DATE: May 29, 2014 TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070
Ann Marie Hume
Heather Di Penta
Simon Ferrand (PIPSC)
Ms. Ann Marie Hume as the alternate Employer Co-Chair, welcomed everyone to the second National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting of 2014. Before proceeding with the agenda, a number of introductions were made beginning with Mr. Robert Allen who is the Director of Integrity and Workplace Relations, and a new member of the Committee. As well, Mr. Érik Gagné was introduced as the new Technical Advisor for the Union Taxation Employees (UTE), who will be supporting the Employee Representatives with NHSPC business, along with Mr. Simon Ferrand from the Professional Institute of the Public Services of Canada (PIPSC). At this point, the NHSPC was informed that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had received a media inquiry concerning the expense for the Ergonomic Literature Review that analyzed the ergonomic risks associated with exercise balls used as office chairs. A rationale for this study was submitted and assurances were offered that the NHSPC prioritizes all matters related to potential hazards in the workplace. Mr.Doug Mason addressed the media report regarding the deterioration of the Paul Martin Building in Windsor Ontario. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has been monitoring the problems and the remediation process.
Mr. Brian Pagan advised the Committee that a conference call was held with the Work Place Health and Safety Committee (WPHSC) and there had been an agreement that the health and safety concerns were being addressed, with regard to the building condition. Mr. Mason requested that the monthly monitoring reports be shared with the WPHSC. As well, the NHSPC would also receive updates and this matter would be tabled for discussion, at the September meeting. It was confirmed that an Information Bulletin would be issued to reinforce the importance that reports impacting health and safety must be shared with the WPHSCs, as per the Canada Labour Code (CLC), Part II (Section 135.(9)). Once the Co-Chairs had shared their comments, the NHSPC proceeded with meeting’s agenda.
1. AVCs and Directions
The NHSPC was provided with an update on the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) that was issued to the CRA in the Prairie Region, on May 1, 2014. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which was formally known as Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) received a complaint indicating that the Agency had not provided a local Health and Safety Committee with a written response to its recommendations that were submitted to management. Employers are required to respond in writing within 30 days, as per the CLC, Part II. In addition, the AVC indicated that the CRA had to ensure a process was in place to appoint a competent person who would investigate instances of work place violence.
On May 9, 2014, a written response was provided to ESDC, confirming that the local committee’s recommendation was accepted in writing on May 6, 2014, as well as confirmation that an extension of the commissionaire had been approved. Further to this, ESDC was informed that a standardized recommendation form was created nationally and the requirement for management to respond within 30 days was clearly indicated. The use of this form and management’s responsibilities will be reinforced.
Regarding ESDC’s reference to appointing a competent person, it was confirmed that the CRA has a number of Corporate Policy Instruments (CPIs) to provide instruction and guidance on the prevention of harassment and workplace violence; including the steps should an incident occur. To support the Work Place Violence Prevention Policy are a number of questions and answers that provide additional clarity with respect to the investigation of work place violence. Consultations with ESDC have confirmed that CRA’s response to the AVC was accepted.
The NHSPC was also provided with an administrative update that confirmed the Procedures for Working with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (link to an InfoZone website) had been shared with the local committees, so that everyone is aware that HRSDC is now known as ESDC.
2. FIRE SAFETY
As part of the Deficit Reduction Action Plan, the Government of Canada has decided to discontinue the Fire Protection Program (FPP) within the ESDC Labour Program. Each department and agency is now solely responsible for implementing the Treasury Board Fire Protection Standard within their respective departments. The CRA is not a custodian of real property; it is PWGSC that has this responsibility. As a result, PWGSC has assumed a lead role on fire protection related services for all its federal government tenants. PWGSC is currently establishing policies and protocols for the provision of these services and has put in place a standing offer to support the availability of these services to federal departments. Once PWGSC has finalized its new policies and they are shared with federal departments, the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) will revise its policy structures to reflect the new processes to ensure all fire protection requirements are met. In the meantime, FAB continues to monitor fire safety compliance and the status of its fire safety plans in all CRA occupied buildings. FAB will keep the NHSPC apprised of the status of this initiative.
3. INCIDENT AND REPORTING MANAGEMENT
In April 2012, the National Incident Reporting Centre (now the Agency Operations Centre) function was transferred to the Emergency and Incident Management Division (EIMD). The addition of these new responsibilities included the requirements for the administration of the threat indicators. A threat indicator is an option in the taxation system (i.e. RAPID) that appears on the screen which is meant as a safety feature to warn employees that there is a security incident report on file concerning this particular taxpayer. The threat indicator is used to flag taxpayers who have demonstrated abusive or violent behaviours in order to provide advance warning to employees that face-to-face dealings with these taxpayers may pose a potential threat to them, in the performance of their duties. Decisions regarding the management of these tax files would be based on this security information (e.g. communication strategy). The NHSPC was informed that threat indicators remain on a file for three years following an incident, or the last administrative action. This timeline is being reviewed to remove objectivity and ensure standardization.
To strengthen policy requirements regarding threat indicators, FAB has initiated a review process of all threat indicators currently active on taxpayers’ files (includes individual and business accounts). Over the course of the year, FAB will be establishing new procedures that will standardize the application, administration and review of threat indicators. These procedures will support the mitigation and protection of CRA employees who could potentially encounter threatening taxpayers while performing their assigned duties. During the course of the project, FAB will be consulting with various key stakeholders and will be seeking feedback from this committee to ensure that all views are taken into consideration and are reflected in the new procedures. FAB will also be keeping the NHSPC apprised of the project timelines, and the progress made towards this initiative.
Finally, the Committee was advised that the Emergency and Incident Management Electronic Tool (EIMET) would be activated or available in September for the WPHSCs. In addition to an Information Bulletin, direct messaging will be sent to the local committees so they are prepared for the ensuing notifications.
4. CRA OHS PROGRAM
The NHSPC was provided with an update on the following Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) initiatives:
OHS Program Review
The Program Review has been completed and the report is being finalized after which it will be submitted to the Commissioner.
The final report will be shared with the NHSPC, once it has been released by the Commissioner’s office. The Program Review will be tabled for discussion at the next NHSPC meeting in September.
There have been a number of developments with the Office Ergonomics portfolio. The Office Ergonomics Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been revised and this version will be shared with the Employee Representatives, before final approval is sought. The key highlights of the SOP include:
- Detailed roles and responsibilities;
- Ergonomic Resource Fact Sheets; and
- A revised Ergonomic Coach Checklist.
The revisions will help the Ergonomic Coaches:
- Have a better understanding of the scope of the ergonomic coach role and specifically the limitations;
- Provide them with a user friendly format to capture data, while assisting employees adjust their workstation; and
- Provide them with an easy mechanism to share a copy of the checklist with the employee and the manager.
Information on office ergonomics was released through KnowHow, providing another way of locating office ergonomic resources and contacting local ergonomic coaches.
Since the official launch of the T4009, a number of minor issues have been corrected with the form, and the information pages have been updated to reflect the changes. The NHSPC was informed that a report would be generated on the number of T4009s included in the system and the raw data that has been extracted, for the September meeting. The report will identify the number of reported incidents from February to August 2014, which is the six-month period, when the system went to strictly online reporting.
A meeting of the Working Group was held on May 28, 2014, to discuss the review of the policy instruments. During this meeting, the discussions focused on the Materials Handling Policy, the Tools and Machinery Policy, and the Motor Vehicle Operations Policy. The resulting recommendations will be submitted to the NHSPC for consideration, with an accompanying rationale.
5. job hazard analyses (For Field Employees/Multiple Environment)
Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees
The NHSPC was advised that progress is being made on the Health and Safety Awareness for Field Employees course. The product was sent to stakeholders for feedback in January 2014. The feedback has been considered and incorporated in the training and the pilot occurred during the week of May 12, 2014. It is expected that the final product will be fully launched by September 2014.
The National OHS Section met with the Compliance Programs Branch (CPB) on February 14, 2014, to discuss the integration of OHS with the Integras – Case system. The next step is to write a proposal to seek funding for the project.
Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA)
The MEJHA Working Group had a meeting on April 29, 2014, to discuss and share information on the Working Plan, and the priorities on the development and implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Safe Work Procedures (SWP), which includes identification of personal protective equipment and training requirements to be completed by March 31, 2015. The Branches have been assigned tasks in order to complete specific SWPs by May 30, 2014.
The NHSPC was advised that work is ongoing with FAB to gather existing information in order to prepare and implement policy instruments. The Task Hazard Analysis (THA) review activities that have been undertaken by FAB are still ongoing. As part of the review of material handling equipment, motorized and non-motorized, FAB has drafted the Powered Lift Truck Purchasing Maintenance and Training Standard, as well as the Powered Lift Truck Standard Operating Procedure.
The Human Resources Branch (HRB) is undertaking the development of a Manual Material Handling SOP. It is built upon the principles of industrial ergonomics and back safety. The Branches have documented their equipment such as hand trucks, step stools and ladders to ensure various types of non-motorized equipment is captured in the SOP. A draft of this SOP will be shared with the Working Group, when it is completed.
FAB is also undertaking a review, with the collaboration of the regions, of all the hazardous substances being used in the Agency. They are compiling and analyzing all the existing products within their respective areas such as mailrooms and warehouses. There are approximately 400 products listed and the main goal is to reduce the list of products being used and to standardize them within the Agency. This is to be completed by the end of June 2014. A list of employees from PAB and FAB who use these products has been compiled. They will require the e-learning course TD-1599-001 Health and Safety for Employees (link to an InfoZone website) as it will provide them with Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training, which is part of this new training product. Employees will need to complete the training before July 31, 2014.
HRB is undertaking the review and development of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Clothing policy instrument in order to help managers in the selection, use, maintenance of PPE for the protection of their employees. This work is also linked to the Policy Review Working Group. ITB and HRB continue to work on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Traffic Lane SOP. Due to the complexity of linkages with other policy instruments, it has taken longer to finalize the draft of this document. It is expected that a draft will be shared with the Working Group in June 2014.
6. WORK PLACE HEALTH AND SAFETy COMMITTEE EFFECTIVENESS
The results of the 2013 Year-End Scorecard have been consolidated and validated. The preliminary results show an improvement however, there is additional work that must be done. The NHSPC will establish a Working Group to identify new strategies to improve the results, with a focus on work place inspections. The NHSPC will discuss this in greater detail at the next meeting in September.
This Committee was provided with a demonstration of the automated tool that is under development to facilitate the collection of data and the reporting of the results. The tool will capture the data that is currently manually documented in the Appendix A, of the WPHSC meeting minutes. With this automation, the NHSPC will be able to monitor closely the activities of the WPHSCs, in terms of whether they are meeting their legislated responsibilities for meetings and work place inspections. In addition to timely reporting, the accuracy of the data will be improved and the validation process reduced or eliminated.
Inspection Procedure and Guide
The Work Place Inspection Procedure and the Work Place Inspection: A Guide for WPHSCs and Health and Safety Representatives (HSR), have been routed through the formal approval process. Once it is confirmed that the documents have been approved, they will be published on InfoZone. As the guide will be an evergreen document, work has begun on the checklist items for warehouses. The checklist will be shared with the NHSPC for review and comment. The NHSPC agreed that the procedures and guide will help the WPHSCs and HSRs when they are conducting inspections. Their effectiveness will improve with additional tools and guidance.
Work Place Committee Training
The French Train-the-Trainer session was held between March 18 and 21 for the Work Place Committee portion, and between March 24 and 26 for the Facilitation portion. The NHSPC had been advised that some individuals from the English Train-the-Trainer sessions had to have their facilitator training postponed. The session was rescheduled between April 6 and 8, 2014. However, due to the low turnout of trainees, the Training and Learning Directorate (TLD) offered to provide them with a one-day coaching session, and certified them as trained facilitators.
With regard to the training redesign, the National OHS Section held a conference call with the facilitators on February 25, 2014, to receive their feedback on the current course. Following this, a Learning Needs Analysis session was held on between April 7 and April 9, 2014. Mr. Doug Mason and Ms. Debbie Ferguson participated in this session along with a facilitator and a new committee member. The feedback regarding this session was positive and the various stakeholders will collaborate on this training initiative, until it is ready to implement.
The Spring Edition of the Newsletter was published on May 20, 2014, with the next edition to be issued in July.
At the conclusion of the discussion on WPHSC effectiveness, Mr. Doug Mason requested that the NHSPC review the WPHSC template for the Terms of Reference, as there were some proposed updates. As well, it was agreed that the Responsible Building Authority (RBA) must not assume the position of the WPHSC Co-Chair, so that in the event of an emergency there is not a conflict or role confusion. It was agreed that there would be further discussion at the September meeting regarding the involvement of the RBA and/or a Director on a WPHSC.
7. VIRTUAL REPORTING
The NHSPC was reminded that at the December 2013 meeting, there was a discussion regarding the challenges with ‘Virtual Reporting’, as they relate to safeguarding the health and safety of employees in these types of arrangements.
An OHS Services Agreement and a supporting Information Bulletin were prepared to formalize the OHS roles and responsibilities for Senior Management, as well as the ‘host’ and ‘home’ managers.
The draft agreement and bulletin were shared with the NHSPC as well as with front-line regional managers, to ensure the messaging was clear and the
documents were easily applied. The regions have validated this approach and offered suggestions regarding the content of the documents. The documents will be updated, shared with the NHSPC once again, and then the required approvals will be obtained. The NHSPC will be kept apprised of the progress being made and when the final documents are distributed.
8. OHS TRAINING FOR NEW EMPLOYEES
Ms. Heather Cogan provided the NHSPC with an overview of the Agency’s 'A Good Start’ (link to an InfoZone website) training initiative. This topic was raised as a result of the Committee’s previous discussion on the OHS training requirements for students, contractors and new employees. The CRA recognizes the importance of onboarding new employees, students, contractors, and managers into the Agency and into their new roles. ‘A Good Start’ is a comprehensive, online national employee orientation learning product, developed and maintained by the Training and Learning Directorate (TLD). Components have been included on Health and Safety in Day 1 and Week 1 of ‘A Good Start’. This is an indication of the importance placed on this material and that training related to health and safety is a priority for new employees. Following consultations between TLD and the National OHS Section enhancements to ‘A Good Start’ have been finalized and links have been added for the three mandatory OHS courses into ‘A Good Start’.
The NHSPC was provided with a demonstration of the tool that has been created by which employees respond to a series of questions that will lead them to the OHS training requirements for their specific work tasks. As additional training components are developed as a result of the MEJHA Working Group, the site will be updated.
9. HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATION
The CRA is committed to ensuring that it meets its obligations under the CLC, Part II, in terms of having a local committee established, or a health and safety representative identified, who would provide health and safety support in the work place. The list for CBSA/CRA co-locations has been finalized and the information will be reviewed to confirm that the required health and safety representation for CRA employees is provided.
The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:
The NHSPC agreed that the OHS training numbers would be consolidated using a new reporting system. The training data is collected centrally by the Strategic Business Integration Directorate, and the monthly demographic profile is produced by the Demographics and Workforce Analysis Section. The information from both sources was extracted for this report on April 29, 2014.
A trend analysis was provided to depict the quarterly training numbers, and allow the NHSPC to track the historical results for the various OHS training products.
The NHSPC reviewed various communication approaches and action plans, to target specific regions that would reinforce the legislated requirement for OHS training.
Statistics for Health and Safety Training:
As of April 29, 2014, 678 managers and 1,814 employees require Health and Safety training. The latest training statistics indicate that nationally 95% of employees have been trained. All regions have trained more than 90% of the workforce. In all regions the majority of untrained employees are term (determinate and student) employees.
The April 2014 results for managers' training indicate that the general trend over time is stable. Nationally 11% are untrained. It is likely that it will be more difficult to reduce the number of untrained managers since there tends to be more of a turn-over in management positions. However, the requirement for this training will continue to be reinforced.
Work Place Violence Prevention Training:
The number of employees not trained in Workplace Violence Prevention continues to decline. As of April 29, 2014, the data confirms that 4,079 employees have not completed this training. Most of the regions have maintained a high level of trained employees. Efforts will continue to ensure positive trending.
The National OHS Section has distributed regional statistics and training will continue to be prioritized and monitored.
Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan
The Committee was provided with a final update for the national OHS Communication Plan, for 2013-2014. As well, the Communication Plan for 2014-2015 was shared and finalized. In addition to the ongoing OHS messaging, a variety of annual communications were issued in the spring, such as the National Day of Mourning, the WPHSC Newsletter and information regarding the North American Occupational Health and Safety Week. Mr. Mason requested that communication regarding the National Day of Mourning be issued earlier, to allow time for participation plans.
Quarterly Security Incident Reports
The Employee Co-Chair was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Reports for January to March 2014. These reports were sent to regional OHS representatives, and distributed to the WPHSCs for validation purposes. The Employee Representatives requested that additional detail be provided when security incidents involve police intervention.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the NHSPC members agreed that progress had been made on a variety of important OHS issues and initiatives. The participants were thanked for their valuable contributions, and it was confirmed that the next NHSPC meeting will be held on September 11, 2014.
Original signed by
Original signed by
Ann Marie Hume
September 10, 2014
September 10, 2014