You will see from some of our previous blogs that major changes are afoot on the subject of health and safety in Ontario. As of April 1, 2012 prevention responsibilities were transferred from the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour. You may be asking yourself – so what’s the difference?
All of this arose from the Expert Advisory Panel (Dean Report) of December 2010 and it represents a whole new focus on all aspects of safety and safety training in the province of Ontario.
The most recent announcement is that effective April 1, 2012 the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) now has the authority to establish the training requirements that a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) member must meet and to certify a member who meets these requirements. They have also announced that anyone already certified by the WSIB prior to that date are considered certified by the CPO – in other words they are grandfathered.
Behind the scenes the MOL has been reviewing the certification process and we anticipate that a new set of standards for certification will follow. At the present time the standards in use are those written and approved from the WSIB in 1996 and amended in 2007.
Meanwhile here at OSG we continue to be a CPO-approved JHSC training program provider having trained over 20,000 people in total and 900 people so far in 2012. To prepare ourselves for potential changes to Part I JHSC Training we are currently updating our course content to ensure it incorporates current changes and amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act as a result of Bill 160.
The Headline reads: “Man fined, placed on probation for falsely issuing certificates”.
This is from an article in yesterday’s Kingston Whig Standard about a local man who was found to have been issuing workplace safety training certificates without providing the training and without having the accreditation he professed. He was fined $610 and placed on probation for two years. To read more on the article, click here: www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3478697
This Blog is in 2 parts:
Part 1 – Credibility of the Training Certificate
Part 2 – The Real Problem: Credibility of the Training Provider
PART 1 – Credibility of the Training Certificate
OK so he did wrong and has been punished, but the real question is, what about the employers and the employees he cheated?
There are hundreds of individuals and small businesses offering safety training services in just about every town and city in Ontario. Some, if not most are safety professionals and do provide the training required. But is that enough? If the Ministry of Labour (MOL) calls, the employer had better be able to substantiate that they have diligently provided whatever training is required and can prove it.
When the MOL decides to inspect a business either as a result of an accident or from a random visit they will certainly ask to see the training records. They will often then check your records against those of the company that provided the training. Do not expect them to take your word for it!
Let me give you an example:
- There was an accident involving a conveyor belt at a food-processing facility. The inspector decided to check into the training records for the forklift drivers who were working in the vicinity, but who had nothing to do with the accident. He checked the certificates of the individual drivers and matched them with the records of the employer. He then required them to be verified against OSG’s computer because we had trained those drivers. Finally he asked OSG to produce the class sign-in sheets from the actual courses attended to finally confirm that each driver had in fact been trained.
At OSG we pride ourselves with our recordkeeping. When you attend an OSG class you are required to sign in, or in multiple day courses, like the Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification you will sign in each day. That sheet containing all the attendees signatures is then sent back to OSG and your name, date and course details are entered into our database. This allows us to track every attendee for all the classes we hold, wherever and whenever we hold it. The class sign in sheets are then filed and retained for the 151,000 course trainees we have trained since 1997– we say we keep them for 7 years but in reality we have never thrown any away.
Employers should make sure that they deal only with reputable suppliers such as OSG, who have both the respect of the MOL and have the capability to prove who, when and what we trained. Most business ‘trained’ by the man in the article, and all the others like him, will likely have to do it all over again.
PART 2 – The Real Problem: Credibility of the Training PROVIDER
Submitted by Mark
Only a few health and safety courses that training providers conduct in Ontario are required to be approved by a regulatory body in Ontario. These are Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification (JHSC) – Part 1 and First Aid Training (both by the WSIB).
OSG has encouraged the requirement for approval of training programs for many years, via discussion with the WSIB, the MOL and the province of Ontario. Although many of our instructors and indeed those of other training companies in Canada have the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC), or other H&S diploma, degree or certificate, there is really no approval process for the training company itself or the actual content that is used to train your employees.
Creating a safety training course
Let’s take the example of our course, the Safe Operation of a Lift Truck. In the absence of an approved course structure for a course, we use our Subject Matter Experts to build our course content around the structure of the CSA Standard (B335-04 (R2011) for Lift Trucks and incorporate the Ministry of Labour’s Guideline for the Safe Operation and Maintenance of Powered Lift Trucks along with any other standards and/or guidelines and regulations that our research reveals including a look at OSHA in the US. We then subject the course to extensive peer reviews and practice it before expert audiences to make sure it flows well and is complete and accurate.
At the end of this expensive and time-consuming process we feel we have created the best course available on the market. But who is to say? Then we compete on price in the market with others who have not done such due diligence, or incurred such costs in their course creation.
What is Effective Training?
Effective training is not about having the instructor talking about their amazing life experiences and relaying some information about how to drive a lift truckIt is not about making participants memorize all the different ways that the law says that you have to be certified to drive a lift truck. Driving a forklift safely is fundamentally the same in a warehouse in Ontario as it is in a warehouse in Alberta; it is just that the words they use to say that you have to be trained are written slightly differently in each province’s health and safety Act.
Effective training is about understanding your audience and relating accurate and complete information in the course in an engaging and interactive way so that the information sticks.
Employers and their employees attending safety training have made a considerable commitment in time, money and effort and need to go back to work empowered with the knowledge and ability to drive that lift truck safely tomorrow. They need to learn through practical examples about the hazards that they will face in their particular workplace and learn the skills so that they can operate a lift truck productively without being a liability to their colleagues, themselves, their company’s product or facilities.
This should be the case for all health and safety courses on the market.
A new regulatory body governing Training Providers
This is under discussion in Ontario. We feel that having a regulatory body, likely under the new Chief Prevention Officer – George Gritziotis’ control, that governs who is allowed to train your employees is a positive concept for the safety of all workers and employers in Ontario and could be a template that can be used across Canada.
The practical implication of governing all the content from all of the different safety training courses is a large one; however with a system in place (like what the WSIB has in place for JHSC Part 1 providers) provides credibility, consistency and ensures situations like the “False Certificates” being issued is mitigated.
In my opinion, the cost for this approval process should be entirely absorbed by the training provider, not by the employer or employee or taxpayer and we are happy to pay that cost. We are happy to be involved in assisting that regulatory body to make Ontario a safer place for everyone to work.
Health & Safety Committee Training in BC, Alberta and Manitoba
OSG is holding classes on this in Winnipeg, Calgary and British Columbia in April 2012. Why, you might ask?
Well, last year some customers asked us to do it for their branches in BC, AB and MN. We did the classes and got an outstanding reaction from the attendees and their employers. So we decided to do it again, this time with a little more publicity.
You might also question why an Ontario-based business presumes that it can teach anything to western Canadian businesses?
A bit cheeky you might say!
What makes OSG think that we have anything to offer?
Recently we did an analysis across all the provinces and territories and found that although most of them talk about, even require the formation of Health and Safety Committees, only Ontario requires them to be in operation for businesses with more than 5 employees. Not only that but Ontario requires that certain individual members of the committee have to be trained and ‘certified’ – which includes passing a written test set by their Workers Compensation Board, called the WSIB.
In the US OSHA does not require a functioning H&S committee but encourages their use to improve safety. It does not specify what training anyone should have to serve on the committee. As an interesting aside we also found out that OSHA has no equivalent to our Internal Responsibility System (IRS). The result is that US H&S legislation and regulations are framed very differently to what we have in Canada. To an American the term IRS means something quite different!
As a company OSG has trained over 7,000 students who have passed the WSIB test and gone on to become ‘Certified Members’ of their employers Health & Safety Committee. We feel that we know what we are doing and can train candidates on best demonstrated practices so that graduates are able to operate effective and efficient safety committees.
The Agenda includes:
- The Internal Responsibility System (IRS)
- OHS Act and Due Diligence for your province
- Joint Health & Safety Committee Training
- Recognizing, Assessing and Controlling Hazards
- Workplace Inspections
- Accident Investigations
Dates for these classes are:
- Vancouver – April 16, 2012
- Calgary – April 17, 2012
- Winnipeg – April 18, 2012