Is Your Workplace Ready to Comply with the New Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation?


February 4, 2014

On November 14, 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Labour filed a new regulation to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that impacts Ontario workplaces, Ontario Regulation 297/13 Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training (the “Regulation”). Effective July 1, 2014, all employers covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act must ensure that all their workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The content of the training must meet the new regulatory requirements.

Subsection 1(1) of the Regulation provides the basic occupational health and safety awareness training requirement for workers:

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 set out in subsection (3) as soon as practicable.

Subsection 1(3) of the Regulation provides:

  1. A basic occupational health and safety awareness training program for workers must include instruction on the following:
  2. The duties and rights of workers under the Act.
  3. The duties of employers and supervisors under the Act.
  4. The roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act.
  5. The roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and entities designated under section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety.
  6. Common workplace hazards.
  7. The requirements set out in Regulation 860 (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)) with respect to information and instruction on controlled products.
  8. Occupational illness, including latency.

Subsection 2(1) of the Regulation provides the basic occupational health and safety awareness training requirement for supervisors and provides:

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 set out in subsection (3) within one week of performing work as a supervisor.

Subsection 2(3) of the Regulation provides:

A basic occupational health and safety awareness training program for supervisors must include instruction on the following:

  1. The duties and rights of workers under the Act.
  2. The duties of employers and supervisors under the Act.
  3. The roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act.
  4. The roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and entities designated under section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety.
  5. How to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards, and evaluate those controls.
  6. Sources of information on occupational health and safety.

After July 1, 2014, employers will need to ensure workers complete the training as soon as possible. For supervisors, the training will have to be completed within one (1) week of performing work as a supervisor. The requirements will apply to all workplaces covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act at the same time, regardless of workplace size or sector.

There is no requirement in the Regulation for employers to hire private training providers to deliver basic occupational health and safety awareness training programs. There are free training materials available from the Ontario Ministry of Labour website, such as printed workbooks and e-learning modules, which are available at no cost and can be used to comply with the new requirements.

We would suggest the following steps to ensure your organization is compliant with the new Regulation:

  1. Review the Regulation and its requirements;
  2. Assess the organization’s existing health and safety training program for workers and supervisors against the new requirements pursuant to the Regulation;
  3. If the organization’s current program does not meet the requirements of the Regulation, update the program accordingly to comply;
  4. Prepare an implementation schedule for training workers and supervisors, keep a record of all the training completed, and ensure compliance within the time prescribed in the Regulation.

If you would like to discuss the new requirements for occupational health and safety awareness training, please contact us.