• Draft Training Manual for Supervisors Released by the Ministry of Labour
  • June 23, 2012 | Author: Melanie I. Francis
  • Law Firm: Blaney McMurtry LLP - Toronto Office
  • Early last year we told you about recommendations released by the Expert Advisory Panel, appointed by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) to review Ontario’s occupational health and safety system. One focus of those recommendations is an increased importance placed on training and, in particular, training for those in supervisory positions.

    The goal is to ensure that supervisors are aware and have a full understanding of their role and responsibilities when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. A supervisor workbook and employer guide have been developed. These materials have now been released by the MOL, with an invitation to organizations, businesses and workers to provide feedback on these drafts.

    The consultation drafts can be read here:
    'Prevention Starts Here - Health and Safety at Work': A Supervisor's Guide in 5 Steps
    'Prevention Starts Here - Health and Safety at Work': An Employer Guide to the Health and Safety Awareness Program for Supervisors

    Employers are not yet required to provide the awareness program to their workers. A regulation will be necessary to make the provision of this program mandatory. We expect, however, that such a regulation will be forthcoming. While it is likely that not all employers will be required to deliver the program, employers should familiarize themselves with this program and provide input regarding the content.

    The employer guide recaps best practices in terms of implementing the awareness program. The real focus is on the supervisor workbook, which deals with a range of topics rolled into “5 steps” or guidelines. These steps encourage supervisors to:

    1. Make a Difference - by gaining awareness of their role within the internal responsibility system of the occupational health and safety scheme;
    2. Lead the Way - by identifying and supporting workers’ rights;
    3. Use a Supervisor’s Toolkit - by accessing the appropriate resources to address health and safety issues and being proactive in reorganizing and responding to hazards;
    4. Understand They Are Not Alone - by using the sources of information and resources available to them (i.e. employer policies, joint health and safety committees, health and safety representatives, MOL guidance); and
    5. Be a Good Role Model - by setting a good example and influencing others to follow.

    In reality, each of the “steps” encompasses many smaller, individual steps that must be taken by supervisors daily. A supervisor’s role is incredibly complex; employers must recognize this and be ready to ensure supervisors hired are provided with the necessary training and support regardless of when the MOL awareness program becomes fully mandated. Doing so can go a long way to preventing accidents in the workplace, and will certainly be viewed favourably by a court should an accident occur and charges be laid.