The Ontario Ministry of Labour is piloting its new worker safety awareness training workbook in a number of Ontario workplaces. The Ministry states that, “The pilots are taking place during the summer of 2012 with an anticipated launch of the workbook in the Fall of 2012.”
In a May 2012 post, we had discussed the Ministry’s announcement that it intends to introduce a regulation that would require Ontario employers to provide mandatory safety awareness training to all workers and supervisors, using Ministry-developed materials or equivalent materials.
The Ministry states, on its website, that “For a worker awareness program to be mandatory, a regulation will be required and as such, stakeholders will be consulted in the fall on the regulatory proposal.” One expects that, due to the sweeping nature of the new safety awareness training obligations, the Ministry will provide substantial lead time to employers to provide the safety awareness training to workers and supervisors.
The Ministry notes that “some employers may already provide their workers with the information covered in this program”, and that those employers’ programs may meet the new requirements. The Ministry says that it intends to introduce an “equivalency guideline” to allow employers to determine whether their existing safety awareness programs meet the new requirements.
Employers should review the new “pilot” worker and supervisor training materials and begin thinking about whether the employer already provides equivalent safety awareness training, and if not, how the employer intends to meet the new training requirements.