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Workplace Health: Health and Safety Measures for Designated Officers / Emergency Service Workers

The following information is for Designated Officers (DO) in emergency service settings, including fire, paramedics, and police. It helps ensure safe practices are followed to reduce the risk of transmission of blood-borne and other types of infection for clients and staff as services are delivered.

What are Designated Officers?

To protect the health of Emergency Service Workers (ESW) and to prevent further spread of infectious diseases, ESW organizations (police, fire, paramedic) have a Designated Officer who receives, and reviews reports from the Health Unit or workers directly regarding possible exposures to communicable diseases.


Roles and responsibilities

Halton Region Public Health:

  • Is available to DOs within Halton region for consultation.
  • Reviews information on ESW exposures reported by a DO.
  • Assists the DO with the assessment of the exposure risk
  • Provides recommendations for the DO to provide to the ESW following an exposure such as when and how to seek medical attention, testing and follow up.
  • Notify the DO if an ESW was identified as a contact of a reportable disease.
  • The Health Unit will not gather information from the ESW who was exposed; this is the role of the DO.

The DO:

  • Obtains information from the ESW following an exposure and report to Halton Public Health as appropriate.
  • Provides counselling, guidance, and support to exposed workers.

Resources for Designated Officers


Training for Designated Officers

Ontario Public Services Health & Safety Association offers a 1-day training course for designated officers on the identification, treatment and control of communicable diseases that can be contracted in the workplace: Public Services Health & Safety Association DO Training.


Additional resources