Print this page

Background and Questions:
Voluntary Occupational Health and Safety Management System Accreditation and Employer Recognition Program for Ontario Workplaces

Summary

Many workplaces around the world have begun using internationally recognized standards for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) in order to drive continual improvement of health and safety in their organizations.  These standards have been used by workplaces for a number of decades, and research has shown that when implemented effectively, more workers go home safe and healthy each and every day.

The Ministry of Labour (“ministry”) is consulting on a proposed Occupational Health and Safety Management System Accreditation Standard and additional criteria for employer recognition that could form the basis of a voluntary program to encourage the use of these systems.

As defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), a health and safety management system “means a coordinated system of procedures, processes and other measures that is designed to be implemented by employers in order to promote continuous improvement in occupational health and safety”. For the purposes of this consultation, health and safety management systems will be referred to as occupational health and safety management systems, or OHSMS.

The aim of this initiative is to provide a framework to recognize employers who successfully implement a Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) accredited OHSMS in their Ontario workplace(s). In addition, this initiative will work in partnership with other existing or future programs in the health and safety system to form a continuum from awareness to excellence. The intention of this program is to advance safe, fair and harmonious workplace occupational health and safety practices that are essential to the social and economic well-being of the people of Ontario.

Workplaces that have effectively implemented OHSMS generally report improved safety environments, increased hazard reporting by employees, increased organizational interest in occupational health and safety, reduced rates of lost time injuries, and a decrease in workers’ compensation premiums. Benefits to the organization managing health and safety performance often include, but are not limited to:

  • Reduced worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses
  • Improved business opportunities through improved reputation
  • Increased workforce morale and employee retention
  • Increased participation in occupational health and safety at all levels of the organization

Development of a voluntary occupational health and safety management system accreditation and employer recognition program

The recent amendments to the OHSA provide the CPO with the authority to establish a voluntary OHSMS accreditation and employer recognition program. The program consists of the following two elements:

  1. CPO OHSMS Accreditation:
    • The CPO establishes voluntary standards which includes elements that a OHSMS must meet to receive CPO Accreditation;
    • CPO evaluates OHSMS against the CPO standard;
    • The CPO accredits OHSMS that meet the CPO’s standard; and
    • Names of CPO accredited OHSMS are published on the ministry’s website.
  2. CPO Employer Recognition:
    • CPO establishes employer recognition criteria (e.g., verification of OHSMS certification, compliance history, etc.);
    • Employer selects and successfully implements a CPO-accredited OHSMS;
    • Employer applies for CPO recognition;
    • Employer assessed against employer recognition criteria;
    • CPO recognizes employers who meet the CPO criteria; and
    • CPO recognized employers are published on the ministry website.

The development of an employer recognition criteria document, which would include the additional criteria required by the CPO to recognize employers, will be informed by the results of this consultation.

An employer seeking CPO recognition will be required to demonstrate that they have successfully implemented a CPO accredited OHSMS. This proof of successful implementation of an OHSMS may include verification of third-party audit of the system implemented by the employer.

The ministry is seeking feedback on the proposed elements in the draft accreditation standard and your views on a voluntary OHSMS Accreditation and Employer Recognition Program, including potential benefits for employers who are recognized by the CPO.

The ministry would appreciate your comments by Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Please see the “How to Participate” section at the end of this document for information on how to submit your comments to the ministry.

Return to top

Background

The proposed voluntary occupational health and safety management system accreditation and employer recognition program seeks to recognize employers who implement effective occupational health and safety management systems in their Ontario workplaces, and promote a positive health and safety culture through a systemic approach to occupational health and safety.

Like other workplace management systems, an occupational health and safety management system utilises a “plan – do – check – act” cycle to implement, promote, monitor, and continuously improve all aspects of the health and safety performance of a workplace.

Details of the draft voluntary occupational health and safety management system accreditation standard

The proposed draft voluntary standard sets out the elements an OHSMS would need to meet to be considered for CPO Accreditation.

The elements in the draft voluntary standard are commonly found in existing occupational health and safety management systems. Each of these elements would be required to be implemented in consultation with workers or worker representatives.

Considerations to guide the development of CPO employer recognition criteria

In addition to the voluntary accreditation standard, CPO employer recognition criteria would be published in a separate document, the contents of which will be informed by feedback received from this consultation. Employers seeking CPO recognition would be required to meet these criteria.

The ministry is seeking feedback on potential employer recognition criteria; examples for consideration are included below:

  • Regular, third party verification of an employer’s CPO Accredited OHSMS. These audit requirements could include:
    • Requirements for impartial auditor (i.e. no conflicts of interests)
    • Auditor competencies
    • Ongoing verification of conformity to the standard
    • Verification of worker involvement (e.g. worker interviews)
  • Acceptable workplace health and safety history and compliance with workplace legislation, which may include, for example:
    • No at fault fatalities
    • No repeated orders for the same or similar contraventions of the OHSA
    • No repeated orders related to joint health and safety committees (JHSC), health and safety representative (HSR) or other worker representatives
  • Proof of registration and good standing with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) (as applicable).
  • Worker involvement in the implementation of the OHSMS.

In response to feedback received in consultations with labour, employer and subject matter experts, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has developed the following guiding principles that will inform the future development of a voluntary occupational health and safety management system accreditation and employer recognition program in Ontario.

The MOL guiding principles include common elements shared by all stakeholders.

Guiding principles

  1. Participation in the program will be voluntary, and be applicable to all stakeholders regardless of size or sector.
  2. The program will seek to integrate with existing or future programs in the continuum of Ontario’s health and safety system approaches.
  3. All program elements will exemplify excellence in occupational health and safety.
  4. It is recognized that there are a variety of national and international occupational health and safety management systems used in the workplace and the program is open to accrediting more than one system.
  5. Participants in the program will demonstrate leadership, accountability, and commitment to occupational health and safety.
  6. Worker participation will be a critical element of the program.
  7. The program will seek to include appropriate benefits for participants in the program who achieve excellence in occupational health and safety.
  8. Implementation of all program elements must be demonstrable in action, and participants must strive for continuous improvement.
  9. The MOL will ensure oversight to maintain the integrity of the program.
  10. The powers of MOL inspectors will remain unchanged.

Return to top

Consultation questions

Topic 1: Elements of the voluntary Occupational Health and Safety Management System Accreditation Standard

For additional details, please see the associated draft standard.

  1. Are there any additional elements would you like to see included in the draft standard?
  2. Are there any elements would you like to see removed from the draft standard?
  3. Does the draft standard provide sufficient flexibility for the development and implementation of OHSMS at workplaces of all sizes and for all business sectors?
    1. If not, how could the draft standard be amended to allow for implementation at workplaces of all sizes and business sectors

Topic 2: General questions related to a voluntary OHSMS accreditation and employer recognition program

  1. Has your organization implemented an OHSMS?
    1. If yes, which standard or system?
  2. If you are an employer that has implemented an OHSMS, is your workplace(s) certified as conforming to an OHSMS by a certifying or governing body?
    1. If yes, by whom?
    2. If no, who has certified the implementation of your OHSMS?
    3. What was the process you had to undergo to become certified?
  3. If you do not have a system, what barriers do you anticipate for establishing and implementing an OHSMS in your organization?
    1. What kind of support would you find valuable to help your organization implement an OHSMS?
    2. Could current health and safety programs be leveraged in the implementation of an OHSMS?
      1. If so, how?
  4. In addition to OHSMS certification, what criteria do you think employers should be required to meet to receive CPO employer recognition?
  5. What do you think successful implementation of a CPO accredited OHSMS should look like?
    1. How should it be verified?
  6. What do you think should cause the revocation of a CPO employer recognition status?
  7. What do you think should be included in an ongoing quality assurance or audit process?
    1. For CPO OHSMS Accreditation?
    2. For employers who have CPO Recognition?
  8. What financial and non-financial incentives should be considered?
    1. If financial incentives are proposed how you would see this aligning to the WSIB’s rate framework?
  9. In which sector would you classify your organization (e.g. retail, construction, manufacturing, etc.)?
  10. Do you have health and safety requirements or policies for contractors/subcontractors who work at your workplace(s)?
    1. If yes, what are the requirements?

Return to top

How to participate

You may provide your comments by:

Email: preventionfeedback@ontario.ca

Fax: 416-325-6501

Mail:

Ministry of Labour
Occupational Health and Safety Management System and Employer Recognition Program
10 Dundas St E, 8th floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B2

Please submit your comments by Wednesday, December 20, 2017, and indicate whether you are an employer, labour representative, worker or other.

Notice to consultation participants

Submissions provided to the Ministry of Labour ("ministry") in the context of this consultation are intended to facilitate the ministry’s development of framework for a voluntary health and safety management system accreditation and employer recognition program. This process may involve the ministry publishing your submissions or summaries of submissions (in hard copy and on the internet). In addition, the ministry may disclose your submissions to third parties as part of the consultation process or where required by law.

If you identify yourself or other individuals in the body of the submission, this identifying information may be published or otherwise disclosed to the public. Any name and contact information provided outside of the body of the submission will not be disclosed by the ministry unless required by law. Any individual who provides a submission and indicates an affiliation with an organization will be considered a representative of that organization and his or her name and other identifying information may be published or otherwise disclosed.

Personal information collected during this consultation is under the authority of Sections 7.6.1 and 7.6.2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and is in compliance with Section 38(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

If you have any questions regarding privacy matters, you may contact the ministry’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Office at 416-326-7786.