Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

September 8, 2011
DATE: September 8, 2011 TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Boardroom, 200 Laurier Avenue West

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Dan Danagher (Employer Co-Chair)
Thérèse Awada
Claude Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

Chris Aylward (Employee Co-Chair)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

Absent

Cheryl Fraser
Filipe Dinis

 
Secretary Heather DiPenta  
Observers

Susan Fagan
Ivana Pavić
Jean-François Gagné

Jean-François Prégent (PIPSC)
Laura Ann Ross (PIPSC)

Guests

Jennifer Richardson
Consultant (Resource Environmental Associates Limited)

Jane Gowland
Consultant (Resource Environmental Associates Limited)

 

OPENING REMARKS

Chris Aylward, Employee Co-Chair of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), chaired the meeting, and welcomed everyone to the meeting. He stated that he was certain that, in his new role as Employee Co-Chair, the good working relationship that had been developed over time by the Committee members would continue to provide the employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with a safe and healthy work environment. He then indicated that Doug Mason would act as his alternate, and that he would provide the name of the new UTE representative on the Committee once that person is identified at their next Executive Council meeting.

Dan Danagher, Employer Co-Chair, informed the Committee that Ms. Fraser wished to be at the meeting, but was unavailable. He extended his congratulations to Chris Aylward on his successful election to the position of First National Vice-President, as well as to the new UTE executive. Finally, he reiterated Management’s opinion that the NHSPC was a very effective and productive joint Union-Management committee.

The Committee was informed that the CRA Emergency Management Framework had been presented to the Board of Management and posted on InfoZone. A link to the Website was provided on July 7, 2011.

1. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was informed that the Board of Management (the Board) was provided with an update on the progress of the JHA for Field Employees on June 7, 2011. A written update was also provided to the NHSPC Committee on the status of the action items on September 1, 2011. The Human Resources Branch (HRB) further stated to the Committee that they will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the implementation of the JHA action items to the Committee. It is expected that the majority of the action items will be completed by the end of the fiscal year 2011-2012.

Finally, the Union requested that the JHA for Field Employees section on the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Website be updated to include status updates. Management agreed to look into the request and will provide a response.

2. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was advised that, further to being informed of the local health and safety issues identified by Resource Environmental Associates (REA) during their site visits, the Assistant Commissioner (AC) of the Human Resources Branch (HRB) sent a notice to the ACs of the affected regions on June 30, 2011, and requested a status update regarding corrective measures. On the same day, a letter was sent from the AC of HRB to the Vice-President of Human Resources (HR) at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to request their assistance in addressing the immediate issues identified for the information technology (IT) staff at the CBSA co-located sites. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section was currently working with all stakeholders to address these issues. A summary of the responses had been prepared and shared with the NHSPC on September 1, 2011.

The Committee was also informed that on August 15, 2011, REA’s draft Phase III Report, which included options, along with their pros and cons, to address any hazards identified in the Phase II Report, was distributed to NHSPC members. REA presented the Phase III Report to the Committee. The next steps for the MEJHA would be to set-up a working group of branch representatives in order to finalize the list of recommended options and develop a plan for implementation.

The Committee was informed that, on August 23, 2011, a meeting of the Working Group was held to discuss the concerns raised at the June 2, 2011, NHSPC meeting surrounding Appendix 4 of the Phase II Report. All concerns were addressed and clarified at that meeting.

Finally, the Unions raised concerns over a number of items related to the written update provided on the status of the MEJHA local site issues in relation to confirmation of completion, and specific dates for completion, on a number of the issues. Management agreed to go back to the Regions to receive these updates.

3. Violence prevention in the work place regulation

The Committee was advised that the examples under section 6.1 of the policy had been removed, further to the Unions’ request at the June 2, 2011 NHSPC meeting. However, it was decided the link to the Preventing and Resolving Harassment Policy would remain in its current location. This approach would inform the reader of the applicable policies and processes that applied to employees who wish to submit a harassment complaint. The Committee was provided a final copy of the policy on July 8, 2011, and informed that no further amendments would be made to the policy.

The Committee was advised that the expected launch date for the Work Place Violence Prevention Policy was September 2011, and that HRB has been working on the official communication package.

The Violence Prevention Working Group met several times over the summer to review the prototype of the e-learning product, which was expected to be ready for release shortly after the launch of the policy in the fall 2011.

The Unions raised concerns over the timing and requirement for all employees to take part in this training. Management informed the Union that this training would be mandatory for all employees. The communication pieces would reflect the requirement for all employees to take the training, and that they are to be provided sufficient time to complete the e-learning product. Furthermore, the communication would remind employees to register for the e-learning product via ESS in order to ensure the training was tracked within the CAS system.

As well, the Union requested that within the Before you Begin section of the e-learning product, the reference to the training being a “refresher” should be removed as the training is new and mandatory for all employees.

The Unions informed the Committee that it would continue to advise their members to file complaints under Regulation XX of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, to address bullying in the work place issues.

Finally, the Committee was informed that this item would be considered closed; however, updates would be provided on the progress of the Work Place Violence Prevention training product within the Training Report Written Update at subsequent meetings.

4. health and safety for employees e-learning product

The Committee was advised that further to a discussion which took place between the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Section and the Union representative on the Working Group on June 27, 2011, an agreement was reached to proceed with the current title.

The Committee was also informed that the Health and Safety for Employees e-learning product had been completed. Before the official release of the new product, a new video clip featuring the new Employee Co-Chair would be filmed. It was expected that this would take place in September 2011. Once the new video clip was inserted into the e-learning product, it would be ready for release in October 2011. As well, it was agreed that the communication pieces accompanying the release of the e-learning product will include a reminder to employees to register for the e-learning product via Employee Self-Service (ESS) in order to ensure that the training will be tracked within the Corporate Administrative Systems (CAS).

Finally, the Committee was informed that, since the e-learning product was scheduled to be launched in the near future, the item would now to be considered closed.

5. Driver safety

The Committee was advised that, in order to address the health and safety component included in the Cell Phone Directive, the OHS Section would be adding a Web page to their OHS Website on “Driver Safety”. This page would include links and information on driver safety including a table from Transport Canada that depicted the legal restrictions in regard to driver distractions by province, including cell phone use while driving. The Web page was expected to go live in September 2011, and as such, the item would now be considered closed.

6. bedbug exposure during work-related travel

The Committee had been provided with a draft information page on August 19, 2011, for their review and comments. The draft page outlined basic information for employees on bedbugs, as well as links to the Health Canada Web pages dealing with bedbugs.

The Committee was reminded that managers would be encouraged to deal with bedbug issues on a case-by-case basis, and to consult with the Financial Policy Project Team Leader, Mobility Unit, as well as their regional Workplace Relations Centre of Expertise.

The Committee agreed to look into adding guidelines regarding what employees should immediately do when they find themselves with a bedbug situation. The Committee also agreed to look into a couple of cases to understand how they were handled in order to adjust any information in the communication piece if necessary. This issue was considered closed.

7. Occupational health and safety communication plan

The Committee was advised that the new draft Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Communication Plan had been shared with the Committee on September 2, 2011.

The objectives of the Communication Plan are: to be proactive in managing the Agency’s various OHS communications on a yearly basis; to ensure frequent and regular communication on OHS is provided to all employees; and to highlight the timing, subjects and types of OHS related communication that takes place.

The Committee would be provided with all OHS Policy and Program related communication products. The Unions committed to providing their comments on the Communication Plan by the end of September 2011.

8. Work place health and safety committee effectiveness

The Committee was reminded that the Phase II report of the Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) indicated that employees, employee representatives and managers felt that local Work Place Health and Safety Committees functioned effectively. In order to further support the Work Place Health and Safety Committees, and to assist in enhancing their effectiveness, new initiatives had been identified that would further this goal and capitalize on opportunities for improvement.

Among these initiatives are a revised Work Place Committee minutes template, with a new Appendix to the minutes that would allow the Work Place Committees to keep better track of their reporting items to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) throughout the year, which had been shared with the Committee for feedback on August 19, 2011. The Union would provide its feedback on these documents shortly, but was pleased and supportive of the approach.

The Committee was informed that several initiatives were under development, including a new Work Place Committee Terms of Reference template; a quarterly newsletter for Work Place Committees, highlighting items, topics or issues they might wish to discuss; and a redesigned Health and Safety Website, with a page dedicated to Work Place Committees. The Committee would be provided with the documentation related to these initiatives for review and comment.

9. security measures for montreal tso

The Committee was informed that perimeter security cameras at the Montreal TSO had been upgraded. While some employees had received threatening phone calls and been subject to anonymous correspondence, the appropriate security measures had been taken in all cases, and no new cases had been raised since March.

The Committee would look into whether or not cameras had also been installed indoors. Following a response, this item would be considered closed.

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Training Report

Health and Safety Training: At the June 2, 2011, NHSPC meeting, the Committee members raised a concern over the increase in numbers of employees requiring training. It was agreed that a message would be sent to management to remind them of the importance and requirement of OHS training.

A discussion took place with the regional Labour Relations Advisor responsible for OHS and the Assistant Regional Directors of Human Resources on June 21, 2011 to advise the regions of the concern and request their intervention in improving the numbers. A subsequent message was sent to the regions August 4, 2011 to request an update as to the action taken. A summary document of the actions taken is attached.

As of August 19, 2011, 1,172 managers and 6,757 employees still require Health and Safety training.

As a follow-up to the concerns raised above, a complete list of managers and employees that still require health and safety training will be provided to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) for action to be taken by the Assistant Commissioners (AC) from each region.

Responsible Building Authority (RBA) Course: The Committee will be provided with the training numbers after the training is officially rolled out, as the product is still under development. Thirteen individuals participated in the training pilot.

First Aid and Automated External Defibrillators (AED): A system is currently being put in place that will require the Work Place Committees to report these numbers on a quarterly basis. A report on the number of employees who have received First Aid and AED training, is being prepared. It is expected that the information will be prepared for the December 1, 2011 NHSPC meeting.

Radon Testing

Health Canada is undertaking a 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.

The Finance and Administration Branch (FAB), Real Property and Service Integration Directorate, has posted information on its website regarding Radon testing and the results received to date. 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

Furthermore, the Committee was provided with a written response to its question related to the conduct of the radon tests on September 6, 2011.

The Committee would look into whether or not radon testing would be done for its buildings not owned by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). It was noted that the current tests were completed in the context of a Health Canada and PWGSC initiative.

CLOSING REMARKS

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

The next meeting would be scheduled for December 1, 2011.

Original signed by
                                                 
Dan Danagher for
Cheryl Fraser
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety
   Policy Committee

November 4, 2011 
Date

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

November 2, 2011             
Date