The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training regulation, O. Reg. 297/13, which came into effect last year in July, requires health and safety awareness training for every worker and supervisor.
On top of health and safety awareness training, companies need to provide workers with the knowledge they need in order to work safely. Occupational health and safety training programs have the purpose to increase worker’s knowledge not only of their rights and responsibilities under the Act, but also to increase awareness of hazards recognition and evaluation and what measurements need to be taken to minimize the exposure to the risks.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act is based on the concept of the Internal Responsibility System (IRS). Occupational health and safety training play an unique and very important role on that, since trainings qualify workplace parties with the skills needed to identify and control workplace health and safety hazards.
In order to have an effective occupational health and safety training plan, businesses need to provide adequate resources (e.g., budget, training, and time) to develop, maintain, and perform employee training.
Each site needs its own documented analysis and comprehensive list of the required compliance and general awareness training, which should be compiled for each job category and specific activities. If your business does not have any specific software that can be used as a training matrix, an excel spreadsheet would do the work as well on keeping track of which trainings have been completed and which one is due.
An occupational health and safety training plan should also address how the training will be completed for employees who are absent, due to illness, vacation, etc., during any classroom training sessions. When new training requirements are identified, a process to add them to the implementation plan should be described as well.
It is a good practice to have a specific individual or job function in charge of the coordination of the training program. Line managers, on the other hand, should be responsible to know and verify that employees in their departments complete the applicable health and safety training.
Further but not least, the following items should be considered if your site wants to implement a good and effective OH&S training plan:
• Training materials should be developed or revised after changes in the Occupational Health and Safety legislations; when new processes/ products / equipment are introduced; when there are significant changes in the work environment.
• Training contents should be also revised when an occupational injury or illness occurs.
• Training should be conducted only by persons knowledgeable on the topics to be presented.
• Training effectiveness should be evaluated by testing (i.e. yes / no questions) or demonstration of competency (i.e. practical Lock Out Tag Out demonstrations).
• All training should be documented to include the subject, trainer name, date and employees in attendance.
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