In November 2013, Ontario enacted a new regulation requiring health and safety awareness training for all workers and supervisors covered by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Employers must provide health and safety awareness training to their workers and supervisors by July 1, 2014.
The training for workers and supervisors is similar, but not identical. Both workers and supervisors must receive instruction in: (1) the duties and rights of workers; (2) the duties of employers and supervisors; (3) the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees; and (4) the roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and entities designated under section 22.5 of OHSA.
Workers must also be trained on: common workplace hazards; the information and instruction on controlled products in Regulation 80 (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System); and occupational illness, including latency.
Supervisors must also be trained on: how to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards, and evaluate those controls; and sources of information on occupational health and safety.
Workers and supervisors who have been previously trained, either by the employer, or a previous employer, do not need to be retrained if the prior training meets the requirements discussed above. Additionally, supervisors who receive the supervisor training before July 1, 2014 do not need to complete the worker training in addition to the supervisor training.
Employers must maintain records of the health and safety awareness training provided to all workers and supervisors. If the employer exempts any workers or supervisors from the training requirements under section 3, the employer must maintain a record of those workers or supervisors.
To simplify training requirements, supervisors should be provided with the training prior to July 1, 2014 so that they need not undergo the training for workers as well. Employers should ensure that all training is documented to ensure that all workers have been properly trained.
Red-on-line EHS Legal Counsel
Ontario Regulation 297/13, Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training
Kyle Lambert and George Waggott, Ontario’s Mandatory Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training – Be Prepared for July 1, 2014, McMIllan Employment and Labour Bulletin April 2014
Ontario Ministry of Labour, A Guide to OHSA Requirements for Basic Awareness Training, April 2014