What’s new and changing for workplace health and safety in 2020

Monday, December 16, 2019

Upcoming events and legislative changes

Clipboard with helmet and work glovesThe 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. 



Jan 1: WSIB Health and Safety Excellence program replaces previous employer incentive programs

Jan 1: Respiratory protection program legislation comes into effect

Jan 17: Deadline: Call for Papers 2020 Mining Health and Safety Conference



Feb 3-Mar 27: Mining inspection blitz: Emergency Preparedness Self-Audit

Feb 12: One-Day Symposium: Battery Electric Vehicle Safety in Mines

Feb 17-Mar 31: Industrial sector MOL inspection blitz on machine guarding

Feb 26: Webinar: Avoid distracted driving using mindfulness techniques

Feb 27: Last day for super early bird registration price for Mining Health and Safety Conference

Feb 28: Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day + Free webinar from Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers



Mar 1-Mar 27: Ontario mining inspection blitz continues on Emergency Preparedness Self-Audit

Mar 1-Mar 31: Ontario industrial inspection blitz continues on machine guarding

Mar 15: Early deadline for Workplace Excellence Awards submissions

Mar 19: Last day for super early bird registration price for Thunder Bay Health and Safety Conference



Apr 7: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Sudbury

Apr 8: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Thunder Bay

Apr 21-23: Mining Health and Safety Conference 

Apr 26: International Noise Awareness Day

Apr 28: Day of Mourning 

Apr-May: Steps for Life - Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy



May 4-8: Ontario District Mine Recue Competitions

May 4-10: Mental Health Week

May 5: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Hearst

May 6: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Kapuskasing

May 14: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Sault Ste Marie

May 20-21: Thunder Bay Health and Safety Conference



Jun 2-4: Canadian Mining Expo - Timmins - visit WSN booth

Jun 6-17: Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition

Jun 11: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - North Bay and Timmins



Aug: Auxiliary Mine Ventilation - Practical Workshop - Azilda



Sep 12-18: International Mines Rescue Competition - West Virginia, USA

Sep 16-17: Timmins Health and Safety Conference  

Sep 23: Workplace Safety North Annual General Meeting and Workplace Excellence Awards

Sep 30: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event – Thunder Bay



Oct: Healthy Workplace Month 

Oct: Global Ergonomics Month 

Oct 4-7: World Congress on Health and Safety at Work - Toronto

Oct 5: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - North Bay

Oct 6: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Timmins

Oct 8: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Hearst

Oct 10: World Mental Health Day

Oct 15: Feed Your Brain Lunch and Learn Event - Sudbury

Oct 20-26: Small Business Week



Nov 5: Pulp, Paper, and Sawmill Safety Forum - Thunder Bay

Nov 18: Webinar - workplace health and safety



Safe and happy holidays!