Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

December 13, 2012

DATE:  December 13, 2012                     TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

LOCATION:  5th Floor Boardroom, 555 MacKenzie Avenue, room 5155

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Diane Lorenzato
(Employer Co-Chair)
Mark Perlman
Sylvie McCartney
Claude Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

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

Secretary

Jaime Robinson

 

Observer(s)

Susan Fagan

Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

Ms. Lorenzato welcomed the members to the first National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting where she assumed her new role as Employer Co-Chair. She indicated that this national forum was invaluable and she understood that this Committee had collaborated successfully for many years, to promote and launch innovative health and safety initiatives.  Ms. Lorenzato indicated that she was looking forward to working with the members to advance occupational health and safety, for the benefit of all CRA employees.

Mr. Mason welcomed the new Employer Co-Chair and the other members to the last NHSPC meeting for 2012. He confirmed that he was looking forward to the afternoon’s discussions and wanted to emphasize the importance of consultation, as the Committee addresses the challenging occupational health and safety issues on the agenda.  Mr. Mason noted some concerns with the direction that this committee has lately taken especially with regards to the level of consultation for the ‘Work Place Inspections’ issue. The Employee Representatives then took the opportunity to thank Mr. Dan Danagher, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch, and Ms. Jaime Robinson, Manager, Occupational Health and Safety Group, for their presentations at the recent Union of Taxation Employees National Health and Safety Conference.

1. Work Place Inspections

The NHSPC was advised that management had provided the Employee  Co-Chair with an Issue Sheet outlining CRA’s position that a Work Place Health and Safety Committee (WPHSC) should only be inspecting areas that are considered to be part of the work place, as defined by the Canada Labour Code, Part II. Parking lots or other restricted building areas such as mechanical rooms, would not be considered to be part of the work place. On December 12, 2012, Employer and Employee representatives met to exchange information and to provide additional clarification that included interpretations from both Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Treasury Board Secretariat.

The Employee Representatives shared a differing opinion on areas to be inspected that is not in agreement with the Employer’s position.  In addition, the learner’s guide for CRA’s Workplace Health and Safety Committee Training course indicates that all work places within an establishment should be inspected (e.g., office, storage areas, maintenance areas, etc.).  Also included should be areas where normally no work is performed (e.g., parking lot, canteen, locker rooms, etc.).  These training materials were jointly developed to resolve an item arising out of a Multi-Region OHS Audit.  Training materials were revised to ensure that the section on work place inspections contains sufficient procedures, instructions and tools for conducting work place inspections.

However, the parties agreed that if a WPHSC has concerns regarding a parking lot or restricted area, they should invite the building owner, Facility Management Company, and/or Real Property Representatives, to their Committee meeting to provide further clarification, and where available, the information or related reports that will assist them in their prevention efforts. 

It was noted that further discussion was required, in order to prepare a plan to move forward. As a result, the parties agreed to meet again, and seek additional input from legislated authorities, to assist the NHSPC in closing this matter, at the March 2013 meeting.

2. Reporting elevator Issues

At the September NHSPC meeting, the Committee discussed the HRSDC reporting requirements for elevator incidents that are considered to be hazardous occurrences. The ‘Guidelines for Reporting Elevator Incidents to HRSDC’ was drafted and shared with the Employee Co-Chair on December 11, 2012, which clarified when an elevator incident should be reported to HRSDC and outlined the process to be followed.  Employee Representatives were provided with the guidelines for review and comment by January 7, 2013. The guidelines align with the Occupational Health and Safety Policy and the Procedures for Accident Investigation and Reporting. Once the guidelines are finalized they will be incorporated into the procedures, and a communiqué will be issued.

The form to be used when reporting an elevator incident, as defined by the draft guideline, is the same form used when reporting any other health and safety hazardous occurrence (the T4009 form).

The Committee was advised that incidents that should be reported to HRSDC are as follows:

  1. occurrences resulting in injury or near injury;
  2. free-falling elevators;
  3. cab doors opening to elevator shafts;
  4. entrapments that resulted in an injury or illness; and
  5. damage rendering elevator unserviceable (significant damage requiring major repair to make it operable and safe).

The NHSPC was informed that reports are not required in all cases such as, when an elevator is taken out of service. Instances of a routine and non-serious nature that do not result in injury and would be considered part of regular repairs or maintenance do not require a report. This would include minor door adjustments, elevator call responsiveness, vibrations, minor bumps, minor cab levelling, and light bulb replacement, etc.

The Employee Co-Chair indicated that the members do not have any issue with the guidelines and acknowledged the importance of issuing employee instructions for entrapments. Once this work is completed, it was agreed that this agenda item could be closed.

3. CRA OHS PRogram

The Committee was advised that as part of the OHS Program Plan, the OHS Policy has been updated using the new policy instrument template. Internal stakeholder feedback had been consolidated and the technical editing process concluded. As a result, the draft OHS Policy would be sent to the Employee  Co-Chair following the meeting, for review and comment. Once the comments have been received, the formal approval process would be initiated and finalized with the Board of Management meeting, in March 2013.

The Committee was advised that all comments received regarding the on-line version of the T4009 Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report have been reviewed and incorporated, where necessary. The Employee Co-Chair was provided with details of the changes on December 4, 2012. The implementation plan will include a short pilot in several offices, between January and February 2013. The expected launch for the on-line form would be April 2013.

4. enhanced emergency and incident reporting tool

In response to the Employee Co-Chair’s enquiry regarding access to reports (e.g. WINFAST), Ms. Sylvie McCartney from the Security and Internal Affairs Directorate provided the NHSPC with an overview of the Emergency and Incident Management Electronic Tool with an outline of its objectives, scope, expected long-term benefits, and the implementation of the application.

The tool will facilitate communication and provide non-security stakeholders, such as local WPHSCs, with access to timely information regarding emergencies and security incidents. The WPHSC will have access to emergency response plans, fire safety plans, and evacuation drill reports, along with information on local security incidents, with health and safety implications. The application will also allow the creation of multi-year reports on local security incidents, to assist in trends analysis and build on committee effectiveness.

It was agreed that the NHSPC would be provided with a demonstration of the tool at the next meeting in March 2013.

It was noted that the employee representatives have not been receiving the quarterly security and incidents reports since 2011.  Management confirmed that these reports are still available and they will become a standing agenda item for future NHSPC meetings as a written update.

5. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

Deferred Item:
The NHSPC will be provided with an update at the March 28, 2013 meeting.

6. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

Deferred Item:
The NHSPC will be provided with an update at the March 28, 2013 meeting.

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Training Report

Statistics for Health and Safety Training: The Health and Safety for Employees  e-learning training session was released to all employees on October 20, 2011. Managers will still be required to show the accompanying video, “It’s a Jungle in There” and hold a Q&A session with their employees following the completion of the e-learning training session. As of November 15, 2012, 597 managers and 3,237 employees still require Health and Safety training. To raise awareness of the health and safety courses, a message and slider were posted on InfoZone the week of September 4, 2012, to remind managers and employees to include these mandatory courses within their Individual Learning Plans.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Training: The Committee discussed the requirement for WHMIS training to be provided to employees who completed the OHS classroom training prior to the release of the e-learning module. Different options will be investigated to meet this legislated requirement, and an update would be provided to the NHSPC.

Fire Extinguisher Training: It was confirmed that Ms. Sylvie McCartney from the Security and Internal Affairs Directorate is working on Fire Extinguisher training as part of an Emergency Preparedness protocol and would share this material at the next NHSPC in March 2013.

OHS E-Learning Product for Managers: Work has begun on the conversion of the Health and Safety for Managers from an in-class presentation to an e-learning training session. It was confirmed that the Employee Representatives would be provided with an opportunity to view and comment on the training material. The new e-learning training product is expected to be launched in April 2013.

Work Place Violence Prevention Training: The Work Place Violence Prevention e-learning training session was released to all employees on October 26, 2011. This e-learning training session is mandatory for all employees, including managers. As of November 15, 2012, 13,942 employees (including managers) have not completed the Work Place Violence Prevention e-learning training session. The Employee Representatives requested an explanation for the increase in the number of employees in the Pacific Region, who require Violence Prevention training.

First Aid and AED Training: The NHSPC discussed the AED Monitoring Checklist results and it was agreed that the Questions and Answers on the OHS Web site would be updated to provide direction regarding the number of AED units that should be retrieved during a building evacuation.

Radon Testing

The NHSPC was provided with an update regarding Health Canada’s Radon Testing Program in federal buildings, in collaboration with custodian departments of real property. The Public Works and Government of Canada (PWGSC) is the custodian of buildings occupied by the CRA and is working with Health Canada to coordinate testing in Crown-owned facilities. Test results are provided to the CRA.

FAB, Real Property and Service Integration Directorate, has posted information on its Web site regarding Radon testing and the results received to date. The most current spreadsheet, containing all results received to date, is available at the National Summary of Radon Testing (InfoZone) Web site.

The NHSPC requested an update regarding the testing to be completed in  St. John’s (Humphrey Building) and at the Gatineau location (Sacré Coeur). Once this is confirmed, this item will be considered closed.

OHS Communication Plan

The Committee was informed that the OHS Web site would be updated to include flu clinic information, as well as the required forms.  A communiqué would be issued to highlight this webpage, as a resource for flu related enquiries.

Asbestos and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Report

The report related to asbestos and PCBs was provided to the Employee Co-Chair on October 22, 2012. There were two documents sent, one that was related to CRA Crown-owned facilities, and the other PWGSC leased buildings where the CRA is present.  Requests for information will be made on an ad hoc basis. The NHSPC discussed whether these reports are shared at the local level and specifically with the WPHSCs.  A request will be forwarded to Real Property to determine if these reports can be posted on its Web site.  A response will be provided to the NHSPC regarding access to this information at the local level.  Following this confirmation, this item would be considered closed.

Legionnaires Disease Testing

The NHSPC was informed that following a recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease in Quebec City, PWGSC commissioned testing at all Government of Canada buildings. As well, PWGSC worked with landlords for leased space to obtain confirmation that they have preventive maintenance practices in place in their buildings, for the control of bacteria growth in mechanical systems. PWGSC is reporting and tracking the progress on all testing.  Real Property has requested that PWGSC share the results of the bacteria testing, or confirm the preventative maintenance practices, with local management and WPHSCs.

The Committee was advised that a national communiqué was issued  October 16, 2012 on Legionnaire’s Disease and issues related to testing. Another communiqué was sent on November 7, 2012, clarifying what information would be made available to WPHSCs.

The Employee Representatives expressed concern regarding the sharing of the reports and cited a local example that resulted in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) being issued to the CRA in Sudbury. The NHPSC will be provided with an update related to this AVC.

It was also agreed that AVCs and Directions from HRSDC would be a standing item, on the NHSPC agenda.

Work Place Health and Safety Committee Effectiveness

The latest edition of the WPHSC newsletter was published on October 30, 2012. The next newsletter will be published in January 2013.

The Recommendation form was published on October 31, 2012. However, additional edits were suggested that would provide additional clarification, and the parties agreed that the revised form would be posted on the OHS Web site.

Work has begun on the next piece of the WPHSC Effectiveness project, which includes the tools and processes for WPHSCs to identify goals and objectives. All stakeholders will be consulted once the tool and processes have been prepared.

CLOSING REMARKS

Both Co-Chairs thanked everyone for their valuable participation, in addressing today’s agenda items and wished all the members a Happy Holiday season.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 28, 2013.

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: March 18, 2013

Date: March 11, 2013