NEW!! Mandatory Health & Safety Training Requirement

I was researching some health and safety training programs last week for a client, and I called a local firm, Occupational Health and Safety Consultants Inc. (OHSC).  www.ohsconsultants.ca

Deanna, the very pleasant Marketing Manager, asked me if I knew about the new MOL requirement for health and safety training, coming into effect in January 2014.  I replied that I had heard rumours but hadn’t yet seen anything.

I am thankful to Deanna for sharing this information and to OHSC for allowing me to post this on my blog, so that you know, too!  The following information is from OHSC:

Ontario employers will have until January 1, 2014 to ensure that all current workers and supervisors have received new mandatory safety awareness training.

The new requirement of safety awareness training is a sweeping requirement that all Ontario employers must be aware of.  MOL inspectors who visit an employer’s workplace in 2013 may ask whether the employer is making progress towards completing the training.  In 2014, inspectors will want to see proof that the training has been completed.

 WHO NEEDS THE TRAINING?

 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 even extends to office employees and others thought to be in low-safety-risk jobs.

New Employees regulation will also require that any new employees 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.  New employees or supervisors who can prove that they received the safety awareness training at a previous employer will not be required to retake that training.  

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. 

CONSEQUENCES OF MISSING THE DEADLINE: 

 Employers who do not comply with the new training requirements by January 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

-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 by the end of 2013.  OHS legal counsel can assist in determining whether there are gaps

-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.