Health & Safety Training Basics

Health & Safety Training Basics

Today, the importance of basic health and safety training is vital to worker safety and to maintain compliance. Legislation lists training requirements that Employers must implement for the workplace in different circumstances. These include:

• Occupational Health and Safety Act – Section 25: Employer Duties
• Ontario Regulation 297/13 – Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training for Workers and Supervisors
• Regulation 860 – Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
• Regulation 213/91 – Construction Projects
• Regulation 851 – Industrial Establishments

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires Employers to provide information, instruction, and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker and to acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical, or physical agent.

Employers need to realize all Workers and Supervisors are required to have basic safety awareness training, including site-specific hazard awareness training. The responsibility falls on the employer, not the worker.

Worker and Supervisor Safety Awareness
An employer shall ensure that a worker who performs work for the employer completes a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that meets the requirements as soon as practicable. An employer shall ensure that a supervisor who performs work for the employer completes a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that meets the requirements within one week of performing work as a supervisor.

One very good option is to use the Ministry of Labour’s Worker 4 Step and Supervisor 5 Step programs. This teaches workers and contractors about their rights and responsibilities, explaining supervisor and employer responsibilities and how they affect the worker, about the specific hazards in their workplace or site, who they can speak with when they have questions and where to find help. Training must be completed every year to ensure that knowledge is kept up to date.

Workplace Violence and Harassment
An employer shall provide a worker with information and instruction that is appropriate for the worker with respect to workplace violence and harassment as well as any other prescribed information or instruction.

The contents of the training must:

• Include measures and procedures to control the risks of workplace violence and harassment identified in the assessment as likely to expose a worker to physical injury or harassment
• Include measures and procedures for summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence or harassment occurs or is likely to occur
• Include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace violence and harassment to the employer or supervisor
• Include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment to a person other than the employer or supervisor, if the employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser
• Set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints of workplace violence and harassment
• Set out how information obtained about an incident or complaint of workplace harassment, including identifying information about any individuals involved, will not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating or taking corrective action with respect to the incident or complaint, or is otherwise required by law
• Set out how a worker who has allegedly experienced workplace harassment and the alleged harasser, if he or she is a worker of the employer, will be informed of the results of the investigation and of any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken because of the investigation

Training must be completed every year to ensure that knowledge is kept up to date. Workplace Violence and Harassment requirements may change throughout the year, or an incident may occur. Training needs to be completed when these changes occur, or issues arise.

An employer shall ensure that a worker who works with or who may be exposed during his or her work to a hazardous product received from a supplier or a hazardous product that is produced in the workplace, is informed about all hazard information the employer receives from the supplier concerning the hazardous product and all further hazard information of which the employer is or ought to be aware concerning its use, storage, and handling.

Training for WHMIS includes:
• Legislation
• Responsibilities
• Classifications
• Symbols
• Labels
• Safety Data Sheets

Training must also review specific chemicals in the workplace and how to safely handle, store, use and dispose of these chemicals. Training must be completed every year to ensure that knowledge is kept up to date. WHMIS requirements may change throughout the year, or an incident may occur and training needs to be completed when these changes occur.

Joint Health and Safety Committees
Employers with 20 or more workers in the workplace are required to create a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). The Employer is also required to ensure that training is provided to all members of the JHSC on their duties and functions.

In addition to the training for all members, an employer must ensure that a Worker Member and Management member complete Certification training to become a certified member. The training must be approved by the Chief Prevention Officer.

Certification training involves 2 parts:
• JHSC Part 1 provides a fundamental understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a JHSC member, hazard recognition, workplace inspections and legal requirements.
• JHSC Part 2 provides practical methods and practices the process of hazard recognition, assessment, control, and evaluation and create draft action plans and recommendations for your workplace.

Part 2 training can be completed within 6 months of completing Part 1 training. Workers must refresh this training every 3 years.

Specific Workplace Hazards and Tasks
The next step is to ensure that the hazards in the workplace have been assessed and train the workers and contractors on the control measures in place. This includes safety rules and specific training required for the tasks being performed (Working at Heights, Respiratory Protection, Lift Trucks, Swing Stages, etc).

Working at Heights
Working at heights (WAH) training is mandatory for workers who may use a method of fall protection to protect themselves from a fall hazard. An employer shall ensure that a worker who may use a method of fall protection listed in section 6 has successfully completed a working at heights training program that meets the requirements. Training must meet the standard and be provided by a company that is an Approved Provider of the Chief Prevention Officer.

Workers must complete and maintain this training if they are working at a height greater than 8 feet, when working over a hazardous condition listed in the Regulations and when any of the following methods of fall protection are used:

• Travel Restraint System
• Fall Restricting System
• Fall Arrest System
• Safety Nets
• Work Belts
• Safety Belts

Employers in the Construction Industry must ensure their workers are provided with working at heights training approved by the Chief Prevention Office of the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development (MLTSD).

Workers in other industries including industrial, mining or health care sectors or workers that may be exposed to fall hazards during their work must also complete Working at Heights training as the workers must be trained on the hazards of falls in the workplace.

Training must be taken before a worker can use fall protection and a refresher course must be taken every three years.

Lift Trucks, Suspended Access Equipment, Elevating and Aerial Work Platforms
Lift trucks, suspended access equipment, elevating and aerial work platforms training is required for operators to be deemed competent. Equipment can be difficult to handle and extremely hazardous which causes significant injuries to untrained operators. Equipment in these categories includes:

• Forklifts
• Reaches
• Walkies
• Cherry Pickers
• Scissor Lifts
• Booms
• Swing Stages/Bosun’s Chairs

Training involves a theoretical component and a practical component. Operators learn about hazards, legislation, designs and differences, stability and maintaining control, inspections, fuel sources and safe work procedures when operating the equipment. Employers must ensure all operators are fully trained prior to operating the equipment and ensure the training is refreshed every 3 years at a minimum or sooner if there is an accident occurring in the workplace.

Records and Retraining
You also need to maintain training which is 2 parts. Records must be kept of training completed and be available upon request and frequent reminders and re-training are needed to be completed to maintain the knowledge required. A system to set up reminders for when training is coming due to prevent lapses is important. The workers should know when their training comes due, but the Employer must ensure its valid and kept current.

As the Employer, you need to ensure you protect your workers to maintain their safety as well as maintain your due diligence, avoiding potential penalties for non-compliance. Make sure you have trained your workers and Supervisors. If you are not sure, obtain assistance from a Training Provider or Health and Safety Consultant who can provide you with requirements and gaps in your training program and develop a plan to correct the concerns found.

Heartzap Safety Training & Equipment provides all of the Health & Safety Training courses mentioned above. Find out more by clicking on the links below:


Workplace Violence & Harassment


Joint Health & Safety Committees

Working at Heights

Lift Truck Safety