Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

December 12, 2013

DATE:                    December 12, 2013                     TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Absent

Secretary

Observers

Guests

Diane Lorenzato
(Employer Co-Chair)
Claude P. Tremblay
Helen Brown
Josée Tremblay
 

Brian Pagan

Heather Di Penta

Susan Fagan

Jaime Robinson
Omar Saeed

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-chair)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Marc Brière (UTE)

Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

Ms. Diane Lorenzato welcomed everyone to the last National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting for 2013, and remarked on the significant progress that had been made on a variety of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues and initiatives. With this acknowledgement, she then noted that the Federal Government had proposed Bill C-4 and if approved, it would introduce changes to the Canada Labour Code, Part II. The principle changes include the role of the Health and Safety Officer (HSO), the definition of danger, and the work refusal process. Ms. Lorenzato mentioned that to her knowledge, the role of the HSO may be changing however, these positions were not being removed from the Labour Program. At this time, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is waiting for direction from the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Labour Program to ensure the appropriate measures are taken, so that the Agency continues to meet its legislated obligations. As the necessary adjustments are made, the health and safety of CRA employees will be prioritized. The NHSPC will be kept informed of any notable developments.

Mr. Doug Mason offered his congratulations to the Committee, as many OHS accomplishments had been realized in 2013. He was also pleased to hear that the NHSPC would be consulted before any changes were implemented, should Bill C-4 receive Royal Assent. Once the Co-Chairs had shared their comments, the Committee proceeded with the meeting’s agenda.

1. AVCs and Directions

The NHSPC was advised that the Agency had not received an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) or Direction since its last meeting in September. It was also confirmed that any requirements related to the two AVCs that were issued earlier this year, have been addressed.

The roles and responsibilities of local stakeholders associated with AVCs and Directions are clearly outlined in the revised version of the Procedures for Working with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada – Health and Safety Officers (link to an InfoZone website) which has now been circulated. The NHSPC agreed that all relevant documentation must be shared locally and that there are no privacy issues that would preclude the required posting and distribution. It was suggested that this requirement should be highlighted in the Work Place Health and Safety Committee (WPHSC) Newsletter.

2. CRA OHS Program

The NHSPC was provided with an update on the following OHS initiatives:

OHS Program Review
Ms. Lorenzato advised the Committee that the OHS Program will be reviewed as part of an Internal Audit cyclical process. This review will provide senior management with an assessment on the extent to which the program supports the Agency in meeting its OHS obligations, and whether the program is functioning as intended. The Terms of Reference for this undertaking will be discussed with the NHSPC, at the next meeting. The Committee will be fully briefed when the Program Review is completed and be given the opportunity to address any issues or concerns, as part of the consultation process.

Ergonomic Strategy
The feedback for the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been compiled and it is being considered with respect to the overall approach to ergonomics. The updated draft of the procedure is in the process of being finalized and will be shared with the NHSPC for feedback shortly.
The following are the communication pieces that have been distributed promoting the Ergonomic Coach Program:

  • A message was issued to all local committees requesting their assistance in promoting the role of the Ergonomic Coach;
  • The fall newsletter for local committees highlighted the fact that Ergonomic Coaches are an important component in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders;
  • The Ergonomic Coach Tracking Tool was released to all Ergonomic Coaches; 
  • An Information Bulletin was sent to all Ergonomic Coaches advising them of how to handle enquiries from employees, regarding the use of an exercise ball as an office chair;
  • The Office Ergonomics Self Adjustment Tool was launched on InfoZone; and
  • Work continues with representatives from the “Know How” Group, to use the site as another avenue for employees to access key ergonomic messages.

T4009
The proposed changes to the T4009 have been implemented and testing is currently underway to ensure that the system is working as intended. When this has been confirmed, a message from the NHSPC Co-Chairs will be issued to finalize the transition to the T4009 form. Once completed, the Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the form will no longer be accessible, and will be removed from InfoZone to ensure all data will be entered into the tool and will be captured.

The NHSPC was advised that the on-line T4009 is designed so that if an accident is reported, the local committee where it occurred will be notified, as well as the employee’s supervisor/manager. The automated system will ensure that the appropriate stakeholders are notified in virtual reporting arrangements or when an employee is injured in another CRA work site.

Policy Instruments
The Working Group met on October 30, 2013, to establish a project plan and has begun to review the Electrical Policy and the Use and Occupancy of Buildings Policy. It was agreed that any policy recommendations would be presented to the NHSPC and it was emphasized that the intent of this policy review is to reduce the number of policies and to ensure required information is made concise and available to the audiences who need it.  

New First Aid Kit Contract
The NHSPC was informed that a national First Aid contract for kits and supplies has been awarded to Bio Nuclear Diagnostics. This national contract will help the Agency continue to meet its legislated obligations by simplifying and standardizing the procurement of first aid kits supplies. The participation of Mr. Doug Gaetz in the bid evaluation process was acknowledged, and it was confirmed that the products are now being uploaded in the Synergy System for on-line purchasing. Once the system is ready, a formal announcement will be issued to the local WPHSCs, as well as a reminder to inspect the first aid kits and replenish them,  if needed.

3. job hazard analyses (For Field Employees/Multiple Environment)

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees
A specialist from the Training and Learning Directorate (TLD) has been assigned to design the new learning product. A project charter, plan, and story boards have been developed. These storyboards will be shared with the NHSPC for review and comment by the end of December. A pilot of the training product is targeted for February 2014 and it is expected to be fully launched by June 2014. Work is also continuing on the associated tools for field employees.

Mr. Pierre Mulvihill and members of the National OHS Section have met with the Compliance Programs Branch to examine the possibility of leveraging their new system called Integras – Case. It has been developed to serve as an integrated compliance system, enabling personnel to effectively support and protect the integrity of the Canadian tax base. Integras - Case provides the ability to manage workloads from the beginning, to the end, of the Compliance Programs Branch life cycle. By using this system or a similar type of system, it will ensure the risks and hazards associated with field work are properly considered, before the work is undertaken.

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA)
Work is ongoing with the Branches to gather existing information in order to draft and implement appropriate policy instruments. An update was to have been provided to the Human Resources Committee (HRC) on December 10, 2013 however, it had to be postponed until the new year. At that time, the HRC will be advised of the action being taken to address high risk areas, such as warehouses and mailrooms. Further analysis will also be presented regarding the number of employees working in, or passing through, high risk areas. This information was also shared with the MEJHA Working Group.

From the Human Resources Branch perspective, the Ergonomics portfolio is progressing well, with Ergonomic Coaches having been trained throughout the Agency. The coaches are working collaboratively with the local WPHSCs to promote their activities. The Office Ergonomics Self-Adjustment Tool (complete with video) was released and posted on InfoZone, on October 29, 2013.

The industrial ergonomic hazards within the Agency are being analyzed, such as lifting mail from bins into carts and onto tables. As a result of this focus, Back Safety Training is being developed for those employees that are required to do manual material handling. To support these activities the Ergonomic Web site on InfoZone is being updated with additional links and information.

On behalf of the Finance and Administration Branch, Mr. Omar Saeed provided the NHSPC with their priorities resulting from the MEJHA. An environmental scan has been completed and all the tasks performed by the mail and general administration teams are being catalogued. As well, Task Hazard Analysis (THAs) will link equipment, machinery, tools and chemicals identified in the scan, to specific jobs/tasks performed. THAs for the two high risk areas (loading docks and warehouses) will be used to identify corrective measures and develop an SOP. The Committee was advised that a copy of the Warehouse Guide from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) was distributed, as a way of sharing safety information to all warehouses and mailrooms. However, there are plans to develop national guidelines and templates that will immediately focus on forklifts. As well, a national contracting process will be initiated for forklift maintenance, servicing, and training. The primary objective will be to standardize fleet, equipment and training. When the THA for forklift operations is completed, attention will be given to manual material handling and equipment, power tools, and industrial equipment (e.g. shredders, compactors). The NHSPC was advised that the timeframe for the high risk items is estimated to be first quarter of 2014.

The Employee Representatives requested further discussion on the topic of verbal aggression directed against phone agents. They require clarification regarding the messaging for the CRA’s Interactive Voice Response System. This item will be an agenda item for the next NHSPC meeting.

Wi-Fi radiation will be added to the NHSPC’s forward agenda for the committee to study.

4. WORK PLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE EFFECTIVENESS

Committee Newsletter
The NHSPC was advised that the fall edition of the WPHSC Newsletter was published on October 9, 2013, outlining topics for discussion and included important updates. The next edition in January 2014, will review the following:

      • Office Ergonomics and the Self-adjustment tool;
      • Protective footwear allocation;
      • Committee and representative inboxes;
      • Retention of documents; and,
      • A reminder regarding the importance of completing the appropriate number of meetings and inspections throughout the year.

Inspection Procedure and Guide
The Work Place Inspection Procedures and the Work Place Inspections Guide for committees and representatives have been drafted, and will be shared with the NHSPC for comment. These documents will formalize the inspection process, including the annual planning of inspections, and will also provide a full suite of tools, tips and information. Once the procedures and guide are finalized, they will be sent to the committees and will be posted on InfoZone.

Committee Scorecard
The NHSPC reviewed the mid-year scorecard and noted that while some regions have made improvements, others need to put more focus on the requirement for monthly inspections and meetings. The report also included regional and national action plans to address gaps and ensure committees’ continue to focus on their legislated responsibilities. Both Co-Chairs indicated that they would reinforce this important messaging. Mr. Doug Gaetz and Mr. Doug Mason indicated that they would recommend this topic as a standing item at the Regional Union Management Committees. As well, when the ‘Appendix A’ is automated in March/April, legislated compliance may be confirmed on a monthly basis. Another scorecard update on the measures taken will be discussed at the next NHSPC meeting.

Work Place Committee Training
An English Train-the-Trainer session was provided between November 19 and 27. The French session will be scheduled shortly. Due to a spike in participants close to the training date, additional dates for National Capital Region participants will be scheduled, so as to complete the group session component. A NHSPC Working Group will be established in the near future to begin the process by which the Work Place Committee Training will be updated.

5. OHS training for students, contractors and employees working in a region and reporting to another region

The topic of OHS training is discussed at every NHSPC meeting, when the quarterly statistics are reviewed. The Employee Representatives suggested that the Committee should look at the OHS training requirements for students working at the Agency. When considering this topic, the Committee also recognized that the training requirements for contractors, and individuals who are working in a region and reporting to another, should be addressed at the same time. The Committee agreed that OHS training is an essential component of the onboarding process. It should be standardized and structured, with the required checks and balances (e.g. onboarding checklist; pre-populate individual learning plans etc.) and this topic could be addressed as part of the work, related to the MEJHA.

6. virtual reporting

At the September NHSPC meeting, the Committee discussed the importance of documenting how health and safety issues are being handled for employees who are involved in a virtual reporting relationship. The Committee agreed that a national process should be established to ensure address employees’ health and safety requirements are being met, with a consistent approach. It is important that accountability and responsibility are delineated, and this could take the form of a Memorandum of Understanding that includes commitments regarding OHS. To support this national approach, additional guidance would be provided to management personnel.

An example of the additional guidance provided would be information related to using the on-line T4009 to report hazards, accidents and injuries, to the appropriate health and safety stakeholders such as, the manager and the local committee. This will ensure timely reporting and effective communication, so that decisive action can be taken. This Committee will be kept apprised of any progress that is made with the national process.

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Training Report

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 November 7, 2013.

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 November 7, 2013, 739 managers and 2,002 employees require Health and Safety training. The latest training statistics show the number of employees who have not received OHS training has been greatly reduced (by 34%) in the past year, and that nationally 5.6% of employees require training.

The November 2013 results for manager training, indicate that the general trend is somewhat stationary for managers who have not received training. This is likely because of the turnover in management positions and the method of identifying managers that need training within the Corporate Administrative System (CAS), changed between August and November 2013.

Work Place Violence Prevention Training:
As of November 7, 2013, the data confirms that 7,683 employees have not completed this training. The number of employees not trained in Work Place Violence Prevention continues to decline. Since February, there has been a reduction in the number of employees not trained, by almost 5,000. This shows a notable improvement and confirms this training product has been promoted effectively. However, efforts will continue to ensure positive trending.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

The Committee was provided with an update for the national OHS Communication Plan, for 2013-2014. The fall edition of the WPHSC Newsletter was issued and it covered topics such as Flu Prevention, Fire Prevention Week, Exercise Balls, and Ergonomic Coaches. In addition, information regarding the allotment for Protective Footwear was posted on the OHS Web site and this topic will be addressed in the January edition of the WPHSC Newsletter. The NHSPC was advised that a Communication Plan for 2014-2015 would be drafted and shared for review and comment.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The Employee Co-Chair was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Reports for July to September 2013. These reports were sent to regional OHS representatives, and distributed to the WPHSCs for validation purposes.

CLOSING REMARKS

At the conclusion of the meeting the NHSPC members identified new items for the next meeting and it was agreed that the Psychological Standard will be tabled for discussion, and specifically the proposed gap analysis. It was also confirmed that the Employee Representatives will be consulted during the planning phase. The Committee then reviewed potential topics that could be placed on the Forward Agenda for 2014-2015. The suggestions will be incorporated in the draft Forward Agenda that will be shared with the NHSPC before it is finalized. The NHSPC members were thanked for their valuable participation in addressing the agenda items and best wishes were extended for a happy holiday season.

The schedule for the upcoming 2014 NHSPC meetings will be February 20, May 29, September 11 and December 4.

Original signed by

Original signed by

Diane Lorenzato
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

Doug Mason
Employee Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

Date:

Date: