It's happening again. Or still. A business receives a phone call or visit from someone checking on a compliance matter. The person may be friendly or aggressive, but either way, the business is left to believe it may be falling short on its legal obligations. And guess who has the solution?
To protect your business from misleading or aggressive sales tactics, Jennifer MacFarlane, a key account manager for WSPS, offers five tips on how to ensure you're always in compliance. "Proactively managing compliance offers a distinct business advantage," says MacFarlane. "It protects your people from injuries, and your business from disruption and liability."
But first, read about one WSPS customer's experience.
Jaclyn Douglas, owner of Cup of Tea Bakery in Whitby, ON, received a call from someone who asked to speak with the person in charge of health and safety. "Then he asked about the status of our WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) training, and whether I knew there was an annual training requirement. He seemed to be testing my knowledge of government requirements. He didn’t specifically say he was with the Ministry of Labour, but I had the impression that somehow I had done something wrong and hit the ministry's radar. As the call progressed, I realized the person was a telemarketer and felt that I had been played." Douglas promptly ended the call.
As MacFarlane explains, the WHMIS regulation does NOT require workplaces to conduct annual training. Instead, it requires workplaces to review their WHMIS program annually and provide training if testing reveals gaps in knowledge or when the business introduces a new hazardous material. The difference is subtle but significant.
Other common misrepresentations involve:
forklift training claiming to meet license requirements that do not exist,
basic certification training delivered by companies that are not government-approved providers. For names of approved providers, see this list of Ministry of Labour-approved basic certification training providers,
"official" for-fee posters claiming to satisfy posting requirements under Ontario's Employment Standards Act or Occupational Health and Safety Act. Buying posters from a supplier may be convenient, but they're often available at no cost from government websites.
It's important to note that many service providers, including WSPS, provide reputable, trustworthy training and consulting services on WHMIS, emergency preparedness, forklifts, and other topics. Not, however, by using misleading or strong arm sales tactics, or charging hidden fees.
Turning compliance into a business advantage
All of these questionable practices play on a common fear of failing to meet legislated requirements. "Non-compliance can be costly and damaging," says MacFarlane. "This makes effective management of legislative compliance an organizational imperative. It will not only mitigate organizational risk but help the business grow."
5 tips for staying in compliance
Regardless of size, every business can benefit from a proactive system for ensuring legislative compliance. Here's what MacFarlane suggests.
Identify health and safety legislation that applies to your business.
Compare the compliance requirements with what you have in place.
Create an implementation plan to fill any compliance gaps you identify.
Implement a process for staying up to date with changing requirements.
Use only trusted and reliable service providers.
How WSPS can help
If you have questions about specific compliance requirements and are looking for unbiased, objective information, call WSPS Customer Care at 1-877 494 WSPS (9777), or visit our online resource section. It contains accurate, up-to-date information on key legislative requirements, as well as complimentary downloads on a wide range of topics and hazards.
WSPS consultants, including technical specialists in ergonomics, machine safety, material handling, robotic systems, and occupational hygiene, are on hand to help you conduct gap analyses, hazard assessments, and implement a compliance program.
If you're a small business, check out our Small Business Centre. Every year, we help thousands of small businesses put tools, training and practices in place for workplace safety.