Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

May 31, 2012
DATE: May 31, 2012 TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Boardroom, 200 Laurier Avenue West

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

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

Doug Mason (Interim Employee Co-Chair)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

Secretary Heather DiPenta  
Observers Susan Fagan  

OPENING REMARKS

Cheryl Fraser, Employer Co-Chair of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone to the second meeting of 2012. Ms. Fraser acknowledged Doug Mason in his role as the alternate Employee Co-Chair for the meeting.

Cheryl Fraser began the meeting by highlighting a few memorable Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) dates. Since the last meeting in March, a jointly signed communiqué regarding the National Day of Mourning was issued. A tweet was posted by the Commissioner to mark the date of April 28, 2012.  The message to all employees encouraged them to take a few moments to remember workers who have been killed or injured at work. Employees were also asked for their co-operation and support in working safely and to help identify and correct potential hazards before accidents happen.

As well, a message was issued on May 2, 2012, to highlight the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, which was from May 6 to May 12, 2012.  This year’s theme was ‘Making It Work’. The goal of NAOSH Week was to focus on the importance of preventing injury and illness. It was a great opportunity to reinforce the CRA’s commitment to the health and safety of its employees, as reflected in the OHS Program Commitment Statement* that was signed by the Committee.

Following the opening remarks, Doug Mason indicated that he was pleased to assume the Co-Chair’s role for this meeting, and looked forward to contributing to the NHSPC discussions.

1. CRA OHS PROGRAM

The Committee was reminded that the OHS Commitment Statement and the NHSPC Terms of Reference that were signed at the last meeting were posted on the InfoZone as of April 17, 2012. A communiqué was sent to the Regions on   May 1, 2012, to advise their Work Place Health and Safety Committees (WPHSCs) that a mini poster was available in a printable version, for posting on their OHS Notice Boards. The OHS Program Commitment Statement was also highlighted in the Spring edition of the Work Place Committee Newsletter.

As part of the OHS Program Plan the Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate is updating the OHS Policy, using the new template. At this point the draft policy is being reviewed by various stakeholders, including Legal Services. Once their comments have been consolidated, the OHS Policy will be shared with the NHSPC for review and feedback, before formal approvals are sought.

To conclude, Heather DiPenta provided the Committee with a brief overview of the Canada Revenue Agency’s OHS Annual Report. The presentation was positively received by the NHSPC, as it detailed the OHS highlights and achievements. It was confirmed that performance indicators (accident and injury statistics) will require further analysis to validate the statistics, the trends, and prevention measures required.  It was also noted that not all hazardous occurrences may have been captured, as it is possible that not all first aid injuries are recorded using the T4009 form.

2. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was advised that the majority of the action items identified in the JHA for Field Employees process were completed by the end of the fiscal year 2011/2012.  A conference call was held on March 5, 2012, between the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB), the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch (TSDMB), the Legislative Programs and Regulatory Affairs Branch (LPRAB) and Human Resources Branch (HRB) to discuss the flagging issue as it related to businesses, and confirm next steps in addressing the issue. As a result of discussions, it was determined that there needed to be more information provided to staff across the Agency on the process, as it relates to threats by individuals during business audits and field activities.

A communiqué was issued by FAB to all Regional Assistant Directors of Security on March 9, 2012, as a reminder of the link between businesses and individuals with regard to a threat indicator. It was confirmed that a review of the related procedures within Chapter 26’s Abuse, Threats, Stalking, and Assaults Against Employees Policy would take place, and should an amendment or clarification be required, an update would be made. As a result, the flagging issue is considered closed.

As well, the Committee was informed that the “Procedures for Field Employees Conducting Off-Site Visits” was approved on April 13, 2012, by the Assistant Commissioner of HRB.  A communiqué was posted on the InfoZone on May 2, 2012 announcing the new procedures. Several remaining items flow from the Procedures for Field Employees Conducting Off-Site Visits including training/awareness on the new procedures, as well as providing personal protective equipment to match the requirements of the procedures. In addition, work continues on larger strategic items related to ergonomics and OHS accountability for managers. It is anticipated that the remaining action items related to the procedures and those that deal with ergonomics and OHS accountability, will be addressed by the end of fiscal year 2012/2013.

Finally, the Committee was advised that an update on the progress made to finalize the JHA for Field Employees was provided to the Human Resources Committee on May 3, 2012. The Board of Management will be presented with a status update on June 19/20, 2012. Following the Board of Management’s review, a communiqué will be sent to all employees advising them that the majority of the action items have been implemented with appropriate control measures, to address the identified risks/hazards. An update to the JHA Action Report will be posted on the InfoZone in the “Job Hazard Analyses” section of the OHS Web site, outlining the implemented control measures. The Corporate OHS Group will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the remaining JHA action items to the NHSPC and various Senior Management Committees.

3. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was provided with the following updates regarding the MEJHA:

Local Site Issues

The only remaining MEJHA site-specific issues relate to IT matters.  On April 13, 2012, a conference call was held between CRA-IT and the OHS Section.  It was confirmed that the minimum solution (reflective vests, pylons, signage and flashing lights) will be implemented. Regional IT Directors were advised on April 12, 2012 of the need to procure reflective vests for their IT staff working at CBSA locations. CBSA has agreed to allow CRA-IT to use their equipment to identify lane closures for CRA-IT work to be completed. CBSA has been cooperative and expressed concern for CRA-IT health and safety issues at their sites.  CBSA agreed to work collaboratively with CRA to manage health and safety issues on a case-by-case basis, at the local and/or regional level(s). If there are difficulties in reaching a decision or obtaining action, it was agreed that the issue(s) would be escalated to the Corporate IT areas of CRA and CBSA for resolution.  In situations where there is an inability to resolve the matter at that level, then consultation with the CRA Corporate OHS Section would be sought. CRA-IT (local and national) will continue to monitor the issues and work towards finding suitable solutions to address the hazards/risks identified. 

MEJHA Working Group

The MEJHA Working Group has been established and consists of representatives from the Atlantic and Pacific Regions, FAB, TSDMB, ITB, HRB, as well as union representatives from the Union of Taxation Employees and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. The Working Group held its first meeting on March 26, 2012.  At the meeting, the Working Group reviewed the various options identified as additional control/risk reduction measures from the Phase 3 MEJHA Report. The Employee Co-Chair requested a debriefing for the members who were unable to attend and it was agreed that arrangements would be made. It was confirmed that Doug Gaetz would replace Chris Aylward on the working group, which should meet again in the fall.

Work continues on generating the report and consulting the various stakeholders. Following this, the next step will be to present to the NHSPC and Senior Management for approval, a list of recommended options which will become action items to be implemented to address the identified job risks and hazards.  On April 19, 2012, a message from the Employer and Employee Co-Chairs of the NHSPC was posted on the InfoZone to provide employees with an update on the status of the MEJHA process. 

4. Work place health and safety committee effectiveness

The Committee was provided with the following updates regarding Work Place Health and Safety Committee (WPHSC) Effectiveness:

Terms of Reference

It was announced at the meeting that the Terms of Reference template for WPHSCs was posted on the InfoZone on May 3, 2012. The template and guide were created by reviewing best practices from within the Agency and other organizations, in order to bring some consistency across the various WPHSCs, as well as to align the wording of local Terms of Reference with the updated NHSPC Terms of Reference. These documents will assist WPHSCs to update their current Terms of Reference, and also provide guidance to those WPHSCs that have not yet adopted a Terms of Reference. The guide will help WPHSCs in their discussions, which will help ensure consistency, while at the same time allow them some flexibility to create a Terms of Reference unique to their local situation. With the publication of these two documents, all Committees are expected to have a signed Terms of Reference, by the end of the fiscal year.

Recommendation Form

The Regions are currently being provided with an opportunity to review and comment on the Recommendation Form. An announcement will be made when the form is approved and posted on the InfoZone.

Newsletter

The third edition of the WPHSC newsletter was published on April 24, 2012. The Rouyn-Noranda Committee was congratulated on winning the Name the Newsletter Contest with their entry: ‘Health and Safety: Everybody’s Business’.

Benchmarking Committee Effectiveness

The Corporate OHS Section delivered a presentation that summarized its assessment and benchmarking of WPHSC effectiveness. This research was summarized by Jean-François Gagné, who also outlined the preliminary vision for the Work Place Health and Safety Committees. The NHSPC will continue to be informed on the progress of this initiative and a copy of today’s presentation will be provided to the Employee Co-Chair.

As part of the NHSPC discussion, it was noted that a few WPHSCs have appreciated being provided with access to reports such as Winfast. Providing access to this type of information will be investigated further.

Work Place Relocations

The Corporate OHS Section is looking at outlining a standard ‘WPHSC start-up package’ that could be used by WPHSCs when a new work location is created. This would help new WPHSCs understand their role when moving to a new facility and support their establishment, as a new committee.These procedures will compliment other tools that are being developed, to assist WPHSCs in their role. The Union Co-Chair indicated that Deb Ferguson would work with management on developing these procedures.

Train-the-Trainer

The Corporate OHS Section is looking at the timing related to holding a Train-the-Trainer session for the Work Place Committee Trainers, in response to a request from the Ontario region. The timing will be communicated once confirmed.

5. automated external defibrillators update

The Committee was informed that the amended Procedures for First Aid and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) were approved on April 16, 2012. Following approval, the NHSPC was advised and a communiqué was sent to the Work Site First Aid/AED Coordinators to advise them that the updated version of the procedures had been posted on the InfoZone.

It was confirmed that the First Aid and AED Directive had been provided to the NHPSC for review and comments. The Employee Co-Chair confirmed that wording regarding priority access for responders was included. The next step will be to recommend that the First Aid Health and Safety Policy should be revoked and replaced with the First Aid and AED Directive. This will be presented to the Human Resources Committee in June, and then to the Board of Management in September 2012. This will ensure that all governance documents for First Aid and AEDs are completed and approved. 

The NHSPC was advised that suggestions regarding additional language identifiers in bilingual regions had been issued, and that Work Site First Aid/AED Coordinators would be reminded to consult with the Building Emergency Organization to ensure that First Aid kits and AED units are retrieved in building evacuations, as well as fire drills.

The NHSPC was informed that the batteries for AED units are to be inspected at least monthly, if not weekly.  This requirement is part of the AED Inspection Checklist that is posted on InfoZone.

6. Work Place Inspections update

The Corporate OHS Section has been working closely with the Real Property and Service Integration Directorate (RPSID) on whether WPHSCs have the legal right to inspect parking lots used by CRA employees at crown-owned or crown-leased CRA facilities, in light of the changes to the parking arrangements with PWGSC. Legal Services were asked to provide advice with respect to parking for:

1) shift workers
2) fleet vehicles
3) visitors to CRA buildings
4) persons with a disability
5) additional operational requirements

Legal Services have advised that a parking lot is not a “workplace” unless employees are working there, which is not the case for the CRA. 

The same conclusion should be applied to areas within buildings wherein employees are not required to work. In addition to these areas not being considered as part of the workplace, in some cases these areas are only to be accessed by the building owner or by trained personnel contracted by the building owner. An example of this would be a cleaning supply room or a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) room or system.

The Committee was also informed that if a WPHSC has a concern with a building condition, a product used in the building, or the environment within the building, the WPHSC can recommend that a Real Property representative contact those responsible for the building and request a written response to the problem or concern identified. The NHSPC was advised that a WPHSC can request inspection reports for restricted areas in the building.

The employee representatives did not agree with management’s position on work place inspections. Further discussions will take place before the September NHSPC meeting amongst the employer representatives, which include appropriate Finance and Administration personnel. The NHSPC will be provided with an update on these consultations, at the next meeting.

7. Reporting Elevator Issues update

The NHSPC was advised that the Employer met with senior management representatives of PWGSC and discussed CRA’s concerns with respect to elevator issues in certain locations. At the meeting PWGSC gave their assurances that these matters would be taken seriously.  FAB will continue to work closely with PWGSC to monitor this situation.

The CRA has also consulted with HRSDC and confirmed that a reporting requirement exists for situations that could impact CRA employee’s health and safety. FAB is drafting the reporting protocols that would clarify the circumstances that would require a hazardous occurrences report to HRSDC, and HRSDC is in agreement with this approach. HRSDC further indicated that regular maintenance repairs or minor repairs that would not impact employee’s health and safety did not need to be reported to them. However, internal reporting of elevator maintenance issues is important for prioritizing repairs and replacements.

FAB is examining the types of occurrences that result in a call being made to an elevator repair firm via PWGSC and the types of events that would require a more urgent response. Situations such as entrapments are categorized as “emergency”, as well as other malfunctions that may impact the integrity of the elevating device. A proposal was made to have this category used as one of the main criteria for reporting elevator hazardous occurrences to HRSDC. A draft protocol is in the process of being finalized and following a review by the key stakeholders including PWGSC, it will be shared with the NHSPC for review and comment. Once the reporting protocol has been finalized, FAB will proceed with its communication and implementation.

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 April 27, 2012, 826 managers and 6,148 employees still require Health and Safety training. The union representatives expressed concern about the increase in the number of employees and managers to be trained. Management will provide more information to explain the increases.

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 April 27, 2012, 23,799 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.  It has been confirmed that all the RBAs (108 in total), have completed their certification.

The Union requested an invitation to attend the RBA training and a brief training overview for the NHSPC members who would not be able to attend. It was confirmed that arrangements would be made to respond to this request.

Over the next fiscal year (2012-2013), the Finance and Administration Branch (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 Defibrillator (AED) Training: 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 (WPHSCs) on February 8, 2012, to reinforce the use of the appropriate template. As well, in May 2012, a message was sent to the Work Site First Aid/AED Coordinators to provide the WHPSCs 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.  The Employee Co-Chair advised that employees have a “right to know” and as such, it was recommended that the NHSPC issue a national statement to explain the results of the Radon Testing to reassure employees. The union believes that radon testing should not be limited to crown-owned buildings. If radon gas is a potential health concern, then all buildings occupied by CRA employees should be tested for radon gas.

OHS Communication Plan

The Committee was provided with an update for the national OHS Communication Plan for 2012-2013.

CLOSING REMARKS

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

The next meeting is scheduled for September 13, 2012.

Original signed by

Original signed by

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

July 26, 2012

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

July 19, 2012

Date:

Date:

* indicates a link to InfoZone, an internal CRA website