Our People in Profile: Angela Keenan receives national safety leadership awards recognizing that the health and safety of employees and patients are in good hands

Angela Keenan is the provincial director for Occupational Health Safety & Wellness.

“In this organization, I don’t want safety to be seen as compliance, but as education and engagement,” said Angela Keenan, provincial director for Occupational Health Safety & Wellness.

Her vision and commitment to staff and patient safety are why Keenan was recently one of eight national leaders who was awarded the 2020 Safety Leader of the Year. 

She was also awarded the 2021 Top Women in Safety alongside 39 of her safety peers from across Canada.

Through Canadian Occupational Safety – the premier publication for the health and safety profession – Keenan was nominated by her safety peers and chosen for two esteemed safety awards.

Both awards are given to highly trusted professionals who go above and beyond in their organizations to improve and enhance safety for all. 

“I had no idea, in either case, that I was nominated,” said Keenan, who has always had a passion for the work and supporting people in the workplace.

“Safety is all about managing risks, identifying controls, opportunities and seeing things with different perspectives,” said Keenan. 

The pandemic has brought health and safety to the forefront, proving the importance of safety in all occupations, whether they are considered traditionally safe or not. 

Keenan and her team have stepped up to the challenge of COVID-19 and elevated safety throughout the pandemic through education, engagement and supports for staff.  

From FIT testing for respiratory protection and point of care testing for COVID-19 in the workplace; to health care-specific advice and guidance provided through staff emails and vaccine registration and appointment booking supports, the team is immersed in multiple safety initiatives underway. 

Occupational Health Safety & Wellness is responsible for ensuring the provision of the health and safety of employees, in addition to supporting organizational compliance. 

“The provision of safe patient care is dependent on the health care worker engaging in safe work practices in the workplace,” said Keenan, whose team works to prioritize safety in all work processes so employees can work safely and do their best to achieve organizational goals.

Notably, Keenan’s team has worked collaboratively with great innovation to combine traditionally separate departments into one all-encompassing department. 

“There’s been intentional work to integrate occupational health, safety and wellness all together,” said Keenan. “We embedded all of our support for the greatest impact.”

Keenan’s unwavering commitment to the health and safety of employees is reflected in the work of her team. 

“No matter what your occupation is, you need to recognize your workplace hazards,” said Keenan. “Look beyond the obvious or what is traditionally seen as a hazard for a particular role and consider protocols.”

Workplace safety fosters trust and healthy work behaviours when employees know their wellbeing and protection is a priority. When employees feel safe, innovation and quality of service to patients increases. 

The health and safety of employees and patients at Nova Scotia Health are in good hands. 

Congratulations to Angela Keenan for two well deserved awards.