Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

October 30, 2003

DATE: October 30, 2003 TIME: 1:30-3:45pm

LOCATION: 8 th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Ave. W.

ATTENDEES:
Management
Union
  Dan Tucker (Management Co-Chair)
Denis Lefebvre
James Ralston (Alternate)
Jocelyn Malo
Claude Tremblay
Jean Laronde
Leon Page (Committee Secretary)
Betty Bannon (Union Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Gilbert Begin (PIPSC-Alternate)
Marilyn White (PIPSC)
Ron Moran (CEUDA)
John King (CEUDA)
Observers: Diane Massicotte (Observer)
Greta Hill (Observer)
John Kearney (Observer)
Lina Ruel (UTE Observer)
Jake Baizana (CEUDA Observer)
Absent: Stephen Rigby Réal Lamarche (PIPSC)

OPENING REMARKS

The Co-Chairs welcomed the Committee members and expressed the hope that through constructive consultation, a number of agenda items would be resolved and, where necessary, those health and safety issues requiring further consideration would be identified.

1. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS (JHA) FOR CUSTOMS INSPECTORS AND SUPERINTENDENTS

The Committee was provided with the following update on the actions taken to date on a number of the recommendations contained in the JHA:

  • The Uniform Policy had been updated to include navy blue cargo shorts and grey golf shirts as standard items available to Customs Inspectors working in marine. Purchase and distribution had been handled locally.
  • Protective vests had been provided to the majority of Customs Inspectors across the country. Only a limited number of special orders remained outstanding and would be filled shortly.
  • The contract to prepare a Health and Safety Manual would be finalized shortly. As soon as a “draft” manual was ready, it would be distributed to National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) members for consultation purposes.
  • All regions had been delivering Use of Force Training. Since April 1, 2003, approximately 612 Customs Inspectors had participated in this training.
  • With regard to Customs Inspectors Working Alone, the following approach would be taken to develop a strategy to deal with this issue:
    1. Identify all situations where Customs Inspectors work alone;
    2. Gather the data necessary to assess the risks to Customs Inspectors when interacting alone with a client. This data would be gathered through consultation with Regional Managers, Customs Inspectors and Superintendents, and local Work Place Committee members or Health and Safety Representatives. The data gathering would be carried out using internal resources;
    3. Prepare a site risk evaluation from the data gathered; and
    4. Develop a risk management strategy, including options and recommendations, for each site. This would then be forwarded to the NHSPC for consultation.

In response to discussions around the term “remote locations”, the Committee was informed that a clearer definition would be provided following the site analysis phase.

  • The requirements for the long-term radio solution were being defined to ensure that employees are able to communicate with each other, and with other agencies. A key requirement for the radio solution was its compatibility with the equipment used by the RCMP and other departments and organizations. The requirements definition (which would include a site by site analysis at those locations where a risk had been identified) was scheduled for completion by the end of December 2003. The next step would be to identify technologies available to meet that requirement.

An agreement had been reached with the RCMP to participate in shared systems testing within the overall Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) initiative. Other measures would be taken to improve the current system as funding and technology become available.

The Committee was advised that at those locations where there were no radio communications, interim measures were being developed at the local level to ensure that workable solutions were implemented wherever possible.

In response to an enquiry regarding whether the risk analysis of radio communications for employees working alone could be extended to field workers, the Committee was advised that Management would look into the issue.

The Committee was advised that it would be provided with a copy of the Facilities Design Guide.

2. REFERRAL FROM PIA REGARDING THE CEUDA COMPLAINT (JHA)

The NHSPC was advised that a health and safety complaint had been referred to it for resolution on October 18, 2003, from the local Work Place Committee at PIA. The complaint refers to the Job Hazard Analysis for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents (JHA), and made the following allegations:

  • There was a verbal Assurance of Voluntary Compliance which the CCRA has thus far failed to meet;
  • The CCRA provided/produced an incomplete JHA that was created in the absence of appropriate consultation with the designated Union OSH representatives; and,
  • The CCRA refused to proceed and complete the JHA despite a request from Union representatives during the June 2003 NHSPC meeting.

In response to the complaint, the Committee was provided with the following information:

  • Management provided HRDC-Labour with a written Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) on July 10, 2001, indicating that a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for uniformed customs inspectors would be conducted;
  • At an ad hoc NHSPC meeting on March 14, 2003, held to discuss the findings and recommendations of the JHA, a representative from HRDC-Labour indicated that the employer had met its obligations as outlined in the AVC;
  • Extensive consultation had taken place at the NHSPC level. CEUDA has two representatives on this Committee. As a result, CEUDA had been given every opportunity to, and in fact had, provided feedback throughout the various phases of the JHA;
  • Local Work Place Committees had been consulted during site visits;
  • The JHA was discussed at eight regularly scheduled meetings of the NHSPC and at two ad hoc meetings;
  • At the NHSPC meeting held on April 10, 2003, the Committee had agreed that the consultant would be asked to finalize the draft final report and that consultation would commence on implementing the various recommendations contained in the JHA; and,
  • The Final Report of the JHA for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents was released on June 16, 2003.

The Unions commented that, while they had agreed to have the consultant finalize the draft report, they had never indicated that they considered the JHA to be complete. They had agreed to review the final report and provide their comments at a later date, which they subsequently did in an e-mail dated May 21, 2003. These comments were discussed in detail at the June 19, 2003 NHSPC meeting, and the Unions gave examples of other things that should be taken into consideration. At the same meeting Management had indicated that, although the report had been finalized, it would be prepared to consider any further relevant information or documentation during consultation on the implementation of the various JHA recommendations, which were ongoing agenda items.

It was agreed that, to the extent that the above-noted information addresses the complaint, the NHSPC has considered and disposed of the complaint. As a result, a written response would be sent from the NHSPC, to the Work Place Committee at PIA, indicating that the health and safety issues raised had either already been addressed or were the subject of ongoing consultation and, accordingly, the complaint had been addressed.

It was noted that a number of other Customs Inspectors had filed identical complaints at other locations. The Committee agreed that if any of those complaints were referred to the NHSPC for resolution, the same response should be provided.

3. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS FOR REGIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATORS (CUSTOMS)

The Committee was advised that the contract for ModuSpec to conduct the JHA would be finalized shortly. The NHSPC would be consulted on the list of sites to be visited. The NHSPC and local Work Place Committees would then be provided with advance notice of those site visits. During discussion on this issue, it was agreed that Winnipeg would be one of the sites visited, and that, as soon as draft reports were received, they would be shared with all Committee members at the same time.

Committee members were provided with a list of reference materials that would be reviewed by ModuSpec as part of the JHA process.

4. JOB HAZARD ANALYSES FOR FIELD OFFICER JOBS

At the June 19, 2003 NHSPC meeting, the Committee agreed that Management and Union representatives would be identified for a Working Group. The Working Group would then:

  • identify field officer jobs;
  • identify jobs with common characteristics (duties, risks, etc.) so that they might potentially be grouped together;
  • establish criteria to prioritize those jobs that should be evaluated first (in terms of highest to lowest risk); and
  • rank the jobs so that the NHSPC may then decide on the order in which they would be assessed.

The Committee was provided with the names of the Management representatives for the Working Group. It was agreed that the Unions would identify four representatives.

5. PHYSICAL STANDARDS

The Committee was advised that the draft Physical Standard Integration Policy for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents was currently being developed, and that the Officer Powers Policy would be integrated into it. A Policy outline would be forwarded to Committee members before the end of this fiscal year, for review.

As discussed at previous meetings, the Union reiterated its request that Management provide assistance to Customs Inspectors to help them get back into shape before attending training (i.e. access to fitness facilities, etc.), which would help prevent injuries. There was also discussion on whether or not there was standardized criteria being used by instructors to determine if participants would pass or fail. These issues would be reviewed and the Committee would be provided with updates at the next meeting.

6. ACCESS TO CPIC AT PIL

At the last meeting the Committee was advised that CPIC access could not be provided at PIL. The Committee agreed that Customs Inspectors should have as much information as possible at their fingertips to assist them in doing their jobs. It was noted that, while CCRA did contribute information to CPIC, the RCMP was the custodian of the system and they would decide who had access and at what locations. At the present time, the RCMP would not authorize CCRA to have CPIC access at PIL because they were not able to adequately “secure and protect” the system in that type of environment.

The Committee was advised that as of September 10, 2003 the pilot project on lost/stolen licence plates had commenced. This information would be identified in CPIC and downloaded to ICES on a daily basis. As a result, Customs Inspectors across the Country had intercepted vehicles with lost or stolen plates.

The Union pointed out the problems with the information available through NEXUS (licence plate information was only available from 10-12 Northern States with a 25% error rate). The Union’s members would like more information about the occupants in the vehicles, not the vehicles themselves, and indicated that the only way to obtain that information would be through broadened CPIC access. Management indicated that it would continue in its efforts to improve access to CPIC by front line Customs Inspectors, during discussions with the RCMP.

7. WORK PLACE COMMITTEE TRAINING

The Committee recognized the efforts of Management and the Unions to develop and deliver the revised Work Place Committee Training Course. It was noted that the target to train 500 Work Place Committee members had been surpassed. Approximately 760 participants had been trained to date, and an additional 318 were scheduled to receive training before the end of the fiscal year. A document, containing a “roll-up” of the training numbers by Region, was distributed to Committee members.

The Committee agreed that, subsequently, work would need to be done on the development of health and safety awareness for all employees.

8. ARMED AND DANGEROUS LOOKOUT INTERIM POLICY

The Committee was advised that a decision had not yet been taken on whether the interim Policy on Armed and Dangerous Lookouts would be rescinded. However, once a decision had been made, the NHSPC would be advised.

9. ACCIDENT REPORTING

The memoranda to Work Place Committees and to all employees (highlighting the results of the analysis of the accident report) were signed by the NHSPC Co-chairs and would be distributed shortly.

In response to discussions concerning the existence of a report which included incidents at all postal centres, Management would look into the matter and provide a copy to the Committee members, if available.

10. INCIDENT REPORTING

The Committee was advised that the new Customs Combined Report form would be implemented as of November 1, 2003. A copy of the package was distributed to Committee members and would be available, together with completion instructions, on InfoZone.

The Committee was informed that the draft Security Incident Report form, memorandum to Regional F&A Directors, and revised Chapter 15 of the Financial and Administration Manual – Security Volume, had been forwarded to them on October 15, 2003, for feedback. Following feedback from the Committee, the documents would be revised as necessary. Once finalized, a copy of the package would be forwarded to Committee members.

Following discussion on the reporting of Customs and Security incidents, it was agreed that quarterly reports would be provided to Committee members for monitoring purposes. As well, the situation surrounding the issuance of the
De-Tax site list would be reviewed.

11. ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES: CHEMICALS AND PERFUMES IN THE WORKPLACE

The Committee agreed that the issue of environmental sensitivities would be addressed through education and awareness, as opposed to developing a policy. The Committee discussed the possibility of developing a joint memorandum for Work Place Committees, and Health and Safety Representatives, which would provide general information about environmental sensitivities and include sample posters that could be distributed and posted in the workplace. A draft package would be provided to NHSPC members for review prior to the next meeting.

12. EXAMINATION PROCEDURES IN MARINE CONTAINER VICINITY

The Committee was advised that a draft of the Dockside Examination procedures, for inclusion in the Enforcement Manual, had been forwarded to Committee members for feedback on June 18, 2003. It was anticipated that a final product would be available by the end of this fiscal year.

The Committee agreed that consultation on the draft procedures should take place at the local level, where employees were involved in dockside container examinations.

13. CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, NUCLEAR AND EXPLOSIVE (CBRNE) TRAINING

The Committee was advised that the CBRNE awareness training package contained four modules which would normally be covered in one day. However, when the training was rolled out (January to April, 2003), employees at some locations had previously received portions of CBRNE training in preparation for events such as the World Youth Day in Toronto, and the Summit of the Americas in Quebec. As a result, some Customs Inspectors may not have required the full day CBRNE awareness training course. The Committee agreed that any concerns regarding the extent of the CBRNE awareness training received by Customs Inspectors, should be addressed at the local level.

14. USE OF AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS

The Committee was advised that a referral had been received from the Toronto Centre TSO pertaining to the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the workplace.

The Committee was informed that Treasury Board and Health Canada had jointly formed a panel to consider the appropriateness of recommending the installation of AEDs in Federal Public Service Workplaces. The panel, which is chaired by Health Canada, consists of medical practitioners and representatives from several federal government departments and agencies, including the CCRA. This panel is currently awaiting the results of a North American Public Access Defibrillator Trial Study (PAD). This Study is currently evaluating the effectiveness of AED intervention at public locations, when administered by non-medical practitioners. The results of the Study were originally expected by September 2003. However, due to a lack of test cases to evaluate, completion has been delayed until the Spring of 2004.

The Committee agreed that it would defer discussion on this issue until next summer to allow the Health Canada panel sufficient time to assess the results of the PAD Study. In the meantime, if additional information was received on this issue, it would be brought to the attention of this Committee.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Co-chairs thanked the Committee for their participation and noted that next year’s Committee meetings were tentatively scheduled for February 26, May 13, August 26 and November 25, 2004.

Original signed by

D.G.J. Tucker
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
February 20, 2004

Original signed by

Betty Bannon
Union Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
February 16, 2004