by Jim Antler, Former NOTO Research Analyst
Recently the NOTO office was notified by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) that they are setting deadlines for training of members of workplace health and safety committees. Based on this notice, we contacted the WSIB to see if, and how, the requirements might apply to our industry.
WSIB officials say that Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) are mandatory for businesses with 20 or more employees. For seasonal businesses (NOTO Regular Members), the Ministry of Labour indicates that the business must employ 20 or more employees for at least three months. We expect that the vast majority of businesses in our membership would not meet this minimum requirement and would, therefore NOT need such a committee.
If, however, your business employs between 20-49 employees for at least three months, you require a JHSC made up of at least one employee and one management representative. In addition, one member from each side of the committee must be "certified" through workplace safety training programs. This certification has two components: basic training that applies to all workplaces in Ontario, and workplace specific hazard training, which is training based on an assessment of hazards in a specific workplace - hazards that if not properly controlled, have the potential to cause a lost time injury or occupational illness.
Compliance requirements for the basic training component are already in existence. In other words, if you require a JHSC, the necessary members should already be certified. The WSIB is now looking to set a deadline for when committee members have to complete the second component: workplace specific hazard training. The board has proposed a compliance date of June 29, 2001.
NOTO has been asked to provide input on whether we feel this date is acceptable.
On a final note, if any member has 50 or more employees, your JHSC must have at least two employees and two management representatives on the committee. Only one representative from each side actually must be certified.
If you have any questions about workplace training, please contact the WSIB at 1-800-663-6639 or the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (formed to serve the training needs of the service sector - including tourism) at 1-888-478-6772.
This article was taken from page 17 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, July/August 2000 Issue