The Ontario Ministry of Labour has proposed several amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that, if approved, would require all employers in the construction industry to ensure that all workers complete a mandatory construction hazard awareness training program.
Specifically, the amendments would change the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13) and they would apply to all employers and workers who engage in work to which the Construction Projects Regulation (O. Reg. 213/91) applies.
Employers would have two possible ways to meet this requirement. One way would be to ensure that all workers successfully complete an approved training program that will be developed by the Ministry’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). The other way would involve completion of a similar training program developed by the employer, in consultation with the joint health and safety committee (JHSC), based on the learning outcomes set out in the regulation. Of course, the second approach would only be available to those employers who are required to have a JHSC.
These proposed amendments are in support of the Ministry’s Construction Health and Safety Action Plan, which is being implemented to reduce injuries at construction projects throughout the province. The hope is that the increased training will improve worker awareness of the most common hazards at construction sites and gain greater insight as to how they may be controlled or eliminated.
Included with the proposed amendments is a two-year transition period, which should give employers ample time to ensure that existing workers have completed the training before the proposed amendments come into force.
The Ministry will be seeking public and stakeholder feedback on these proposed amendments from now until Friday, August 12, 2016. Submissions received during the consultation period will be considered in the final preparation of the proposed amendments and the final training program and provider standards.