Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting - Record of the discussions

June 19, 2003

1. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS (CUSTOMS INSPECTORS AND SUPERINTENDENTS)

The following table is a record of the discussions that took place at the June 19, 2003 National Health and Safety Policy Committee meeting on the recommendations contained in the Job Hazard Analysis for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents. They have been given an identifying number (from 1 to 31) for ease of reference only.

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Recommendations

Record of Discussions

1

Customs Services should develop a "Safety and Health Committee and Representative Policy and Standard" and develop a system of accountability for its formation and its functionality. Each committee should develop its own terms of reference and comply with applicable regulations. Customs Services should consider an independent audit of Committees" operation within 12 months of policy implementation.

The Committee agreed with the essence of the recommendation, but discussed the possibility of developing a generic Terms of Reference, which local Work Place Committees could tailor, where necessary, to reflect realities at their specific work location. It was noted that HRDC-Labour has an outline of what should be included in a Work Place Committee"s Terms of Reference that could be used as a guide.

2

Every Customs Services facility should have a bulletin board or facsimile installed in a common and accessible area, dedicated solely to employee health and safety. The Canada Labour Code-Part II, the Safety and Health Policy and other relevant material would be posted and maintained at this location.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

3

Each Customs Services workplace should dedicate a section of the Safety and Health Bulletin Board to the Safety and Health Committee. It should include, at minimum, the names of committee members; a meeting schedule; meeting minutes; inspection schedule and reports; and other relevant material.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

4

To ensure a system of health and safety accountability exists for the Superintendent function, the “Accountability Agreement” format should be restructured. The document should, at minimum, identify health and safety objectives, responsibilities, expected activities and performance measures. As an initiative for reducing workplace accidents, Canada Customs should consider adopting the same criteria for all management levels.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and discussed the need for the NHSPC to be involved in the development of the Accountability Agreement.

5

Customs Inspectors, who are being promoted to the acting Superintendent position, should receive the necessary development and orientation before assuming the temporary role. The program should be formal with an established agenda including the health and safety responsibilities of a supervisor.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. However, it was noted that because of the nature of “acting appointments” (short notice, size of workforce at a specific location, etc.) it would be difficult to ensure that every CI placed in a temporary acting position would have received the necessary training. Management acknowledged that the recommendation would be a challenge, and committed to look at various options to find a solution.

6

Customs Services should establish a formal system of accident/incident communications that ensures:

  • all serious accidents and near-miss incidents are communicated immediately to a central location at headquarters,
  • based on details received, headquarters prepares an accident/near-miss incident bulletin and distributes it nationally, by E-Mail or fax to all work locations and the CEUDA national office,
  • upon receipt of the accident/near-miss incident bulletin, local management will evaluate the appropriateness to the local work environment and if applicable will provide copies to all Superintendents and Work Place Safety and Health Committee Chairpersons, and post a copy in the workplace.

The Committee agreed that the local Work Place Committee should be involved in the evaluation of the bulletins and should make recommendations to local Management as to whether the information was pertinent to that particular work location.

7

Customs Services should develop a computer-based Hazard/Incident form where specific fields must be completed before the form can be printed for review, signature and distribution.

 

The Committee agreed with this recommendation.

8

Each work location should ensure that a senior level manager, above Superintendent, reviews and signs-off on all Hazard/Incident Reports. In addition, senior management should take an active role to ensure direct action is taken to prevent similar occurrences.

 

The Committee agreed with this recommendation. It was noted that although the recommendation did not indicate that the local Work Place Committee would continue to receive and sign off on all Hazard/Incident Reports, that requirement would continue.

9

To improve the radio communications system, Customs Services should:

  • by a site specific review, identify needs and shore up deficient radio inventories and ensure CI"s who require a radio have access to and are supplied with a functional radio,
  1. ensure a system to manage radios at all locations is developed and implemented, identifying specific responsibilities and accountabilities.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

10

Customs Services should, at the national level and in conjunction with the National Safety and Health Committee, establish a formal and comprehensive safety and health ancillary training program.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

11

Customs Services headquarters should develop an Emergency Plan template for all field locations. The Work Place Safety and Health Committee /Representative, along with local management, would use the template to develop a local Emergency Plan.

 

The Committee agreed that the Security Directorate, in consultation with the NHSPC, would develop an Emergency Plan template for all field locations.

12

Regional Directors should ensure that Emergency Plans are developed, approved and reviewed annually. The Directors should also ensure staff, both permanent and temporary, receive training in emergency preparedness.

 

The Committee agreed that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in this process.

13

Customs Services should adopt a policy of using trigger locks for all confiscated firearms.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

14

Customs Services should issue a Firearm Trap directive to all regions providing instructions; details on limitations; and other relevant information. In turn, each location should post on a wall next to the Firearm Trap, a "Job Aid" that provides specific instructions on its use

.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

15

Customs Services should develop a policy whereby all Superintendents and CI"s, including indeterminate, determinate and students should be issued an individual protective vest.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. It was noted that this initiative was currently being implemented.

16

Customs Services should develop a policy whereby all Superintendents and CI"s, including indeterminate, determinate and students receive Use of Force training and are issued OC spray and batons.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. It was noted that this initiative was currently being implemented.

17

Customs Services should not issue firearms to Customs Superintendents and Inspectors.

The Unions did not agree with the recommendation. The Committee had a lengthy discussion regarding the type of information (documents, interviews, etc.) that ModuSpec relied on to support its recommendation. The Unions would provide the details of an ATIP request, which identified the existence of a report (700+ pages) on Officer Powers, for Management follow-up.

18

Customs Services should initiate a strategic site specific risk evaluation of all work locations where customs officers are required to work alone. This evaluation should be in concert with the Work Place Safety and Health Committee/Representative and review local circumstances and conditions and establish a risk management program, including emergency response.

The Unions did not agree with this recommendation on the basis that they do not believe anyone should be working alone because of remoteness. It was noted that if an employee required assistance (for personal reasons or to deal with a traveler) emergency response times could be as much as two hours away. The Committee was advised that a site-by-site risk assessment would be completed by year end at all ports where employees work alone, and that the local Work Place Committee or Health and Safety Representative would be involved in the process. Once the risk assessments were completed, a strategy would be developed and discussed through the NHSPC forum.

19

Customs Services should establish a private aircraft/marine vessel inspection policy and guidelines. The policy should state specifically that:

  • a minimum of two CI"s are required for private aircraft and private marine inspections at remote locations and when there is an unknown risk
  • each CI must be equipped with their own functional 2-way radio, complete with emergency alarming features, and
  • (c) for remote locations and for non-CANPASS entries, the CI"s are to “report in” to a central dispatcher (or supervisor), immediately prior to and immediately after the inspection is complete.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. However, further clarification was required regarding the definition of “remote locations”. The Committee discussed situations where CIs were not able to contact a central dispatcher (or supervisor) and how they should be handled. It was agreed that any situation where a health or safety risk existed required that precautionary measures be put in place.

20

Customs Services should amend the Facilities Design Guide to include ergonomic and industrial hygiene standards and requirements.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. The NHSPC would be consulted on any amendments to the Facilities Design Guide which affect health and safety issues. Management would provide Committee members with an electronic copy of the Facilities Design Guide.

21

Customs Services should conduct a PIL booth health and safety assessment at all land border crossings and determine on a priority risk ranking scale the need to implement engineering controls to improve:

  • noise attenuation, and
  • positive airflow and air changes.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

22

Customs Services should establish a motor vehicle traffic hazard management policy, standard and procedures for all land border locations to establish a level of consistency.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

23

Customs Services should ensure that for all future land border facility installations and design modifications, the ways and means to better manage the motor vehicle risk at the primary inspection booth is given high priority.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

24

Customs Services should, as retrofitting occurs at land border facilities, initiate engineered structural changes that will protect officers in their work environment from potentially threatening individuals, including detainees. The new barriers and access control instruments should be similar to those implemented by Immigration Canada at the same facilities.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

25

Customs Services should develop an arrangement with all international airlines and airport authorities, whereby declared weapons or other confiscated items must be transported directly to Secondary Inspection. There, the weapons would be placed under direct control of Customs Services until the owner clears inspection and is authorized to enter Canada.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

26

The secondary inspection work station should undergo a thorough safety analysis with two principle elements to be focused on:

  • an ergonomic assessment of CI biomechanical movements and activities during an inspection, including the lifting and carrying of baggage, and
  • controlling a potential passenger physical threat of a CI during the inspection period.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

27

Customs Services should install a physical barrier at all Airport Information Counters to prevent hostile and unauthorized individuals from entering the business offices and security areas. Airports equipped with roll-up type metal barriers at information counters should ensure they are maintained in a closed position at all times.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be involved in the process.

28

Marine rummaging units should be provided with a detailed health and safety risk assessment of the targeted vessel as a critical element in preparing for the inspection operation. The risk assessment should include predicted weather and sea conditions; an evaluation of potential crew danger; and emergency preparedness, including the need for marine police assistance.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

29

Customs Services should determine if a radio communications system is available and capable of transmission aboard commercial vessels and is equipped with emergency alarm capability.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation.

30

Customs Services should revise their uniform standard to permit marine unit CI"s to wear approved short pants and short sleeved shirts when conducting private marine vessel inspections. Coveralls over this uniform would be necessary if rummaging activities are warranted.

 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation. It was noted that the uniform standard had already been revised to permit Marine Unit CI"s to wear approved short pants and short-sleeved shirts during warm weather. Management agreed to look at the possibility of extending the wearing of approved short pants and short-sleeved shirts to other areas identified during the discussion, reinforcing that they were open at any time to consultation with the Unions on the Uniform Policy.

31

Customs Services along with Canada Post should conduct ergonomic studies of all manual material handling operations at postal and courier facilities and implement engineering changes based on the potential risk of injury.

The Committee agreed with the recommendation and noted that the local Work Place Committee (or Health and Safety Representative) should be consulted during the process and that consultation should also involve the NHSPC.