Prevention System Updates

Mandatory awareness training: tools available to help assess compliance

Release Date:  Jun 06, 2014

Not sure if your current health and safety training meets the Ministry of Labour's new mandatory training requirements, which take effect July 1? These tools will help you

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) key account manager Connie Costa answers FAQs put to her and other WSPS experts by people who attended our recent national Partners in Prevention conference and trade show.

What's the point of the mandatory awareness training?

The point is to ensure workers and supervisors know their basic rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act so that they can identify health and safety problems and help develop solutions. The more knowledgeable workers and supervisors are, the better able they are to protect themselves, their co-workers, and your business.

What is the training supposed to cover?

According to the regulation, workers and supervisors must receive training on

  • their rights and responsibilities
  • roles of workplace parties, health and safety representatives, and joint health and safety committees
  • roles of the Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and health and safety partners such as WSPS.

Workers must also receive training on

  • hazard recognition
  • their right to be informed of hazards
  • an employer's obligations to provide information and instruction to workers about controlled products as required under Regulation 860 (WHMIS) of the act
  • latency and illness related to occupational disease.

Is this a new training requirement?

The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13) is new. However, it does NOT impose new obligations. That's why many workplaces now meeting their obligations under the act may already be compliant with the regulation.

Are office staff, managers and senior executives expected to complete awareness training? If so, which training? For workers or for supervisors?

The requirement to complete worker awareness training applies to anyone employed by a company that falls under the act, so in this sense everyone must complete the training unless they are a supervisor.

The requirement to complete supervisor awareness training applies to anyone who has direct responsibility for workers and/or for managing a process is considered a supervisor. This includes lead hands, managers, and senior management. It's not just for people whose title includes "supervisor."

What should I do next?

These six steps will help your business meet its obligations and create a safer, healthier and more productive operation.

  • Make your organization aware of the new requirements, and why it's important for people and for business.
  • Assess your existing awareness program against the ministry's requirements.
  • If your program does not meet requirements, identify gaps and how to fill them.
  • Implement a training schedule and record-keeping process.
  • Moving forward, verify that new hires have had appropriate training.

How can I find out more?

A Guide to OHSA Requirements for Basic Awareness Training explains what the awareness training must cover, and what sort of prior training would meet the requirements.

Are there any training materials available now?

Yes, the ministry has produced free e-learning modules and downloadable training guides and workbooks. The resources include a poster that must be displayed in all workplaces.

WSPS also offers a number of courses - training that will help you meet the new requirements and much more. Check them out.

Watch for more on the ministry's new tools on our website.