New Accreditation Program Launched Rewarding Safe CompaniesDec 06, 2019 Occupational Health & Safety Regulations
On Friday, November 22, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) Monte McNaughton, and in tandem with Ontario’s Chief Prevention Office, have announced a new voluntary program that will recognize employers that can demonstrate that they have a functioning Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) in place. This is a significant opportunity for companies to both reap the financial benefits of a managed safety system and to demonstrate that they take safety seriously.
It is no secret that companies who make workplace safety a priority have fewer accidents than those who do not. The foundation for a healthy and safe workplace is the business’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System. The OHSMS consists of policies and procedures that define how a business will ensure the safety of its workers and become the companies guide to ensuring a safe and legally compliant workplace.
Having just an OHSMS available is not good enough on its own; businesses need to demonstrate that they are applying the policies and procedures as well. Demonstration is fulfilled by training all workers in the OHSMS requirements, enforcing the policies that are written in the OHSMS, and documenting everything.
In the past, the benefit of having a well-managed safety program was the reduction of accidents, incidents and near misses. Moreover, in a worst-case scenario, it helps demonstrate due diligence during court proceedings; you did not get any direct financial savings or recognition for all the good that the program would do. Under this new accreditation standard, those employers who qualify for the new Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers Program will benefit from:
- Accreditation of an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS)
- Recognition of the company by the (MLTSD) as an employer who has successfully implemented an accredited OHSMS program
- Rebates from the WSIB over three years
This is a big opportunity for the Ontario companies as they get recognized by both the MOL and the WSIB for having a managed safety program in place. It is our understanding that as part of this program when the MLTSD indicates that you will be recognized, it also means they will have a public website that will list those companies that have been accredited. If a business needs to demonstrate to customers that they manage health and safety well, rather than having to send in your policies and procedures, you may be able to send them to this website, and promote yourselves as a CPO Accredited Safe Employer.
There are detailed requirements that must be met to become an Accredited Safe Employer; they can be found by going to https://www.ontario.ca/page/supporting-ontarios-safe-employers-program. Employers can choose to implement an OHSMS based on an existing standard that is recognized by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO), or they can develop their own OHSMS and apply to have it accredited. At this time, the only standards that the MLTSD has recognized are:
- ISO 45001: 2018
- CSA Z45001-19
- BS OHSAS 18001:2007
- COR 2020 Updated Standard (available in January 2020)
This program is the first of its kind in Canada. To help employers through the accreditation process, the WSIB has launched its Health and Safety Excellence program, which aims to help workplaces improve their Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. This is a program that consists of 36 topics that employers can move through at their own pace, earning rebates at a minimum of $1000 per to topic as well as recognition as they go. The goal is that these participating businesses will develop their OHSMS over time.
For those businesses that do not want to go through the lengthy process of developing their own OHSMS, but instead would rather spend time implementing a pre-developed OHSMS, you can call on the services of Industrial Safety Trainers to write the program for you, and all you have to do after that is apply the policies and procedures that have been developed and written.
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Randy Dignard | President