James Ham Safe Design Awards

What it is Deadlines How to apply Past winners



As a result of the Covid pandemic and the lack of in person classes within Canadian post secondary schools, the Minerva James Ham Safe Design competition were cancelled over the last 3 years. A review is currently underway on continuing this award and selecting a venue, which would attract a maximum number.

Program Details and How To Apply

Full details, rules and the entry form used for the 2020 competition are shown below.

What you need to know is here:

pdf_icon Minerva Canada’s James Ham Safety Awards
pdf_icon 2020 Entry Form — Minerva Canada Safe Design Contest
pdf_icon 2020 Rules, Regulations — Minerva James Ham Safe Design Awards Contest

2020 Winning Team

2020 Minerva James Ham student winners
Engineering students from Ryerson University.
(L to R: Wendy Ampadu, Ray Diezmos, Jeremy Hyslob, Hassan Malik)
2020 Minerva James Ham student winners
Engineering students from York University

Engineering students from Ryerson University were awarded first team prize of $2000 while engineering students from York University were awarded second team prize of $500. Both teams discussed their projects during Minerva’s Board meeting and were also recognized during Minerva’s webinar in November.

See the 2020 press release below for details of their projects and other press releases for past winners.

pdf_icon Minerva Press Release – 2020 Safety Award

What It Is

In 2006, Minerva Canada, with funding from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), developed a program to recognize individual engineering students or teams of such students who have developed an innovative health and safety solution. The competition was first open to Ontario students and, in 2010, was extended to all engineering undergraduate students from Canadian universities and colleges with accredited engineering programs. The awards go to students who make an original and unique contribution to integrating safety into engineering design. Winners receive a first prize award of $3,500 and a second prize award of $1,500 and media exposure for the student(s) and their respective university or college.

Through these awards, Minerva Canada and the WSIB honour James Ham, whose Royal Commission Report on Health and Safety led to the creation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and to the adoption of the Internal Responsibility System in Ontario workplaces.

The purpose of the awards is to:

  • Encourage students and engineering faculty members to integrate safety into all designs.
  • Produce safer designs of devices, processes and systems.
  • Raise student awareness of Process Safety Management (PSM) and Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) management concepts.

Business and industry are constantly looking for ways in which new technology or innovative practices can improve efficiency and for ways they can respond more rapidly to changing demands. Unfortunately, the combination of these two – innovation and change – often conspires in unexpected ways. One of these regrettable outcomes is the inadvertent introduction of new hazards into the workplace and the elevation of risks to workers.

Students and faculty members in Canadian engineering schools are being challenged by Minerva Canada to look at this potential problem and other existing safety problems and to respond by:

  • Suggesting ways to improve the existing design of devices, processes or systems.
  • Envisioning new, innovative designs that will eliminate or reduce potential hazards.
  • Creating tools to help manufacturers and workplaces integrate safety into new or retrofitted designs.

It is hoped that this elevated awareness will lead to better integration of health and safety management programs in Canada’s post secondary schools and, in the long term, reduce workplace illnesses and injuries.