A new regulation under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates basic safety awareness training for all Ontario workers and supervisors – with a specific focus on small business and vulnerable workers.
Effective July 1, 2014, Ontario employers will be required to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. This mandatory training must be completed by July 1, 2014.
The basic occupational health and safety awareness training program for workers must include instruction on the following:
- The duties and rights of workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”).
- The duties of employers and supervisors under the Act.
- The roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act.
- The roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and entities designated under section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety.
- Common workplace hazards.
- The 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.
There are some exceptions to this general obligation.
The Ministry of Labour (MOL) has created a training program suite to help employers meet these new health and safety obligations. All of the MOL training products are available at no cost and in multiple formats and languages on their website.
Some employers already offer training and awareness programs that meet or exceed the new MOL mandatory training requirements. An equivalency checklist is being prepared by the MOL to help employers determine if their programs meet the new statutory requirements, however, as of now, it has not been released. Either way, as of July 1, 2014 employers need to keep records to confirm worker participation in mandatory health and training.
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