Fall/winter 2012 promises to be busy for the Prevention Office. Since my last update we have been moving forward on a number of fronts.
The three branches that make up Prevention Office are responsible for the following major functions:
Strategy and Integration Branch will:
Training and Safety Programs Branch will:
Stakeholder and Partner Relations Branch will:
The Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) continue to work together on a number of fronts, including the migration of Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certification Training Program administration responsibilities to the Prevention Office and a review of prevention-based programs throughout 2013 (e.g. non-incentive or incentive).
During this past spring and summer, two awareness products were prepared and posted on the ministry web-site for public consultation - the “Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps Workbook and Employer Guide” and the “Supervisor Awareness in 5 Steps Workbook and Employer Guide.”
The worker materials have been piloted and are now being edited based on the feedback we received from stakeholders. The final version is expected to be released late fall/early winter. The supervisor materials will be piloted in the coming months with final release expected in early 2013. The feedback from our pilot participants on both products has been positive.
In addition to these awareness products, our third product, the "Health and Safety at Work -- Prevention Starts Here” poster became mandatory on October 1st. The poster, highlighting worker and employer rights and responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace, is available in English, French and 15 other languages. The poster must be displayed in English and the majority language of the workplace.
The Prevention Council held its first meeting September 28th. Council members agreed to focus on providing strategic level advice to best realize the key recommendations in the report from the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. These include, but are not limited to, vulnerable workers, supports for small business, the underground economy and “high hazard" sectors. Initial discussions focused on reaching out to these and other mainstream sectors of the economy. The overall goal is to move beyond existing relationships to develop new networks within these communities.
Work is to begin soon with the Prevention Council on the development of an integrated occupational health and safety strategy for Ontario workplaces. You can expect an announcement in the coming months.
We are also developing a Stakeholder Engagement Plan with the objective of expanding existing relationships, developing a broader partnership base, and building a stronger network of interconnected relationships. The three key themes of the plan will be: enhanced assistance to vulnerable workers, improved penetration with small business and an integrated service delivery model encompassing the entire OH&S system. Stakeholders will be widely consulted on this initiative.
Work is also nearing completion on fulfilling Expert Panel Report recommendations 29 and 36 with the creation of consultation task groups to provide advice to address matters related to the occupational health and safety of vulnerable workers and to represent the needs and interests of employers and workers in small businesses. You can expect an announcement in the near future.
I hope you have found this update outlining some details of our more significant activities of the past few months useful. I will be making more regular updates to you as the Prevention Office continues to take shape in the weeks and months ahead in order to keep you apprised of our progress on achieving our mandate of making Ontario’s workplaces safer.
Chief Prevention Officer
Ministry of Labour