I would like to clarify the “rules” surrounding the upcoming Health and Safety training deadline.
Ontario employers as of July 1, 2014 will have to ensure that all current workers and supervisors have received mandatory safety awareness training.
This requirement for safety awareness training is not new; it has been a part of the OHSA since its inception. However, the MOL inspectors who visit an employer’s workplace beginning in July 2014 may ask whether the employees have received, or the employer is making progress towards completing, the training. Now, inspectors will need to see proof that the training has been completed.
WHO NEEDS THE TRAINING?
This training is not the same as Certification training for Health and Safety Committee Reps. Certification training is much more in-depth, and gives the trained person similar powers and authority as an MOL Safety Inspector.
Mandatory for all Workplaces Covered by OHSA regardless of sector, including industrial establishments, construction projects, health care and residential facilities, mines and mining plants, and farming operations. The requirement extends to office employees and others thought to be in low-safety-risk jobs.
New Employees: The regulation will also require that any new employees must receive the worker training as soon as practicable after commencing work duties, and that new supervisors complete the supervisory safety awareness training within the first week of commencing supervisory duties.
PREVIOUS TRAINING MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT:
Although many employers will have already provided safety awareness training to workers and supervisors, if that training did not include all of the above topics and was not “equivalent” to the training program developed by the MOL, then the training will not meet the new legal requirement. (Check the MOL Website for the latest documents)
CONSEQUENCES OF MISSING THE DEADLINE:
Employers who do not comply with the new training requirements by July 1, 2014 could be ordered by an MOL inspector to comply – meaning, they will have to scramble to complete the training in short order – or, in a worst-case scenario, they could be charged and fined.
WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS DO?
Ontario employers should, in the very near future:
-Review existing worker and supervisor training programs and consider whether they contain the content required under the new rules (check the MOL Website for the latest documents)
-If there are training gaps – that is, if your current program is missing content required by the new MOL requirements – the employer must ensure that the gaps are filled as soon as possible.
-Review your existing training documentation: are you able to prove that your employees have received the training that you have already done? Consider how you will document that all employees and supervisors have received the new mandatory training. If the training is not properly documented, or you cannot adequately prove that a person received the training, the MOL could still lay orders or charges.