Upcoming events and legislative changes
The new year is an opportunity to review accomplishments and plan for the year ahead.
Highlights of 2019
Last year, occupational health and safety highlights included changes to Ontario’s workplace insurance system, an increased focus on worker mental health and substance use, and mandatory refresher training for joint health and safety committee certification.
Jan. 1, 2019 saw the full integration of Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the globally harmonized system for the classification and labelling of chemicals. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) unveiled the new online Open Data system to the public. A physiotherapy innovation in worker health and safety from the forestry industry has helped to significantly reduce the number and severity of injuries and may have applications to other industries.
Top 2019 employer health and safety concerns reported in a WSN member survey were: education and training and aging workforce and turnover, workplace culture, traffic control, violence and harassment, and staying on top of new legislation and implementing resulting changes. New virtual classroom technology allowed for a combination of classroom interactivity and online accessibility.
In November, the Ministry of Labour announced a name change to reflect the amalgamation of two ministries: Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), as well as the new Supporting Ontario's Safe Employers voluntary accreditation program.
What’s new and changing for 2020
In the new year, upcoming events include the Workplace Excellence Awards, Mining Health and Safety Conference, Excellence program meetings, health and safety conferences in Timmins and Thunder Bay, Pulp, Paper, and Sawmill Safety Forum, and two Ministry of Labour, Training, Skills and Development (MLTSD) inspection blitzes planned early in the year for industrial (machine guarding) and mining (emergency preparedness self-audit) sectors.
The biggest occupational health and safety changes in Ontario for 2020 includes new WSIB industry rate framework and updated employer incentive program which combines Safety Groups, Small Business, and Workwell programs into one new Health and Safety Excellence program; WSN is an approved provider.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, legislation amendments create a new respiratory protection program under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Ontario employers must ensure respiratory equipment is appropriate and establish written measures and procedures that address the selection, care and use of the equipment. Employers are also required to ensure workers are provided with instruction and training on care and use of the equipment. New respiratory protection and measuring provisions (air sampling) must be performed by a qualified person, and employers are required to maintain maintenance records.
Important 2020 workplace health and safety dates
Mark your 2020 calendar in advance to help make Ontario workplaces safer and keep yourself in the know – here’s a roundup of upcoming workplace health and safety legislation and events. Workplace Safety North celebrates its 10th anniversary since the amalgamation of the Ontario mining, forestry, and pulp and paper health and safety associations.
Feb 17-Mar 31: Industrial sector MOL inspection blitz on machine guarding
Apr 21-23: Mining Health and Safety Conference
Apr 28: Day of Mourning
May 4-10: Mental Health Week
May 20-21: Thunder Bay Health and Safety Conference
Sep 16-17: Timmins Health and Safety Conference
Oct 10: World Mental Health Day
Oct 20-26: Small Business Week
Safe and happy holidays!