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Who is an Occupational Health Nurse?

Occupational health nurses (OHNs) are Registered Nurses with experience and knowledge of health hazards in a variety of occupations.  As professionals who communicate with all department levels of an organization, OHNs have the unique ability to assist employers, managers, and workers to take charge of their own health.  With an OHN as part of a company’s team, the safety of the employees is fostered.

Occupational health nurses are registered nurses who practice under their jurisdictional registering body respecting ethics, privacy, and confidentiality. 


Specialized Credentials

OHNs are qualified to oversee the health, safety, and wellness of an organization’s most valuable asset - its employees. They are a Registered Nurse licensed by the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba who:

  • Has practice and experience in occupational health and safety

  • May hold certification in occupational health nursing

  • May hold national certification through CNA specialty exams


What Sets OHNs Apart

  • The occupational health nurse is a specialist who practices independently and interdependently in the workplace demonstrating responsibility, accountability, leadership, and direction.

  • OHN practice is based on knowledge gained primarily from nursing, medicine, ergonomics, epidemiology, environmental sciences, occupational health and safety, social/behavioral sciences, as well as from management, administration and educational concepts and practices, and legal/regulatory requirements.

  • OHNs function as advocates for health and safety in the workplace.

  • The occupational health nurse practices in a holistic manner and understands that individuals are unique.

  • The occupational health nurse’s scope of practice includes the promotion of health, safety, and wellness, prevention of illness and injury, care and recovery of employees, enhancement of employee and organizational health, business management, and administration, and support of a safe and healthy workplace.

  • The occupational health nurse consults and collaborates with colleagues, professional and industry associations, as well as individuals and groups, both internal and external to the organization.

  • The occupational health nurse acts as a subject matter expert for employers, employees, unions, colleagues and other stakeholders.

  • The occupational health nurse understands that health and safety culture is an important component in determining the direction, support, and influence of the workplace.

  • Occupational health nurses practice in a variety of work settings, including any location or equipment at, upon, in or near the place at which a

       worker works.


Source: CNA Specialty Exam Competencies 


Available Services

OHNs are available on a full-time, part-time or casual basis.  They assist in identifying and addressing areas of concern in the workplace that affect employee health.


The services of an OHN can be tailored to the requirements of the organization.  They include:

  • Developing and evaluating health and safety policies appropriate to the organizations’ needs.

  • Compiling and analyzing employee health data and work-related injuries

  • Developing and implementing appropriate health and safety programs based on this data.

  • Providing emergency health services and referral.

  • Offering health education and programs, including back care, hearing conservation, blood pressure screening, immunization clinics, stress management, smoking cessation, and nutrition counseling.

  • Conducting safety and health-related tests, such as hearing tests, noise level monitoring, lung function tests and lead level tests.

  • Addressing environmental issues, including air quality testing, noise control, and chemical monitoring.

  • Providing employees with resources on health promotion and lifestyle management. 



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