Ontario's Ministry of Labour has released two new certification training standards expected to take effect in early 2015. The standards build on existing certification training requirements, and aim to ensure consistent, high-quality training delivered by qualified instructors who meet specific delivery requirements.
A quick primer on certification training
Certification training educates joint health and safety committee (JHSC) members in fundamental health and safety concepts, which help the JHSCs fulfill their responsibilities effectively.
Workplaces under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that have 20 or more regularly employed workers must have a JHSC. Each JHSC must have at least one certified worker member and one management member. The certification process involves completing Parts One (basic training) and Two (workplace-specific hazard training).
"In practical terms" says Lina Della Mora, WSPS's director of program and training delivery, "the more knowledgeable your JHSC is, the better able it will be to make informed recommendations that contribute to organizational health, safety and productivity. They'll be better educated in what to look for when conducting inspections, and what actions could be taken to prevent injuries or even save a life."
"JHSC members can also help improve your workplace's health and safety culture. They're not just a committee. They're leaders, role models and agents of change."
Under the 2014 JHSC Certification Training Program Standard,
Part One training would be 3 days in duration, instead of the current 2 or 3 days
Part Two training would be 2 days, and must be taken within 6 months of Part One. Currently, some Part Two training is available in one day
1-day refresher training would be required every 3 years for JHSC members certified under the new standard.
Under the 2014 JHSC Certification Training Provider Standard, training providers would be required to apply to the ministry to deliver an approved JHSC certification training program. Among the highlights:
training provider requirements that outline compliance with legislation, insurance, course materials, learning needs, alternate delivery modes and evaluation
training instructor requirements that outline qualifications and delivery
training evaluator requirements
a code of ethics.
To ensure the standards reflect workplace realities, they were developed with considerable input from stakeholders, including management and labour organizations, health and safety professionals, and health and safety organizations such as WSPS.
What you need to know now
More information on the new standards will be released in the coming months. In the meantime, here are four essential facts:
no changes to certification training would take effect until early 2015
your workplace is expected to continue having JHSC members certified - as needed - until the new standard takes effect.
JHSC members who become certified under the new standards would be required to take refresher training within three years of certification.
JHSC members who are already certified or who take certification training before the new standards are in effect would not have to retake certification training.
Possible next steps for your workplace
Although the changes won't take effect right away, there are steps you can take now to prepare:
make sure you are already complying with existing certification training requirements
maintain clear and up-to-date records on who has been trained and when
continue providing certification training as required. Don't hold off until the changes take effect.
ensure people in your workplace who are responsible for managing training understand the nature of the changes and how they would affect your organization.
How WSPS can help
WSPS has provided certification training for more than 15 years. We offer training courses across the province in various locations and in different formats such as online or self-study. "We will also come to your workplace if that's what works for you," says Lina Della Mora. For more information on certification training now, check out WSPS's current offerings.
WSPS was also a member of a multi-stakeholder committee convened to draft the standards, enabling us to lend our expertise as training providers but also to represent the interests of our customers. We're already preparing 3-day and 2-day training that will meet or exceed the new training requirements. Watch for details as they become available.