Ministry of Labour Supervisor Training. It’s the Law!

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A new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) requires that workers and supervisors are provided with basic health and safety awareness training. These training requirements come into force on July 1, 2014.

It is important to remember that compliance with this new set of regulations is unlikely to constitute sufficient due diligence re training obligations, except the most basic.  Of course, failure to comply is unlawful in and of itself and also may be compelling evidence of a lack of commitment to workplace health and safety.

The specific requirements in the regulation for worker training are as follows:

  1. Training on workers’ rights and duties as well as the duties of the employer and supervisors under the OHSA.
  2. Training on the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the OHSA.
  3. Training on the roles of the Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and designated safe workplace associations, medical clinics and training centres.
  4. Training on common hazards in the workplace.
  5. Training on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with respect to information and instruction on controlled products (as provided in Regulation 860).
  6. Training on occupational illness (including latency).

Supervisors are required to complete similar training which includes the following:

  1. Training on workers’ rights and duties as well as the duties of the employer and supervisors under the OHSA.
  2. Training on the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the OHSA.
  3. Training on the roles of the Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and designated safe workplace associations, medical clinics and training centres.
  4. Training on recognizing, assessing and controlling workplace hazards, and evaluating those controls.
  5. Training on sources of information on occupational health and safety.

There are exemptions to this new training requirement. If the worker or supervisor has already completed a training program that included basic health and safety awareness training, then they are exempt, provided that the employee gives the employer proof of the training and the employer can verify that it meets the requirements in the regulation.

Supervisors are exempt from completing the worker training where the supervisor was already performing the work of a supervisor when the regulation comes into force and has received training that meets the requirements of the supervisor training listed above.

The employer must keep a record of the training. Where the employee is exempt, a record must also be kept. The employer must provide a worker or supervisor with proof of their training, or their exemption from training in the case of supervisors, upon request.  The worker or supervisor may request that the employer provide this proof up to 6 months after their employment ends.

This new regulation also includes provisions previously found in Ontario Regulation 780/94 pertaining to certification training for joint health and safety committee members. Ontario Regulation 780/94 has been revoked.

Many employers may already cover basic health and safety awareness training in their current health and safety training programs. However, any health and safety training programs in place should be carefully reviewed in order to ensure compliance. Employers who do not currently have a program in place that provides basic health and safety awareness training, should plan ahead to ensure that the July 1, 2014 deadline is not missed. This is an area where we will likely see the Ministry of Labour enforcing compliance through workplace audits and industry blitzes.

The Ministry of Labour has also launched a system of online learning tools which provide a certificate of completion.  For more information about that resource please visit the Ministry’s website.

If you require assistance to ensure you have the right training in place and records to prove it, please contact us.

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