Beginning on July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario will have an added responsibility of ensuring that all workers and all supervisors in all workplaces that fall subject to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) have completed a mandatory occupational health and safety awareness training program. This training requirement has been introduced by O. Reg. 297/13, a new regulation under OHSA that is commonly referred to as the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation.
The required training will be slightly different for workers and supervisors but will cover similar topics such as the roles and responsibilities of employers and employees under OHSA and the roles of various boards and associations.
With less than 2.5 months to go, employers who have not yet done so are well-advised to begin preparing for and implementing the required training. As part of the preparations, employers who already train employees should ensure that such training meets the requirements of O. Reg. 297/13. Workers and supervisors who have completed training that meets the requirements will not have to be trained again. However, if an employer’s current training falls short or if an employer has not implemented similar training before, the employer must ensure that all workers and supervisors complete the required training. After July 1, 2014, new workers will need to complete training as soon as possible and new supervisors will need to complete training within one week of working as a supervisor.
One way to complete the training is to use the Ministry of Labour’s online tutorial or hardcopy workbooks that are available, free of charge. Employers may also use their own equivalent materials so long as the materials include the required content. Alternatively, employers may use the services of a private company that offers online training modules that include the required content.
In addition, employers will need to make sure that they have an effective system in place for maintaining records of completed training.