Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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>Dr. P.K. Abeytunga

A Global Leader in Workplace Health and Safety

Dr. P.K. Abeytunga will receive the 2012 APEX Award for Career Contribution, presented by the Association of the Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.

This award is presented to a leader in their field and through exemplary work over the course of their career, has brought recognition to the Canadian public service or to their department or agency. Read the News Release

In his 32 years of service to the federal government as the Vice-President and Director General of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), Dr. Abeytunga has established CCOHS as a globally recognized, credible leader in workplace health and safety.

Dr. Abeytunga is responsible for major international projects, co-operative arrangements with leading institutions involved in health and safety around the world, and representing CCOHS at major forums internationally. He has been a member of the CCOHS staff since its inception in 1980, and has directed the programs and services of CCOHS related to occupational health and safety information, training and customized products, including its electronic services, which are delivered on a cost-recovery basis. Among his many achievements are the initiation and development of CCOHS' electronic information service, distributed worldwide.

Dr. Abeytunga is an experienced strategic planner and senior executive with a proven track record in the conceptualization, development and effective implementation of many occupational health and safety programs and projects of international repute - especially in the areas of information and training. He has contributed to many international and national occupational health and safety projects in North America, Europe and developing countries, which addressed information, training, and specific problems and issues in workplace health and safety. His services are being utilized by UN programs and other agencies for global and regional projects worldwide. He has frequently been a speaker at regional and global conferences on the subject of information required for effective decision-making in the occupational health and safety field.

Dr. Abeytunga obtained his doctorate in occupational health and safety from the University of Aston, Department of Safety and Hygiene, Birmingham, U.K.

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Industry Influence

“His career has been defined by dedication to public service, pride in CCOHS as a federal agency, and he has taken a leadership role in establishing the organization as a nationally and internationally recognized centre of excellence in occupational health and safety. He has personally led global initiatives that increased Canada’s profile and established our country as the role model for excellence in occupational health and safety.”

President and CEO, CCOHS

"Dr. Abeytunga is today one of the most recognized international experts in the occupational safety and health area. His impressive contribution to international co-operation and exchange within a range of different OSH-organizations and forums, and his special personal commitment as regards the development in the prevention of work-related accident and diseases in low- and medium-income countries particularly stand out and contribute to making him an extraordinary personality and leading figure in the global health and safety business."

– HANS-HORST KONKOLEWSKY, Secretary General, International Social Security Association

"His depth of knowledge and experience have been instrumental in providing me and the Council with strategic advice and guidance. Dr.Abeytunga has a strong reputation both nationally and internationally and this has benefited occupational health and safety program development both in Canada and on the world stage. As one of CCOHS' first staff members, he helped to establish and promote the vision of CCOHS as a national organization providing information and tools directly to the workforce, a unique approach when many other national organizations focused on research alone."

– BAYLA KOLK, Council Chair, CCOHS, and Assistant Deputy Minister,
Pensions and Benefits Sector, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

"In my former role as Communication Director for the National Institute (NIOSH) I was always able to point to the CCOHS website as a model for web design and content. P.K.'s influence could be seen in the content that was provided on the site as well as the ease of usability. When NIOSH re-did its website in 2005 CCOHS was at the very top of the models that helped guide the re-design. The CCOHS website serves as an effective and comprehensive model for the global occupational safety and health community."

– MAX LUM, Ed.D, MPA, Communication and Research Translation, Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

"Not only has he been instrumental in creating programs that help all workers to stay healthy and safe, but also has been an advisor to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and shared his expertise with many governments around the world."

– MARIE CLARKE WALKER, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress

"Dr. Abeytunga, through his daily work for CCOHS and through his international work in the field of occupational safety and health, contributed greatly to the improvement of safety and health worldwide."

– SEIJI MACHIDA, Director, Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment, International Labour Office (ILO)

"Dr. Abeytunga has been working with WHO through CCOHS, a WHO Collaborating Centre for occupational health since September 1993. Dr.Abeytunga has been instrumental in advancing collaborations across border to promote occupational health. His enthusiasm and extensive professional experience has served the international occupational health community immensely. Occupational health is Abey's passion and his vision is to make it available to all people."

– DR. EVELYN KORTUM, Dept. of Public Health and Environments, World Health OrganizationLabour Office (ILO)