Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

July 23, 2002

DATE: July 23, 2002 TIME: 1:30-5:30 p.m.

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

ATTENDEES:

Management Union
Dan Tucker (Co-Chair)
Brian McCauley
Brian Brimble
André St -Laurent
Patricia Ballantyne
Jean Laronde
Leon Page (Committee Secretary)
Jaime Robinson (Observer)
Greta Hill (Observer)
Betty Bannon (UTE) (Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Serge Charette (CEUDA)
John King (CEUDA)
Real Lamarche (PIPSC)
Marilyn White (PIPSC)
Jake Baizana (CEUDA – Observer)
Martin Ranger (PIPSC – Observer)

OPENING REMARKS

The Union Co-chair welcomed the members of the Committee and mentioned the need to schedule the last meeting for this calendar year. She indicated that there had been some progress on items such as the establishment of the Environmental Sensitivities Working Group, and also stated that successful off-line discussions had been held, which had allowed for the timely resolution of some issues. She noted that there were some unexpected issues that recently arose and was pleased that Management had placed them on the agenda.

The Management Co-chair congratulated the Union Co-chair on her successful campaign for re-election as the National President of the Union of Taxation Employees, and stated that he was looking forward to a productive meeting.

1. SUMMARY OF INCIDENTS/ACTIONS – POST-SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

The Committee was informed that following a review of the feedback received from the Unions on the three draft letters, they would be issued in the coming weeks. Also, it was proposed that the letter to Regional Directors of Finance and Administration (F & A) Branch, and the one to employees, be signed by the Co-chairs of this Committee to increase the Committee’s visibility. It was also suggested that a reference be included in the memorandum to other government departments that would stress the sharing of emergency information with the multi-tenant committees that may be established within these buildings.

The audit report related to the handling of the incident of September 11, 2001 , was being translated and would be distributed within a couple of weeks.

The Committee was provided with an updated version of the post-September 11th incident report, which had been amended to include references to Union and Work Place Committee involvement. Only two instances were reported in which Union or Work Place Committee involvement had not been confirmed. The Committee agreed it was important that these reports indicate when the Unions or Work Place Committees were notified and that the incidents were properly reported.

2. EMPLOYEES TRANSPORTING NEGOTIABLES

The Committee was informed that the Regional Directors of F & A were asked to gather information regarding sites where employees were transporting negotiables. Replies were expected by the end of July. These results would be examined during the summer and, subsequently, shared with the Committee.

3. WORK PLACE COMMITTEE TRAINING

An update on the work place committee training package was provided. The training package would be distributed to the Cornwall workshop participants by early August for feedback, piloted in September, and ready for delivery in the early fall. In the meantime, an ad hoc meeting would take place to discuss how the course would be delivered, given that there were over 600 untrained workplace committee members. As well, the draft Statement of Qualifications for trainers would be discussed.

Some discussion took place regarding the importance of establishing training schedules for the delivery of the Agency course as soon as possible, for the untrained committee members. In response to concerns about committee members who took the Health Canada training, but not the Agency course, it was agreed that a letter would be drafted and shared, in an attempt to resolve what should be the next steps.

4. WORKPLACE FITNESS PROGRAM

The Committee discussed the issue of liability and employees possibly being able to bring their own equipment into fitness rooms, supplied by the employer. It was decided that this subject required further research into current practices across the country, before reaching any final decisions.

5. PHYSICAL STANDARDS STUDY

The draft report has been completed and the CEUDA members of the Officer Powers Committee were briefed on July 12, 2002. Once the report was translated, it would be shared with this Committee.

6. USE-OF-FORCE TRAINING

Further to discussions at previous meetings, the Committee was informed that employees would only be able to use the training rooms for practice, on their own time, if a qualified trainer was present to supervise. As well, it was noted that the Physical Standards Report stated that the required physical standard was very minimal; therefore, this issue could be discussed further in the context of that study and/or the Workplace Fitness Program.

Management mentioned that the number of injuries, related to the use-of-force training, was consistent with those of other law enforcement training courses. All injury reports would continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis and the results would be shared with this Committee. Management stated that it did not see any flaws with the training methodology. Although the course would not be modified, accommodations would be made when necessary and cited a couple examples of how some employees had already been accommodated.

The refresher training analysis was almost complete and consultations would begin in September with the Union at the Officer Powers Committee meeting.

7. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS

Phase I of the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) was complete and a copy of the report had been provided to the Committee members on July 18, 2002. Phase II, which included interviews and site visits, was underway. Committee members provided some preliminary comments on the Phase I report and proposed that an ad hoc meeting take place the following week to discuss the consultant’s methodology, the first report, and Phase II. Management will want to ensure that the overall concerns are properly addressed, based on comments flowing from the ad hoc meeting with the Committee. The JHA was initially scheduled for completion at the end of August.

The CEUDA National President sought clarification on a report that he had in his possession. He provided the Co-Chairs with a copy of the report for the purpose of identification by the Management Co-Chair as to whether it was the same document that certain employees were told to destroy on the basis that it contained information, the disclosure of which was prohibited by Section 107 of the Customs Act. The Management Co-Chair agreed to confirm whether it was the same report and to so advise the CEUDA National President.

8. VOLUNTARY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE INOCULATION PROGRAM

As discussed at the last meeting, certain Committee members did meet and discuss the potential implications of the “cost-neutral” clause in the memorandum and Clause 44 of the CCRA-AFS Collective Agreement. It was agreed that Clause 44 would not normally apply for the flu shot inoculation program; however, there could be exceptions. The memorandum would be revised to reflect this and how to proceed, should a possible exception arise. The final memorandum would be shared with the Committee and distributed.

9. ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES: CHEMICALS AND PERFUMES IN THE WORK PLACE

The Environmental Sensitivities Working Group met and discussed Terms of Reference that should be ready for review by the Committee shortly. Research had commenced and the Working Group would be meeting again in September.

10. CENTRAL DATABASE

Now that feedback had been received from the various stakeholders on the draft “Customs Incident Report” form, it would be finalized and distributed to the field for implementation, along with the other types of forms that could not be incorporated at this time. A memorandum, and guidelines, would be developed over the summer and shared with the Committee. Following implementation, this Committee would receive a quarterly analysis of the information obtained from the field.

11. DEALING WITH THREATENING SITUATIONS

This memorandum had been signed by both Co-chairs and would be distributed within a week.

12. EVACUATION POLICY

The Committee asked for additional time to provide feedback on the draft policy. It was anticipated that this policy would be issued by the end of the summer.

13. FIELD OFFICERS GUIDE AND/OR SAFETY ON THE ROAD HANDBOOK

All the comments of the Committee members were incorporated in the final version of the guide. Copies were provided and it should be posted on Info Zone within a week.

14. PERSONAL ALARM SECURITY SYSTEMS (PASS)

The Committee was informed that a program review document had recently been drafted and would be shared with the Committee, once Management reviewed it. In the meantime, work was still underway to maintain the existing system. Over the past year, 600 new radios and 1200 new batteries were purchased. An additional 300 new radios and 1200 batteries would be purchased this year, and 300 more radios next year.

Concerns were raised about “dead zones”, where there seemed to be no communication link between the employees and the office. It was acknowledged that proper plans needed to be in place to ensure employees had a communication link and that risks were properly mitigated, if employees could be working in a “dead zone”.

15. ASBESTOS-RELATED RUMMAGE PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

The training and fit testing, to issue respirators, had been contracted to 3M and should be completed by September 2002. A Train-the-Trainer course would be held in the Atlantic region in early Fall, to train one representative from each region. As well, the Committee was provided with a copy of the procedures.

16. TIPS FOR THE USE OF LAPTOPS

Feedback from the Committee was expected shortly, on the draft document that was provided at the last meeting. In the interim, that document would be listed on Info Zone as “under draft”.

17. OSH WEB PAGE

The Committee was provided with an update and was informed that progress would be made before the next meeting.

18. PROTECTIVE VESTS

It was confirmed that protective vests were available for all Flexible Response Teams. Any additional distribution of vests would be identified by the JHA.

19. X-RAY EQUIPMENT TRAINING

The Committee was provided with a copy of the memorandum that was issued to ensure that all employees received the proper training before using the X-ray equipment. As well, it was mentioned that maintenance and repairs on X-ray equipment were conducted on a regular basis and that these records were kept on site for reference and would be available to local work place health and safety committees.

The radiation dosimeters had been distributed to customs inspectors in the Marine mode and were designed to measure the cumulative effects of radiation on employees. Procedures were being developed for the recording of the readings of individual dosimeters and the maintenance of logbooks for employees’ annual radiation exposure. These procedures would be shared with the Committee before distribution.

20. ACCESS TO CPIC

It was proposed that all collectors be provided with access to the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) system, or that a process be put in place to review the list of clients before collectors proceeded to initiate action on the related files. Following general discussions on the limited accessibility to CPIC, it was agreed that the criteria for access would be shared with the Committee. Access requirements were identified in a formal memorandum of understanding between CPIC Services and the Agency. Collectors requiring information that may be contained in the CPIC system could contact an authorized officer, who would validate the query.

21. LOCAL OFFICES HIRING OSH ADVISORS

Further to the last meeting, it was confirmed that some locations had decided to create full-time OSH advisor positions to assist Management in its health and safety responsibilities. As part of the normal classification process, the Unions would be consulted on the work description before it would be classified, as per the union/management consultation agreement.

22. TUBERCULOSIS

The Committee was provided with an update on the border crossing where a refugee applicant was diagnosed as infected by tuberculosis. On receiving the diagnosis, Health Canada held briefing sessions for employees and undertook screening tests. A number of employees tested positive for tuberculosis and were undergoing follow-up testing to determine the source of the positive results, which could include being previously vaccinated or exposed. It was confirmed that the Employer would cover expenses related to the testing (i.e. time off), which was already part of the collective agreement..

Concerning the risk of contracting tuberculosis, Health Canada has stated on its web site that tuberculosis was not as contagious as people might think. Overall, a person would have to be exposed to a client with tuberculosis for an extended period of time (over eight hours) and at close proximity (within one meter).

The Committee was informed of the work underway to develop a Quarantine Training package, in conjunction with Health Canada, for customs inspectors. It was noted that CEUDA had been consulted.

23. CONTAMINATED SITES

The Government of Canada had introduced the Federal Contaminated Sites and Solid Waste Landfills Inventory Policy, on July 1, 2000, to identify contaminated federal properties and to take action to mitigate the hazards. On June 17, 2002, the Treasury Board Secretariat posted a list of contaminated sites on its web site, which included 36 CCRA sites located at 29 border crossings. The nature of the contamination was mainly petroleum hydrocarbons (from storage tanks) and this information had been shared locally and procedures were being put in place to control the contamination (i.e. tank removal). This contamination was not considered a health hazard.

The Committee acknowledged that while there was a communication lapse on this issue at the national level, it was encouraged to hear that it was being addressed locally. It was agreed that the Policy Committee needed to be aware of issues with national implications.

24. SECURITY INCIDENTS

The Committee was provided with an update on what measures were taken following a recent security incident. Clarification would be sought on whether employees, in these types of situations, were required to share costs on upgraded security measures at their homes. The results would be shared with the Committee.

The type of courses available for employees was briefly discussed. It was noted that although EAP offered Post-Traumatic Stress Debriefings and Critical Incident Stress Sessions, the Committee was not aware of any courses on how to deal with the changing world (i.e. terrorists, stabbings). A quick check would be done to determine if such courses did exist.

CLOSING REMARKS

In summary, it was noted that progress had been made on a number of the issues and that other meetings would take place before the next Committee meeting, scheduled for the fall.

Original signed by Dan Coffin for
D.G.J. Tucker
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
October 25, 2002

Original signed by
Betty Bannon
Union Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
October 22, 2002