New health and safety training law March 1, 2016
New training legislation designed to improve the quality and consistency of training for Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) members comes into effect on March 1, 2016, and applies to all Ontario workplaces with 20 or more employees.
The new standards established by the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Chief Prevention Officer contain specific criteria that must be met for the approval of both JHSC certification training programs and training providers. They will replace 1996 training standards. Members certified under the 1996 Standards continue to be certified and will not be subject to additional requirements to maintain their certifications, including refresher training. The 1996 certification standards will remain in effect until February 29, 2016.
“As an approved provider of JHSC certification training, Workplace Safety North has been preparing for the new standard over the last two years,” says John Levesque, Acting Director, Program and Product Development at Workplace Safety North (WSN). “WSN has been consulting with our members about hazards that are specific to them.
“Until the new standard comes into effect, our current training is in compliance with the existing standard,” says Levesque. “I want to make it clear that certification training between now and March 1, 2016 is still valid.
“The result of the new provincial standard is that Ontario workers and employers have more specific health and safety information as it applies to their particular industry, and can access high quality interactive training programs through Ministry of Labour-approved providers,” adds Levesque.
Key changes in 2016 JHSC standards
- Sector-specific hazards addressed: Part Two training must include a review of a minimum of six sector-specific hazards.
- Refresher training to maintain certification: JHSC members granted certification status after March 1, 2016, will require one day of refresher training every three years, which helps members stay current on the latest legislation and training for their sector.
- Learning continuity: Parts one and two of training must be completed within six months of each other; participant-centred learning includes a minimum of five days face-to-face training with an instructor, and class size limited to 25 participants.
Purpose of JHSC
The committee is an advisory body, made up of workers and supervisors, that helps raise awareness of health and safety issues in the workplace. The committee meets regularly, conducts regular workplace inspections, and makes written recommendations to the employer for the improvement of health and safety.
“The internal responsibility system or ‘IRS’ is the foundation of Ontario’s approach to workplace health and safety,” says Levesque, “and it’s built on the principle that workplace parties share responsibility for occupational health and safety according to their ability to influence it. Both employees and employers work together to recognize and control hazards in their workplace to achieve optimum health and safety performance.”
To discuss your training, contact Workplace Safety North at 1-888-730-7821 or 705-474-7233 extension 0. To discuss the requirements of the new standards, contact the Ministry of Labour at 1-800-531-5551.
A Guide for Joint Health and Safety Committees and Representatives in the Workplace - Ontario Ministry of Labour
Upcoming JHSC training - Workplace Safety North