Updated Safe Workplace Ontario certification program with new 2015 resource manual

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Includes two new standards to meet current legislation

Cover of 2015 Safe Workplace Ontario 2015 Resource ManualThis year, the Safe Workplace Ontario (SWO) Resource Manual was updated to ensure the program continues to meet current workplace health and safety legal requirements and reflect key industry trends. The SWO program provides the basic framework for implementing an effective health and safety program. 

In order to maintain SWO certification for 2015, companies need to purchase the 2015 Resource Manual ($150 existing members; $250 new members) and apply the updated information to the workplace. 

Workplace Safety North (WSN) will be conducting SWO audits according to the new and updated standards in the 2015 Resource Manual. Major updates include, for example, new standards on motor vehicle incidence prevention, as well as a workplace violence and harassment protection program, which were not in the previous Resource Manual. 

This 5.0 version now has 23 health and safety standards, each updated with the latest legislation and best practices, such as mandatory health and safety awareness training for workers and supervisors, and WHMIS-GHS program.

All standards and best practices were developed by WSN in close consultation with industry representatives. Companies use the information in each standard to develop their own written policy and procedures manual. Participants in the program can achieve SWO certification when each of the applicable standards is in place.

Benefits of SWO Certification

  • Small group of people sitting around table for a business meetingHelps you develop and maintain a solid workplace health and safety program.
  • Annual certification confirms your health and safety program meets Safe Workplace Ontario requirements.
  • Third-party verification: Before awarding contracts, many companies require suppliers and contractors to have a workplace health and safety program in place that have been verified by an independent third party.
  • An excellent resource that leads you through the typical policies you legally need to have in place.
  • Provides you with guidance material, including a memory stick with policy templates you can customize to meet your specific needs.
  • Health and safety professionals provide coaching and guidance throughout program set-up and evaluation.
  • Includes field inspection – WSN assesses your workplace health and safety program – both on paper and on-site to ensure consistent safety culture.
  • Peace of mind knowing your organization is diligent in ensuring the health and safety of all staff, contractors, clients, and visitors.

What you’ll find in the SWO Resource Manual

Each section of the standards in the SWO manual consists of several components: the standard itself, reference to applicable legislation, company procedures to establish and meet the standard, and leading practices for implementing the standard in the workplace. Sample policies are included for each standard and can be found under the Policies section, but they will still need to be customized to your company personnel and expectations.

The SWO program is voluntary, so there are no mandatory timelines to achieve SWO certification or recertification. However, companies are encouraged to complete SWO certification in the first year after registering and to maintain its health and safety program to the SWO standards with annual SWO re-evaluations and inspections by a WSN consultant. An awards plaque recognizing the achievement of SWO certification is given to the company. This plaque contains room for 12 annual plates signifying each year the company achieves SWO recertification.

For more information, please visit: workplacesafetynorth.ca/consulting/safe-workplace-ontario.