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Proposal to Introduce Regulation Regarding Mandatory Health and Safety Training for All Workers and Supervisors

REPOST ARTICLE SOURCE: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/prevention/consultations/training.php

In 2010, the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety recommended the development of mandatory, basic health and safety awareness training programs for all Ontario workplaces.

The Ministry of Labour proposes to introduce new regulatory requirements that would require employers to ensure that all workers and supervisors complete mandatory occupational health and safety awareness training programs. The proposed requirements would apply to everyone who meets the current definitions of “worker” and “supervisor” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Over the past year, the Ministry has been developing and has consulted on awareness training productsfor workers and supervisors. If the proposed regulation is made, employers would be required to ensure that workers and supervisors have completed the training developed by the Ministry or a similar training program that would meet the minimum proposed content requirements set out in the regulation, before or shortly after commencing work duties.

Application and Coming Into Force

The proposed regulation would apply to all workplaces currently covered by the OHSA, regardless of sector, including but not limited to, industrial establishments, construction projects, health care and residential facilities, mines and mining plants, and farming operations.

The proposal would also allow for a transition period to allow employers time to ensure that existing workers and supervisors have completed awareness training programs before the proposed regulation comes into effect. It is anticipated that the proposed new regulation would be filed on or before July 1, 2013 and would come into force on January 1, 2014.

Timing

The information covered by an occupational awareness training program is intended to be introductory. As such, once the proposed regulation comes into effect, and on a go forward basis, employers would need to ensure that new workers who have not already completed an awareness training program (that met the minimum proposed regulatory requirements) do so as soon as practicable after commencing work duties. Similarly, any new supervisors who have not already completed an awareness training program (that met the minimum proposed regulatory requirements) would need to do so within the first week of commencing supervisory duties.

Transferability and Records

The proposal would not specifically require workers and supervisors to retake an awareness training program that meets the requirements set out in the proposed regulation, if they change employers. Upon new workers and supervisors commencing their respective duties, employers would be required to verify and ensure that these workers and/or supervisors have previously completed an awareness training program (that met the minimum proposed regulatory requirements; for example, the worker or supervisor may have a certificate or other written proof of completion, depending on the program). Alternatively, employers may choose to have new workers and supervisors complete the employer’s own awareness training program, upon commencing duties with that employer, so long as that training program meets the minimum requirements set out in the proposed regulation.

The proposed regulation would explicitly require employers to keep records of completion for their workers and supervisors, to demonstrate compliance with the proposed new requirements, while allowing employers flexibility regarding the type or kind of record that must be kept. The Ministry of Labour would develop employer resources in advance of the effective date of the regulation to assist employers in complying with the proposed requirement to keep records, including examples of records that could be retained by employers to demonstrate compliance.

Compliance

The proposed regulation would deem an employer who has already ensured that their workers and/or supervisors have completed an awareness training programs (that met the minimum proposed regulatory requirements) prior to the effective date of the new requirement to be in compliance. This means that employers would not be required to “re-train” workers and supervisors who have already completed awareness training programs covering the minimum content requirements prior to the anticipated coming into force date. The Ministry would have resources available to employers in advance of the proposed regulation coming into effect to assist them in assessing whether their own existing training programs would meet the proposed requirements.

Should the proposed regulation be made, employers would be able to demonstrate compliance by having their workers or supervisors complete awareness training program products and materials that are being developed by the Ministry of Labour, or by having their workers or supervisors complete existing or alternate programs that met the minimum regulatory requirements.

Minimum Content Requirements

Based on the Expert Advisory Panel’s report, it is proposed that awareness training programs would need to cover the following minimum content requirements:

Worker Awareness

  • Rights and responsibilities of workers and supervisors under the OHSA
  • Roles of workplace parties, health and safety representatives, and joint health and safety committees
  • Roles of the Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and Health and Safety partners
  • Hazard recognition
  • Right to be informed of hazards
  • Reference to an employer’s obligations to provide information and instruction to workers about controlled products as required under Regulation 860 (WHMIS) of the OHSA
  • Latency and illness related to occupational disease

Supervisor Awareness

  • Rights and responsibilities of workers and supervisors under the OHSA
  • Roles of workplace parties, health and safety representatives, and joint health and safety committees
  • Roles of the Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and Health and Safety partners
  • Recognition, assessment, control and evaluation of hazards
  • Where resources and assistance are available

New Training Programs Regulation

It is proposed that the new requirements would be introduced as part of a new training programs regulation to be made under the OHSA. In addition to the new general awareness training program provisions, the proposed new regulation would also include existing provisions currently found inO. Reg. 780/94 (Training Programs). The existing O. Reg. 780/94 would be revoked.

It is the intent of the Ministry that, on a go-forward basis, new training requirements could be added to this new regulation as they are proposed, approved and made.

In addition, the Ministry proposes to make a consequential amendment to O. Reg. 414/05 (Farming Operations) in order to make the requirements apply to farming operations.

Access to Training Records

In addition to your comments and feedback on the regulatory proposal, the Ministry is interested in hearing your suggestions about worker and supervisor access to their training records, for example, when they change employers. We’d appreciate hearing about how your organization deals with access to training records currently, and any other thoughts or creative ideas that you may have on this issue.

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