Writing for OHS CANADA Magazine
Readers of OHS Canada Magazine frequently write for the magazine, as do
professional journalists and freelance writers. If you have a story idea, here are the
general guidelines for publication, as well as tips on how to plan and structure an
article for our magazine. (We strongly suggest that you contact the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss any story ideas before going ahead with the
About OHS CANADA
OHS CANADA is the leading Canadian magazine for people who make decisions about
health and safety in the workplace.
Contents include features dealing with trends, new developments and emerging
issues in health and safety, as well as case studies and profiles of innovative and
successful programs. Departments deal with specific issues in accident prevention,
ergonomics, law, workers compensation, occupational hygiene, the environment and
training. News, a humour column and a back-page opinion piece round out the contents.
The majority of articles in the magazine are written by experts in the various
fields that make up occupational health and safety. Some are written by professional
journalists and freelance writers, almost always on an assignment basis.
Unsolicited articles, though welcome, are not often used because issues and
story mix are planned well in advance. Submission of story ideas and/or outlines is
usually a better route to publication.
Telephone and e-mail inquiries to the editor are welcome.
Articles accepted for publication in OHS CANADA are edited for length, style and
clarity. An edited version is returned to the author for verification of accuracy before
OHS CANADA acquires first North American serial rights, reprint rights and
electronic rights unless a different arrangement has been specifically made. Authors
retain copyright and moral rights in the work.
The best way to become familiar with our editorial requirements is, of course,
to read the magazine (or browse the "Virtual Issue" section on this web site).
Articles must address substantive occupational health and safety issues and
offer useful insight, perspective or guidance to our readers. This is the key requirement.
Note that OHS CANADA uses a highly readable, consumer magazine style. The use of
academic conventions, footnotes and numbered references should be avoided (or at least
kept to a bare minimum).
Authors must be qualified (academically or by experience) to discuss the issues
dealt with in the article, or draw their content from such qualified people.
All content must be technically and/or scientifically accurate, and the author
must be prepared to give sources for fact-checking and verification.
Articles must adhere to the highest standards of journalistic fairness,
especially if quotes or attributions from individuals and organizations are used.
Articles cannot promote a specific company or product, or mention specific
products or services by name except in the context of a bona fide review of a number of
similar products or services.
Articles submitted to OHS CANADA must be original, previously unpublished work, and must
not currently be under consideration by any other publication.
Each issue of OHS CANADA includes a number of features one of them the
cover story linked to the cover illustration. Each feature is a fairly
in-depth examination or analysis of a specific topic. A typical feature is about 3,000
words, but length may vary from 2,500 to 3,500 words. Features may be somewhat
philosophical in nature, and may include the history behind the subject, an analysis of
its impact and meaning, and/or an examination of varying views on the subject.
Features tend to be wider and more general in scope than Department articles
(see below). If the feature material includes lists, point-form examples or other closely
related capsules of information, consider including these as sidebars.
Readability and interest are particularly important qualities in feature
articles. When you write a feature for OHS CANADA, try to picture your reader leaning back
in his or her chair to enjoy the article. We want the reader to come away with a satisfied
feeling of having been thoroughly informed, brought up to date or given useful food for
Illustration and visuals
From the beginning, when you are in the planning stages, try to keep visual
presentation in mind.
Lists, statistics and numerical comparisons (if they are important to the
article) are often best handled in a chart or graph. Some descriptions of objects or
locations lend themselves to a labeled diagram. Processes or systems can sometimes best be
described by a flow chart. (A sketch or even the raw information is all we need; our
graphics department can produce the final product.)
For features, photographs are often the best kind of illustration. A photo can
show the impact that the story content has on people, it can establish mood and tone, and
it can capture the essence of a relationship. When writing your feature, consider who is
impacted by the subject you are discussing, which individuals are involved, or which
people are representative of the those affected.
Supplied, professional quality photos are welcome (but be careful about
copyright and photo credits); however, if you have a good photo subject, we can often
supply a photographer to produce original material for the article.
OHS CANADA has a number of departments or regularly covered subject
Accident Prevention, dealing with the prevention of acute-injury-causing
Law file (usually written by a lawyer) dealing with legal issues;
Occupational Hygiene (usually written by a certified hygienist);
Articles in the departments should be about 1,500 words long, but may be
somewhat shorter or longer if the subject matter demands it. The subjects should be very
specific, fairly narrow and well defined. In the departments, we look for information that
can be immediately applied by the reader, and it should be to-the-point, specific and
Think of a department article as a briefing for the reader on your particular
subject. (Contrast this with features, which deal with larger and broader issues, can be
more philosophical, and may contain more background information.) The departments are
where we would often expect to see point-form lists on how to do something, checklists of
key concerns, and descriptions of specific situations followed by a what-it-means-to-you
and/or a how-to-put-it-into-practice conclusion. Line drawings and diagrams illustrating
key points of the article add greatly to the presentation.
A good rule of thumb for producing an interesting and readable Department
article is to structure it along the following lines: Heres How to, Guess
Whats New In, Bet You Thought That, or Bet You Didnt Know That.
Writing for our audience
Readers of OHS CANADA are professionals who have responsibility for the health
and safety of others. They need and demand timely, accurate and relevant information to
help them understand issues and keep abreast of new developments. Many of our readers use
the magazine as a means of continuing professional development. Readers include the
health & safety directors, managers or supervisors,
supervisors, senior or line,
health and safety committee members,
human resources / industrial relations staff,
nurses, hygienists, physicians,
ergonomists, hygienists, loss control specialists,
maintenance, engineering and environmental staff,
Keep these readers in mind when you write for OHS CANADA. Note that while the
readers are professionals, they are probably not experts in all of the many fields that
make up oh&s. (A highly qualified supervisor probably isnt an expert ergonomist;
a hygienist probably knows very little about system safety, and so on.) This means that
you should always write for the broad cross section of the audience. The article dealing
with a specialty should be interesting to the specialists in that field, of course, but it
should also be written for all the OHS people outside that specialty area.
Keeping the Canada in OHS CANADA
Try to keep a national perspective and a Canadian perspective. Choose examples
from various provinces and from the federal jurisdiction. While Ontario represents over 40
per cent of the population, we have to avoid over-reliance on in Ontario, for
example... when talking about standards or legislation. For stories that are
specific to one province, consider broadening the perspective by discussing the
implications for other provinces (whether or not they will follow suit with a new
development, for example) and by comparing and contrasting practices and legislation in
the other jurisdictions.
Articles, outlines and/or material may be emailed to the editor at email@example.com.