WHAT THE BILL SAYS
7.1 (1) The Minister may establish standards for training programs required under this Act or the regulations.
In terms of impact on you and your OHS program, these 15 measly words are, arguably, the most significant part of Bill 160.
The “Minister” refers to the Minister of Labour and his/her underlings. The phrase “may establish standards for training programs” means that the MOL would be allowed to adopt new forms of training programs
Why is that a big deal?
IMPACT ON YOU
Answer: Because it would give the MOL legal authority to make employers provide 4 forms of new health and safety training recommended by the Dean Report:
- OHS awareness training for new and entry-level workers;
- OHS awareness training for supervisors who oversee front-line workers;
- Mandatory OHS training developed by the MOL to construction workers; and
- Mandatory OHS training developed the MOL on fall protection.
WHAT TO EXPECT
If and when Bill 160 is adopted by June 2, the MOL will have to exercise its new authority over training by writing regulations establishing new requirements. So we won’t know the key implementation details until those regulations come out. But, assuming the MOL remains faithful to the Dean recommendations:
Awareness training will have to be provided in multi-media and languages;
Supervisors will require not only initial but refresher awareness training;
MOL training programs for construction workers will be just the start and the MOL will likely create equivalent programs for workers in other high risk industries;
Similarly, the MOL won’t stop with fall protection but develop training programs for other high risk operations such as confined spaces, use of explosives, etc.
That’s a pretty big impact for such a short sentence, dontcha’ think?
I’ll break down some of the other bombshells contained in Bill 160 in future postings.