On July 1, 2014, the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation will come into effect, requiring that all Ontario employers ensure their employees complete mandatory safety awareness training.
Paula Lombardi, Amanda Shaw and Anna Stoll discuss what this means for employers.
On July 1, 2014, the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation1 will come into effect, requiring that all Ontario employers ensure their employees complete mandatory safety awareness training.
What does this mean for employers? In addition to existing training requirements, employers will now also be responsible for:
- Ensuring that their workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon as reasonably possible / practicable;
- Providing supervisors complete occupational health and safety training within one week of working as a supervisor;
- Maintaining a record confirming that their employees completed training; and
- Providing workers or supervisors with written proof of training completion upon termination (provided it is requested within six months of ceasing to work for employer).
The Act sets out different obligations for workers and supervisors and as a result two safety awareness training modules will be required: one for workers and another for supervisors.
While the general topics of training are similar – employee and employer rights and obligations; the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees; common workplace hazards; WHMIS information and occupational illnesses – the level of understanding required by employees and supervisors differ. For example, workers are instructed on common workplace hazards, while supervisors must understand how to identify, assess and manage these hazards.
To assist employers in categorizing their employees to meet the new regulatory requirements, the Ministry of Labour has created both print and online training resources. Workbooks can be printed or ordered through Publications Ontario. Also, electronic training tools are available online at the following links:
Employers are not required to use the Ministry resources provided the training meets the regulatory requirements.
Important next steps:
- Employers should review their health and safety training to determine whether or not it meets the new regulatory requirements; and
- Employers need to classify their employees to ensure that the appropriate training is provided.
If an employer’s current training requirements meets the new regulatory requirements and have written proof that training was completed retraining may not be required. For further information, please review Siskinds’ Labour and Employment blog or contact a member of our labour and employment group.