Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

March 1, 2012
DATE: March 1, 2012 TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Avenue West

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Cheryl Fraser (Employer    Co-Chair)
Mark Perlman
Thérèse Awada
Claude P. Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

Chris Aylward (Employee     Co-Chair)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)

Secretary Heather DiPenta  
Observers

Susan Fagan
Jaime Robinson

Jean-François Prégent (PIPSC)
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

Chris Aylward, Employee Co-Chair of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), chaired the meeting, and welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2012.

Cheryl Fraser, Employer Co-Chair acknowledged the effective and ongoing discussions between the members of the Committee. In particular, she highlighted the valuable input provided on the newly launched Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) products and initiatives. This included updates to the OHS Web site and the e-learning productsfor Work Place Violence Prevention and the Health and Safety for Employees.

As well, Ms. Fraser focused on the milestone that was reached with the update to the Terms of Reference for the NHSPC, and the development of an OHS Program Commitment Statement. These documents reflect the Committee’s dedication to health and safety, and its commitment to continuous improvement. To mark the occasion, the Co-Chairs participated in an official signing ceremony of these documents.

Following the signing ceremony, Ms. Fraser stated that she was confident that the Committee would continue to reach notable milestones throughout 2012.  

1. cra OHS PROGRAM

The Committee was reminded that the OHS Program Commitment Statement was abbreviated and this version was shared with the Committee on February 6, 2012. It was confirmed that Workplace Health and Safety Committees (WPHSCs) and Representatives would be requested to post this version on their OHS bulletin boards, to reaffirm both the Canada Revenue Agency and the NHSPC’s commitment to health and safety. These documents would be made available on InfoZone, and the WPHSCs would be provided with the links via the next WPHSC Newsletter.

2. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was advised that the project team met on January 11, 2012, to finalize the content of the draft “Procedures for Field Employees Conducting    Off-Site Visits” and discuss next steps. It was determined that the content of the draft guidelines were best suited to “procedures” as they provide a set of mandatory step-by-step instructions on how to conduct off-site visits that cover various situations that field officers may encounter. These procedures address 89 of the 114 action items and are expected to be completed by the end of the fiscal year 2011-2012 as initially anticipated. The NHSPC was advised that training and/or awareness associated with the procedures would be provided to field employees, following the approval of the procedures.

The Directors General Steering Committee (DGSC) met on February 13, 2012, to discuss the Human Resources Branch (HRB) action items and confirm the completion of the HRB and Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) action items, which were presented to the DGSC on November 23, 2011.

At the meeting, the DGSC agreed that the flagging issue was the only outstanding issue of the HRB/FAB action items. It was agreed that the stakeholder Branches (Compliance Programs Branch (CPB), Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch (LPRAB) and Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch (TSDMB)) would review their field employee access to threat indicators and a follow-up conference call was scheduled for March 5, 2012, to discuss next steps in resolving the flagging issue.

The DGSC also confirmed that the other outstanding HRB action items are as follows: 

      • The information regarding first aid kits in vehicles was posted on the Driver Safety Web page in November 2011, and reference to its requirement is contained in the Procedures document, which is to be released before the end of March 2012.
      • The asbestos and mould communication sheets are expected to be implemented by the end of fiscal 2011/2012. 
      • Finally, the remaining HRB Action items are expected to be implemented by the end of the next fiscal year (2012/2013). They include: Ergonomic information updates (such as more frequent / better publicized instructions for users on proper workstation set-up; OHS accountability for managers (i.e. update to OHS Web site to include a section on managerial leadership for health and safety); a reference to managerial OHS responsibilities within the OHS Commitment Statement; and similar statements incorporated into the OHS Policy updates.

The HRB is working with ITB to have the closed items listed on InfoZone and will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the implementation of the JHA action items to the NHSPC, and the various Senior Management Committees.

3. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was informed that a call letter was sent to the implicated branches/regions and national unions, to establish a Working Group for the Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA). The invitation for the first meeting was forwarded February 29, 2012, for a meeting date of March 26, 2012.  The mandate of the Working Group is to determine which options should be recommended to address the various hazards and/or risks, based on the final MEJHA report. These recommendations would then be shared with the NHSPC and Senior Management for approval.

An update was provided on the MEJHA local site issues. A conference call was held on January 20, 2012, with CRA Information Technology Branch (ITB), the union, the Pacific Region, and the OHS Section of the Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate to discuss the local site issues identified. The outcome of the call resulted in the issue of the quarantine room being closed, following confirmation from Health Canada officials that the room is used for storage only.

Local IT management in consultation with the HQ ITB continue to assess the site-specific accommodation issues, with monitoring by the OHS Section. At a regional Assistant Director’s meeting held on December 15, 2011, IT management identified three options to address IT staff working at the Primary Inspection Lanes (PILs):

      • Minimum solution: reflective vests, pylons, signage and flashing lights;
      • Medium solution: work required in middle two lanes would result in shutting down of both lanes; and/or
      • Permanent solution: reinforced drop bars currently being installed at some newer sites should be installed at all major and new sites (currently these types of bars are being put in place at some newer sites).

The OHS Section advised IT management that as a hazard has been identified, action should be taken to implement, at least, the minimum solution to reduce the risk to employees. Further discussions with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are required prior to implementing the other proposed options, as the PILs are within CBSA jurisdiction. 

It has been confirmed by the lift maintenance company, MasonLift Ltd, that their technicians are certified Ticketed Journeymen who are trained in all facets of the company’s operations. To become a Ticketed Journeyman, one must follow an apprenticeship program, which requires training (including on-the-job), and a series of tests, including a certification exam. This information was shared with the union on February 21, 2012, and the Committee agreed that this issue could now be closed.

The NHSPC was advised that in the Atlantic Region, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and CRA management in Summerside have confirmed that there were no deficiencies identified following a review of the dust collection system in the shredder room. An assessment of the dust particles found results to be below the maximum standard. The system was supplier-installed and was CSA certified. There have been no alterations to the system since installation, and the system has operated safely for the last 18 years. The shredder is in a concealed compartment and there are safety guards and rails installed on the platform to protect the employee operating the shredder. It was confirmed that the PWGSC and CRA management in Summerside believe that the system is safe. PWGSC maintains a monthly and weekly preventative maintenance schedule on the dust collector system. In addition, CRA staff visually check the blades and belt monthly, and the blades are replaced approximately every six months. The union was provided a copy of the Indoor Air Quality report and preventative maintenance schedules related to the dust collection system in the shredder room on February 22, 2012. Following the update for this local site MEJHA issue, the Committee agreed that it would now be considered closed.

4. Work place health and safety committee effectiveness

The Committee was informed that the draft Terms of Reference template for Work Place Health and Safety Committees (WPHSCs), as well as the draft guide, were shared with the union and the regions on February 8, 2012. The template was created in order to assist WPHSCs that have not yet adopted Terms of Reference, as well as those Committees that have Terms of Reference, but need to renew them. It was agreed that this would help bring some consistency, as well as align the wording with the updated NHSPC Terms of Reference. The template would be published with a guide to help the Committees in their discussions and to ensure consistency. At the same time, it would allow the Committees some flexibility, to create a Terms of Reference unique to their local situation. Once stakeholder feedback and comments have been consolidated, the documents would be finalized, published and distributed via the regional Workplace Relations Centres of Expertise, as well as posted on the OHS Web site. All Committees that have not adopted Terms of Reference would be expected to do so by the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The NHSPC was also advised that the second WPHSC Newsletter was published on February 8, 2012.  As well, work has begun on a new initiative to create a document that would help WPHSCs formulate effective recommendations. The draft Recommendation Form was shared with the union and would be shared with the Regions to finalize this form, at which point it would be presented to the NHSPC.

The NHSPC also agreed that it would look at how to measure WPHSC effectiveness, by benchmarking with other public and private organizations.

5. automated external defibrillators update

The Committee was advised that the unions and other internal CRA stakeholders have provided their feedback on the draft First Aid and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Policy. However, the recommendation from the Corporate Policy Governance Division is that this document should be a Directive versus a Policy. The First Aid and AED Directive would support the overarching OHS Policy, which is currently being updated. The NHSPC was informed that a Directive would still carry the same weight and authority as a Policy, in regard to adherence and monitoring requirements. The Directive would flow from the OHS Policy and provide formal direction. The NHSPC agreed to consult further on this matter and determine the appropriate governance document for First Aid and AEDs.

It was also confirmed that the First Aid and AED Procedures would be amended to include the retrieval of AED units, during a building evacuation and any additional feedback related to the content of the Directive would be considered and incorporated. 

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Training Report

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 February 1, 2012, 576 managers and 5,357 employees still require Health and Safety training.

Work has begun on the conversion of the Health and Safety for Managers from an in-class presentation to an e-learning training session. The new e-learning training session is expected to be completed by December 2012 with a launch date in early January 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 February 1, 2012, 35,621 employees (including managers) have not completed the Work Place Violence Prevention e-learning training session.

Responsible Building Authority (RBA) Certification Program: The RBA Certification Program was released on December 19, 2011, as planned. The RBAs were requested to complete their certification by February 10, 2012.  As of February 13, 2012, 103 of the 108, or 95% of all RBAs have completed their certification.

The Union requested a presentation or overview of the RBA training, at the next NHSPC meeting.

Over the next fiscal year (2012-2013), FAB will be developing a suite of automated tools, such as Emergency Management Electronic Tools, that will further assist CRA employees and management in meeting their emergency management planning, testing and reporting requirements.

First Aid and Automatic External Defibrillators (AED): The new Appendix A, Work Place Health and Safety Report was implemented on October 7, 2011. However, since this is a new tool, a message was included in the Newsletter to the Work Place Health and Safety Committees on February 8, 2012, to reinforce the use of the appropriate template. As well, a message will be sent to the Work Site First Aid/AED Coordinators to provide the Work Place Committees with their training records, so that these numbers are reported, as part of the meeting minutes.

Radon Testing

The Committee was provided with an update regarding Health Canada’s Radon Testing Program in federal buildings, in collaboration with custodian departments of real property. 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* Web site.

The current tests were completed in the context of a Health Canada and PWGSC initiative. The NHSPC has been advised that only crown-owned buildings would be tested for Radon.

OHS Communication Plan

The Committee was provided with an update for the national OHS Communication Plan for 2011-2012. It was confirmed that the Committee will be provided with the Communication Plan for 2012-2013, as soon as it becomes available.

CLOSING REMARKS

Both Co-Chairs thanked everyone for their valuable participation, in addressing today’s agenda items.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 31, 2012.

Original signed by

Original signed by

Cheryl Fraser
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

May 29, 2012

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

May 23, 2012

Date:

Date:

* indicates a link to InfoZone, an internal CRA website