Project Management
Projects faced by managers may vary in size, but the process of planning and managing projects while faced with numerous project constraints (e.g., time, money, and other resources) remains relatively the same. Students in this course will be introduced to a range of project management tools and be given an opportunity to apply basic project management techniques so they can effectively plan, implement and manage the tasks, risks and constraints associated with projects of various sizes.

OHSE 1100 - Work Experience
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply skills and concepts appropriate for entry level positions within the occupation. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

OHSE 1500 - OHSE Fundamentals
This course outlines the components of a modern occupational health, safety and environment (OHSE) system in the workplace. Students will examine how past regulatory bodies and frameworks evolved into today's health and safety legislation. Emphasis will be placed on defining the scope of the work of the OHSE professional, and broadly outlining the hazards and controls associated with common tools, equipment, and machinery, in a variety of professional contexts and workplaces.

OHSE 1510 - Risk Management I
This course focuses on risk management techniques. Learners identify, assess, and evaluate risks, losses and controls to effectively apply an OHSE management system. The course details processes and components of workplace inspections, and explores incident causation theories and prevention strategies.

OHSE 1511 - Risk Management II
This course is designed to equip the learner with the tools to control loss in the workplace. Through the application of evaluation tools, learners will determine the effectiveness and efficiency of safety management systems. Learners will also be creating effective written OHSE policy, procedures and programming.

OHSE 1520 - Health and Wellness in the Workplace
An overview of workplace wellness programs is provided, with coverage of both physical and mental health programming, as well as employee and family assistance programs. Learners investigate factors that impact health and wellness and worker wellbeing, including fatigue, work/life balance, drug and alcohol use, and violence and harassment. The course also delves into the impetus behind, and value of, workplace health promotion.

OHSE 1550 - Legal and Ethical Obligations
This course addresses the legal and ethical obligations of the OHSE professional and all relevant stakeholders, including regulatory, professional and ethical codes of conduct, commitment to excellence, personal growth and life-long learning. Learners research applicable acts, regulations, codes and standards, and examine fundamental principles and processes of Canadian OHSE law.

OHSE 1560 - Training and Development Practices
This course offers an introduction to adult learning principles with a focus on methodology and best practices for OHSE training programs. Learners will determine how to assess need, develop and deliver basic training workshops, and evaluate success of training.

OHSE 1570 - Occupational Hygiene
This course focuses on how to identify, evaluate, and control the health and safety risks associated with chemical, physical and biological agents. Topics include routes of entry, exposure limits and methods of measurement and control.

OHSE 1600 - OHSE Auditing
Learners will investigate auditing principles and processes, as defined by applicable codes and standards. Using standard audit tools, learners will participate in auditing exercises, where they practice preparing for, conducting an audit. Learners will also develop an action plan and debrief with employers in simulated scenarios.

OHSE 1610 - Quality Management for OHSE
This course explores fundamental Quality Management theory as it relates to Occupational Health and Safety. Students also consider how Environmental Management System and Occupational Health and Safety System professional standards inform an overarching Quality Management System from development, implementation, evaluation and continuous improvement.

OHSE 1650 - Disability Management Fundamentals
This course offers an introduction to Disability Management, with emphasis on common terminology and processes relevant to the work of the OHSE professional. Learners will investigate injury reporting and assessment procedures, as well as functional assessments. They will also contribute to the development of disability management programming, including modified work, rehabilitation, and return to work.

OHSE 1660 - Environmental Management for OHSE
This course explores the basic concepts of environmental management as it relates to the workplace environment including air, water and soil pollution and includes management of hazardous waste materials (spills or leaks) and dealing with hazardous waste. Learners will review the impact of federal, provincial, territorial and municipal environmental requirements on the workplace.

OHSE 2000 - Applied Project
This course offers learners opportunity to develop, implement and promote a written safety prevention program. They will exercise the essential knowledge and skills required to develop, coordinate, implement, maintain, and evaluate/audit an OHSE program in a variety of industry settings. Learners will deliver a presentation outlining a business case for safety.

OHSE 2100 - Work Experience II
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply skills and concepts appropriate for entry level positions within the occupation. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

OHSP 1008 - Ergonomics
This course introduces the principles and concepts of ergonomics as it applies to the workplace. Topics will include musculoskeletal injuries, assessment tools, ergonomic intervention strategies, ergonomic risk factors, ergonomic analysis, the participatory ergonomics approach and the establishment of ergonomic programs.

OHSP 1010 - Fire Prevention and Protection Planning
This course addresses the national and provincial building and fire codes, regulations and standards as they apply to developing, maintaining and communicating a fire safety and emergency preparedness plan.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1020 - Safety Basics – Restricted Spaces
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with working in restricted spaces. The definition and potential hazards of restricted spaces are discussed The course material is infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1025 - Certified Fall Arrest and Protection
This course provides participants with an understanding of the hazards associated with working from heights and compliance with Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (2013). Throughout the course, participants will gain experience in the donning of a harness, an overview and presentation of system components involved when working from heights and learn how to complete a fall calculation and emergency procedures.

SAFE 1041 - Introduction to Electrical and Powerline Hazards
This course covers basic knowledge about electricity, electrical hazards, and safety measures when working in proximity to electrical equipment in the workplace, or proximity to transition lines above and under ground. It also teaches learners what to do when equipment becomes charged with an electrical current and reviews all appropriate legislative requirements.

SAFE 1270 - Transportation of Dangerous Goods
In this course learners develop an awareness of practices associated with the transportation of dangerous goods, with reference to federal and provincial regulations, key stakeholder responsibilities, and relevant documentation and labelling.

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