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Prevention Council Meeting: December 11, 2013

  • Issued: December 2013
  • Content last reviewed: March 2014

Prevention council members present:

  • Bryan Neath, United Food & Commercial Workers of Canada
  • Colin Grieve, Ontario Professional Firefighters Association
  • Graeme Norval, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • Linda Vannucci, Health & Safety Legal Clinic
  • Mike Oxley, DuPont Canada Company
  • Nancy Hutchison, Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Patrick Dillon, Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario
  • Roy Slack, Cementation Canada
  • Susanna Zagar, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board

Other:

  • George Gritziotis, Ministry of Labour
  • John VanderDoelen, Ministry of Labour
  • Brian Lewis, Ministry of Labour
  • Cordelia Clarke Julien, Ministry of Labour
  • Ayumi Bailly, Ministry of Labour
  • Ana Matos Clark, Ministry of Labour
  • Ameer Subhan, Ministry of Labour
  • Melissa Kittmer, Ministry of Labour
  • Bridget Lynett, Ministry of Labour
  • Carol Sackville-Duyvelshoff, Ministry of Labour
  • Len Marino, Ministry of Labour
  • Tom Zach, Ministry of Labour

1. Opening remarks

The new member of Prevention Council, Dawn Tattle, was welcomed to the Council.

2. Meeting notes

The September 11, 2013 meeting notes were approved.

3. Review of recent OHS data – for information and discussion

The Prevention Office provided Members with a report regarding trends in occupational health and safety (OHS). There was a general decline in the rates of injuries being reported to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Members took the opportunity to inquire further regarding the data reported. Data items raised included: the period of time off work following a workplace injury in order to classify a Lost Time Injury; accounting for occupational disease fatalities; ability to view the recent OHS data by sector; additional details about orders issued; as well as WSIB data on lost days and a discussion on classifying this data by categories and injuries. Members suggested that information on orders issued could help direct future OHS blitzes and provide additional insight on effectiveness of the ministry’s awareness training programs.

4. Sharing information with prevention council

The members of the PC had previously requested that the Ministry inform them when a workplace fatality occurs.

The Ministry agreed to provide Members notification of a workplace fatality. The PC agreed to maintain confidentiality of the information provided.

Action Item: Ministry to begin immediately informing PC Members when a workplace fatality occurs.

5. Strategy and integration update

The Prevention Office provided an update on the Annual Report and the Integrated Occupational Health and Safety Strategy (IOHSS), including proposed timelines for their release. Members noted interest in reviewing the Annual Report before it is finalized. Discussions also took place regarding content of the Annual Report, including current and future steps in the OHS system and how Expert Advisory Panel Recommendations are being met.

Action Item: Prevention Office to share the Annual Report with Council Members for review prior to finalizing the Report. 

In addition, Council Members were briefed about the Integrated Falls from Heights Action Plan. Members took the opportunity to discuss worker demographics related to falls from heights fatalities. Members expressed interest in classification of fatality falls data by characteristics of employer and details of personal protective equipment. The Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) invited Council Members to share additional ideas about falls prevention with the Prevention Office. Various ideas for raising awareness regarding falls from heights aimed at roofing businesses and homeowners were discussed.

6. Safe At Work Ontario (SAWO) consultation update

Members were briefed on the upcoming SAWO consultations for 2014/15, including an overview of the proposal to for MOL to partner with the Health and Safety Associations (HSAs) in providing joint presentations and facilitating discussions with stakeholders. This approach is consistent with the integrated OHS strategy priority on enhanced integrated service delivery and collaborative partnerships.

Members discussed concerns regarding the potential perceived role of HSAs in enforcement. The Director, Occupational Health and Safety Branch, MOL, clarified that HSAs and MOL would be presenting and raising awareness of integrated approaches to occupational health and safety, and prevention activities.

Members discussed strategies to assist SAWO consultations in extending reach to a wider audience.

7. Occupational Health and Safety Research

Members were provided with an update on the ministry’s Research Opportunities Program. A general discussion took place around the Occupational Health and Safety Research Advisory Panel.

8. Training and Safety Programs

The Director, Training and Safety Programs Branch, MOL, provided Members with an update on the activities of the branch, including updates on the Working at Heights (WAH), Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certified Member, and Mandatory Entry Level Construction (MELC) training standards.

Members were informed that the announcement of the WAH training standard would take place by mid-December 2013, and were informed that the public release of the JHSC training standard will take place in the new year.

Members were also informed about upcoming WAH training provider standard consultations in early 2014.

Members discussed the structure and representation of the MELC Development Group. The CPO invited Council Members to submit nominations for membership on the Development Group, noting that the Development Group is also seeking representation from the Civil Construction sector.

Action Item: Prevention Office to redistribute MELC Outreach document to PC Members.

Members were also provided with an update on the OHS Awareness Training roll out. The Director, Training and Safety Programs Branch, MOL, responded to a question regarding the required use of OHS Awareness Training materials, and explained that it is not a requirement to use the ministry’s materials; however, they are free and available to assist in compliance. Members were invited to share the OHS Awareness information and free materials with their networks. Members were updated that tools for employers to support OHS Awareness Training (e.g. comparability tool, guide to the regulation) are being developed and will be consulted on in the new year.

9. Designation standards

The CPO provided an overview of the proposed new designation standards, in particular: how they would be applied to the HSAs and the key changes being proposed along with a rationale for each proposed change.

The CPO explained that the need for new standards was prompted by the transfer of responsibility for oversight of the HSAs from the WSIB to the ministry. The proposed new designation standards will reflect the new environment HSAs are operating in, including government legislation and expectations on oversight and accountability, and place greater emphasis on support for a provincial occupational health and safety strategy.

Members took the opportunity to discuss potential issues related to the proposed new standards in respect to governance, aligning HSA operational plans with the provincial occupational health and safety strategy and executive compensation. Upon conclusion of the discussion, the CPO relayed next steps to the Council Members.

10. CPO outreach campaign

PC Members were provided with an overview of proposed CPO outreach initiatives. Outreach activities include responding and making statements resulting from injury and fatality trends, raising public awareness of imminent hazards (e.g., hazard alerts), as well as messaging prevention measures through integrated planning with the system partners.

Members discussed the roles and powers of the CPO in comparison with other government officials (e.g., Chief Medical Officer) and that learnings from these officials may help design the outreach campaign.

11. Stakeholder engagement strategy development and small business and vulnerable worker task group update

The Director, Stakeholder and Partner Relations Branch, MOL, presented members with an overview of the development of the ministry-wide Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, as well as an overview of the status and activities of the Small Business and Vulnerable Worker Task Groups.

12. Other business

The CPO advised Council Members that the ministry will be undertaking a review of mining safety in the province.

Council Members requested to be informed in advance of Ministry legislative announcements going forward.

Council Member Bryan Neath advised Members that he is retiring in the new year and that he will accordingly be sending a letter of resignation. He thanked PC Members and MOL staff for the work that has been contributed to enhancing worker safety and wished them well in their future work.

Action Item: Prevention Office to undertake to advise Council Members regarding legislative announcements at the Ministry of Labour in a timely manner in future.