It’s here! July 1 deadline for Ontario’s new mandatory health and safety awareness training

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

New assessment and record keeping tools available from Ministry of Labour

Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation - MOL Fact Sheet

On July 1, 2014, George Gritziotis, Ontario Chief Prevention Officer, celebrated two things: Canada’s birthday, and the new law enforcing mandatory health and safety awareness training for workers and supervisors. “This awareness training will lay the foundation for building a strong occupational health and safety culture in the province,” says Gritziotis.

Ontario workplaces just became safer

Two workers consulting on outdoor job siteDesigned especially to help vulnerable young and new workers, recent immigrants, and others often unaware of their basic workplace rights and responsibilities, Ontario Regulation 297/13 means all workplaces in Ontario covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act are responsible for ensuring their workers and supervisors have completed a basic health and safety awareness training program. 

The new awareness program provides workers with basic information about occupational health and safety rights and duties under the law, roles of health and safety representatives and Joint Health and Safety Committee members, as well as common workplace hazards. This program is available free of charge on the Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) website, and anyone can access a variety of free tools, resources, and e-learning modules from the MOL webpage Health and Safety Awareness Training for Workers and Supervisors

New resources from the Ministry of Labour

Web screenshot of MOL website e-learning page

Assessment and record keeping tools for employers have recently been posted and can be saved and downloaded from the Ministry of Labour’s website in the ‘Resources for employers’ section. These tools will assist employers in assessing their training programs, keeping records, and verifying worker and supervisor knowledge of basic workplace health and safety. Be sure to save the form on your computer first before you complete it.

A technical aside: the PDF files can be downloaded and saved in the Internet Explorer web browser, however, Chrome and Firefox use a preview program that doesn’t display the PDFs correctly. A link at the bottom of the resource section explains ‘How to open the PDFs in Chrome and Firefox’ and includes screenshots on how to get these browsers to open the form using Acrobat Reader, by clicking the icon on the top right of the address bar. 

Form links

How to use the MOL resource forms

The Record Keeping Template is a sample that employers or supervisors can use to record basic occupational health and safety (OHS) awareness training and capture any exemptions under the regulation. The Training Program Assessment Tools help companies assess whether their existing OHS training programs meet minimum requirements under the legislation. The Knowledge Check Tools can be used as a way to verify that previous awareness training taken by a worker or supervisor meets the minimum requirements.

Health and safety expert explains training program

“There is the provision that if companies have training of their own or from an HSA [Health and Safety Association], that meets or exceeds the objectives of the MOL programs, they will be in compliance,” says John Levesque, program and product development manager at Workplace Safety North, and a member of the working group that helped develop the training material.

Cover of MOL training booklet

“The awareness training is mandatory in the sense that workers and supervisors will have to participate in either the MOL training or an equivalent version of it – and keep a record of it,” says Levesque. “If a Ministry of Labour inspector walks into a workplace, the employer will have to show some record of their workers and supervisors having taken that training or the equivalent. 

“It’s basically legislative awareness, and the course acquaints workers and supervisors with the Act and the regulations. The free workbook available on the MOL website is a really good information resource on top of being a training manual,” adds Levesque. “I believe the hope is that workers and supervisors will hang on to this booklet, and if they’re ever in doubt about something – they can refer to it.”

What happens after July 1?

After July 1, employers will need to ensure workers complete the training as soon as practicable. For supervisors, the training has to be completed within one week of performing work as a supervisor.

Legislative elements that most directly affect employers

Organizations must ensure that all workers and supervisors receive entry-level workplace health and safety training as specified by the ministry.

The Ministry of Labour indicates that employers must:

  • Ensure that workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon as reasonably possible;
  • Ensure that supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program within one week of working as a supervisor;
  • Maintain a record of the training completed by workers and supervisors; and
  • Provide a worker or supervisor with written proof of completion of the training, if requested by the worker or supervisor (up to six months after ceasing to work for the employer).

What every worker should know

Required coursework for workers

  • Duties and rights of workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Duties of employers and supervisors under the Act, including, for example, the provision that protects workers from reprisals for exercising their health and safety rights.
  • Roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act.
  • Roles of Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and entities designated under section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety.
  • Common workplace hazards.
  • Requirements set out in Regulation 860 - Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with respect to information and instruction on controlled products.
  • Occupational illness, including latency.

Required coursework for supervisors

  • Duties and rights of workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Duties of employers and supervisors under the Act, including, for example, that the employer or supervisor cannot threaten, fire or dismiss workers for exercising their health and safety rights.
  • Roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act.
  • Roles of Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and entities designated under section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety.
  • How to recognize, assess, and control workplace hazards; and to evaluate those controls.
  • Sources of information on occupational health and safety.

All the training products are available at no cost and in multiple formats and languages - click here. 

New legislation designed to help vulnerable workers

Although the majority of employers understand optimum workplace safety is associated with improved productivity, statistics continue to show that new and young workers in Ontario are still four times more likely to be injured on the job during the first month of employment than at any other time. It’s important to note that the term ‘new worker’ applies to workers of all ages, including both young workers aged 14 to 24 years, as well as those aged 25 and older. They all share one thing in common: they’ve been on the job for less than six months, or assigned to a new job. 

A study last year by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) found that there is a persistent higher injury risk for new workers – in particular, males over age 45 – noticeable over a ten-year period, suggesting that workplaces need to do more to ensure new workers get the training and supervision they need. 

For more information, please contact a Workplace Safety North consultant.

Related articles

New mandatory awareness training tools for employers: Includes links to assessments and record keeping pdf forms. Save a copy to your computer before completing each form.

Implementing mandatory health and safety awareness training: Includes online resource links, 
coursework requirements for equivalency comparison, Workplace Safety North courses that meet and exceed the ministry requirements. 

MOL announces mandatory safety training deadline for Ontario employers: Includes information, online resource links, frequently asked questions, MOL contact information, free resource links with URLs

Resources

Mandatory Awareness Training – WSN resource webpage

Health and Safety Awareness Training for Workers and Supervisors – MOL resource webpage: Includes links to information and a variety of free tools, resources, and e-learning modules which take about an hour to complete and include a certificate of completion. 

MOL Fact Sheet - Mandatory Awareness Training

WSN Infosheet - MOL Mandatory Awareness Training

MOL Frequently Asked Questions: New regulatory requirements for mandatory worker and supervisor awareness training

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