Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

June 2, 2011
DATE: June 2, 2011  TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Avenue West

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Cheryl Fraser (Management Co-Chair)
Bill Doering
Thérèse Awada
Claude Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

Betty Bannon (Union Co-Chair)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)

Absent Filipe Dinis  
Secretary Heather DiPenta  
Observers Jaime Robinson
Karine Auclair
Jean-François Gagné
Jean-François Prégent (PIPSC)
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)
Guest

Roy Walker
Director
Real Property Solutions Division
Finance and Administration Branch

Jennifer Richardson
Consultant
Resource Environmental Associates Limited

Jane Gowland
Consultant
Resource Environmental Associates Limited

 

OPENING REMARKS

Cheryl Fraser, Management Co-Chair of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), chaired the meeting.

The Co-Chairs welcomed everyone to the second meeting of 2011. The Committee recognized Betty Bannon’s accomplishments in her many years as Union Co-Chair of the Committee, even before a Policy Committee had been legislated.

The Management Co-Chair informed the Committee that a jointly signed memorandum regarding the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week had been distributed on May 2, 2011.

The Committee was also informed that, further to commitments made at the last meeting, electronic copies of the NHSPC Pandemic Communication Plan had been shared with them, in both official languages, on May 4, 2011. It was agreed that the Pandemic Communication Plan agenda item was considered closed.

1. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was advised that a national email was sent on May 3, 2011, to all employees advising them of the status of the JHA for Field Employees, and linking them to the JHA Action Report. This information was also posted on CRA This Week, providing staff with another way to access the report. An update on this issue was presented to the Human Resources Committee on May 27, 2011, and would also be presented to the Board of Management on June 7, 2011.

It is expected that the majority of the action items will be completed by the end of the fiscal year 2011-2012. The Committee was informed that the Working Group would continue to implement the action items, and that, at the Union’s request, a chart would be prepared to track these action items for reporting progress to the Committee.

2. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

Since the last NHSPC meeting, Resource Environmental Associates (REA) had visited sites across the country, performing formal and informal interviews with employees, managers, work place committee members, union officials and security personnel, along with site observations, as part of Phase II. The Report was shared with the Committee on May 9, 2011. Jennifer Richardson, from REA, presented their findings to the Committee. Following the presentation, REA agreed to look into the Committee’s comments and update the report accordingly.

Over the summer, REA will prepare their Phase III Report, which will include options, along with their pros and cons, to address any identified hazards. The Phase III Report will be distributed to members prior to the September meeting.

It was agreed that the MEJHA Working Group would look at the report and develop a summary, analyzing the feedback obtained by REA during the site visit interviews. The Committee will also share information with the regions regarding some health and safety issues that were raised during the course of REA’s visit.

3. INformation technology (it) employees who work at cbsa border locations (cbsa arming initiative)

The Committee was informed that the final draft of the Guidelines was sent to the Union, who provided comments on May 4, 2011. The Guidelines were then revised and approved by the Assistant Commissioner of the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) on May 5, 2011, and posted on InfoZone on May 25, 2011.

The Committee was also advised that the National IT Support Division, Distributed Services Directorate, Information Technology Branch (ITB), is planning to have the Guidelines sent to all regional IT employees, since there is a possibility that any of them could be required to work at a CBSA location, even if they are not currently supporting a border site.

The Committee agreed that this item was closed.

4. Violence prevention in the work place regulation

The draft Work Place Violence Prevention Policy was approved by the Agency Management Committee on April 20th, and was provided to the Board of Management on June 7th. As a result of further discussion that took place within the June 2nd NHSPC meeting regarding two sections of the policy, the management representatives of the Committee agreed to re-examine the policy wording. Once this review has been completed, and the final version shared with all relevant parties, it is expected that the Policy would be released.

The Committee was advised that work has begun on developing the prototype for the Work Place Violence Prevention Awareness Session. A link to the draft prototype was sent to the Working Group on May 31, 2011 and the Working Group is scheduled to meet on June 9, 2011 to provide feedback and discuss next steps. Every attempt will be made to release the awareness session at the same time as the release of the Policy.

5. AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDs)

The Committee was advised that the AED Initiative had been launched on May 5, 2011, and that the response had been extremely positive, as the AEDs are considered to be a major advancement for Occupational Health and Safety in the Agency.

As part of the launch of the initiative, employees were provided with a link to the new AED Website that provides an overview of the Initiative, relevant documentation such as the AED Procedures, and a Questions and Answers section. The content of this Website had been shared with the Committee for review on April 4, 2011.

The Committee was also informed that the training of First Aid and AED responders had been a success, since at least 1,522 employees had received training by March 31, 2011. Training sessions continue to be scheduled in every region.

Finally, the Committee was advised that the OHS section went to the Treasury Board Secretariat OHS Bi-Monthly meeting on May 11, 2011, to share the CRA experience with AEDs.

The Committee agreed to close this item, and that reports on the levels of First Aid training across the Agency would be included as part of the training statistics provided to the Committee as a separate written update.

6. update of the ohs awareness session for employees

The e-learning Health and Safety Awareness Session for Employees is currently being translated, and is expected to be finalized as anticipated in July 2011. The Working Group is looking at options regarding release dates.

The Committee was informed that the outdated video clip, which featured the former Management Co-chair in the Awareness Session, was replaced by a new one, and that a new clip will also be added for the new Union Co-chair once identified by the Union.

7. Emergency Awareness (June 23rd earthquake – post mortem report)

The Committee was informed that the new on-line training course for Responsible Building Authorities (RBA) had been piloted between April 1 and April 7, 2011, and was well-received by the participants. Two RBAs from each region, including HQ, volunteered to participate in the pilot. The course will be implemented in late June 2011, and RBAs would be required to complete the course by September in order to receive their certification. The Committee requested a copy of the names of the pilot participants, and will be provided with the list secretarially.

Management agreed to look into the possibility of providing the Unions with an access to the online RBA course, as well as support some Union member’s participation in the course. The Committee was advised that the call letter for the RBA training requested that two people be trained in each building. The Committee was also advised that a similar training course, without formal certification, will be developed for the Chief Building Emergency Officers (CBEO). The Committee requested that updates related to this training be included as part of the training statistics provided to the Committee as a separate written update.

The Committee was reminded that it had been provided with copies of the Employee’s Guide to Emergency Situations, which was distributed to all employees during Emergency Preparedness Week, in May 2-7, 2011.

The Committee agreed that this item should now be considered closed.

8. Radon testing

The Committee was informed that testing is almost complete, and most results have been received. While the majority of building radon levels were within guidelines in the areas tested, Health Canada recommended that secondary testing be completed in three locations. The CRA is awaiting the associated reports. Testing devices will also be deployed to remaining selected locations.

The Unions expressed concerns that not every Government of Canada building in the National Capital Region (NCR) was tested for radon levels and that reporting timelines were lengthy.

The most current spreadsheet, containing all results received to date, is available at the following link: http://infozone/english/r2870201/RPSID-DBIIS/nrpsol-snmbi/radon/NationalRadonSep-eng.asp, and it was agreed that this link would also be made available on the Occupational Health and Safety Website. It was also agreed that further information would be provided to the Committee regarding long-term radon testing.

9. Cell phone directive

The Committee was informed that the Cell Phone Directive had been shared with the Unions for consultation on May 6, 2011, by the Union-Management Relations Section. To address the health and safety component included in the Directive, the Human Resources Branch was asked by AMC to prepare a guide to raise employee awareness about driving safety, including the use of Bluetooth devices. This guide will be shared with the Committee for comment and feedback prior to its release.

10. bedbug exposure during work-related travel

The Committee was informed that the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) was not aware of any cases of bedbugs involving CRA travellers. However, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), as the publisher of the government hotel directory, has received complaints from federal government travellers. When they received such complaints, they ensured that the hotel in question took appropriate measures to eliminate the problem. PWGSC was not aware of any complications arising from any of these incidents such as subsequent fumigation of traveller belongings or traveller’s requiring special medical treatment.

FAB would continue to monitor the situation and assist any CRA employee facing this issue on a case by case basis. Assistance includes providing direction and support to the employee and their manager, engaging PWGSC who would bring the weight of the federal government as a whole to support employee requests when dealing with hotels in question, and could include other measures such as compensating employees as warranted.

As a prevention aspect, it was agreed that information related to bedbugs would be posted on the Occupational Health and Safety Website. The Union provided the Committee with some examples of related prevention information, including an information sheet that was provided to employees in one Quebec Region office.

It was agreed that bedbug infestations, or physical reactions due to bedbug exposure that can be directly attributable to work-related travel, would be treated as an occupational health and safety issue handled on a case by case basis.

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Health and Safety Training for Managers and OHS Awareness Session for Employees

As of May 13, 2011, 1,095 managers and 8,731 employees still required training. The Management Co-chair of the Committee deemed it unacceptable that 25% of employees were untrained. In order to remedy this situation, it was agreed that a message would be sent to management indicating that OHS training should be deemed as a priority and completed as soon as possible. The Committee would also look into options of making a connection between OHS training and employee Individual Learning Plans, and to having local work place health and safety committees involved in the monitoring and reporting on the training that is being conducted locally.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Committee members were thanked for their valuable participation.

In her final words to the Committee, Betty Bannon reminded Management that, since assuming the role of Committee Co-Chair, for at least 15 years before Policy Committees had been made mandatory, the Committee has always ensured that the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and any other direction by Treasury Board were considered a minimum on which the Agency could build it’s own direction. She also reminded Management of its commitment, taken on the eve of becoming an Agency, that employees would never lose any OHS protection granted to them by the directives carried over from the National Joint Council.

The Committee was reminded that the next meeting was scheduled for September 8, 2011.

Original signed by

Cheryl Fraser
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

August 22, 2011 
Date

Original signed by
 
Chris Aylward for
Betty Bannon
Union Co-chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

August 16, 2011 
Date