Source: Workplace Safety North
Toronto, Ontario — November 18, 2013 — Effective July 1, 2014, Ontario employers will have to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The first of its kind in North America, the new regulation mandates basic safety awareness training for all Ontario workers and supervisors â€“ with a specific focus on small business and vulnerable workers.
To help employers comply by July 1, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) is developing record-keeping tools, comparability checklist, and guides. Notable exceptions to the regulation include workers and supervisors who have previously completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that covers the same content, either with their current or former employer, and can provide proof of completion; and supervisors who have completed a basic occupational health and safety training program for supervisors, prior to the regulation coming into force wonâ€™t have to complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program for workers.
Once the regulation takes effect, the employer is responsible for ensuring that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The Ministry has provided a training program suite (workbooks, employer guides, poster, and e-learning modules) to meet these requirements; however, itâ€™s not mandatory, particularly as many employers already have extensive health and safety training programs in place.
All the training products are available at no cost and in multiple formats and languages. The mandatory health and safety workplace poster, the worker and supervisor workbooks and employer guides are currently available in print through ServiceOntario and online through the Ministry of Labour. E-learning modules for workers and supervisors as well as an â€˜on-the-goâ€™ resource for mobile users are expected to be available shortly. By May 2014, worker and supervisor workbooks and e-learning modules will have been revised to a grade 4 comprehension level, and focus on images, graphics, audio, and video with minimal written text.
Many employers already offer training and awareness programs that meet or exceed the MOL mandatory training requirements. An equivalency checklist is being prepared by the ministry to help employers determine if their programs qualify. Either way, employers need to keep records to confirm worker participation in mandatory training or its equivalent.
â€œThere is the provision that if they 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,â€ says John Levesque, with program and product development at Workplace Safety North, and member of the working group that helped develop the new training material.
To view the e-learning modules, and download a poster and training material from the Ministry of Labour, please click here
Paper copies of the poster and training material can be ordered from Service Ontario