Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

December 4, 2014

DATE:                    December 4, 2014                       TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Diane Lorenzato
(Employer Co-Chair)
Mark Quinlan
Claude P. Tremblay
Robert Allen

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)
Harry Walker(PIPSC)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Marc Brière (UTE)

Absent

Helen Brown
Dan Couture

Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Andrea Holmes (UTE)

Secretary Heather Di Penta  
Observers Susan Fagan
David Walsh
 
Guest  Sylvie McCartney  

OPENING REMARKS

Ms. Diane Lorenzato welcomed everyone to the final National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting of 2014. Ms. Lorenzato advised the committee that Mr. Brian Pagan had accepted another federal posting and acknowledged his contributions as a member of the committee. As well, Ms. Lorenzato recognized the significant progress made by the committee on various Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues and initiatives before passing the floor to Mr. Doug Mason to chair the meeting. Mr. Mason acknowledged the considerable efforts of the NHSPC over the past year and the challenges which have been encountered, particularly with regards to the Paul Martin Building in Windsor Ontario. Mr. Mason also highlighted certain topics which will be addressed in the future including asbestos and emergency response protocols (e.g. shelter in place), in light of the recent incident at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

1. Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC)  and Directions

The NHSPC was advised that on October 20, 2014, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was granted a stay of the Direction that was issued to the office located at 185 Ouellette Avenue, in Windsor Ontario. The same conditions apply to the CRA as were given to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), and the stay will remain in effect until January 24, 2015.

The Employee Representatives raised concerns regarding the condition of the Paul Martin Building and the lack of information regarding the long term plans for the site. The committee was advised that the CRA continues to work with PWGSC regarding monitoring, reporting and future plans. The NHSPC will be provided with additional information, as it becomes available.

The Employee Representatives also shared their concerns about 875 Heron Road in Ottawa, as they have received media requests related to building safety concerns. It was agreed that these concerns would be followed up after the meeting.

As a result of a commitment made at the September 11, 2014 NHSPC meeting, the committee was presented with the key findings of the “Lessons Learned” document which was prepared as a result of the situation at the Paul Martin Building.

The NHSPC was advised that a communication strategy would be put in place in the event an AVC or similar Direction is received. This will ensure communication at the local level between key stakeholders is prioritized and the local committee is involved. In some cases, while decisions need to be made at a senior management level before the local committee can be apprised of the results, sharing information as soon as it is available is of the utmost importance because this ensures that the local committee fulfills its mandate and is able to assist in addressing employees’ health and safety concerns.

The NHSPC was advised that the CRA is taking steps to encourage ongoing collaboration and proactive communication between key stakeholders regarding OHS issues or concerns.

The CRA is also working on improvements to the coordination, identification, and involvement of subject matter experts (SMEs) to support the local Responsible Building Authority (RBA) in a timely and well-coordinated fashion. The Agency Operations Center (AOC) will be the hub and the direct link to support the RBA, and engage the key stakeholders. The National OHS Section and the Emergency and Incident Management Division (EIMD) will continue to work together to ensure the notification process is functioning effectively.

EIMD will oversee the provision of support to the RBA from SMEs. The RBA will share updates with the local committee and respond to any questions or concerns the members may have. Moving forward, the RBA, due to their access to SMEs will be in a better position to coordinate required activities at the local/site level.

The NHSPC was advised that the Emergency Response Directive would be reviewed and additional clarification provided to strengthen the policy roles and responsibilities, for all stakeholders. The NHSPC was identified as a key stakeholder and must be involved. As such, ad-hoc meetings may be valuable when the Agency is dealing with issues, such as those that were highlighted in the Windsor situation. It was agreed that ad-hoc NHSPC conference calls would be scheduled in the future, when needed.

It was also recommended that when an AVC or Direction, or a refusal to work is received, the National OHS Section will continue to ensure that advice is sought from the Legal Services Division. Their advice and guidance will assist the Agency in making important decisions and ensuring appropriate action is taken. As well, the National OHS Section, with the support of the NHSPC, will continue to highlight the importance of the local health and safety committee, and the integral role they play. There will be a continued focus on prevention, which will assist the Agency in protecting the health and safety of its employees and will ensure that OHS issues or concerns are proactively addressed.

Finally, the committee was advised that since the September 2014 NHSPC meeting, the CRA had not received an AVC or Direction.

2. UPDATE ON EMPLOYEE THREAT MITIGATION FRAMEWORK

The NHSPC was advised that the CRA will be enhancing processes that evaluate, document and mitigate employee safety risks, when interacting with taxpayers and benefit recipients.

The CRA has a responsibility to protect employees against threats of violence and to instruct those who may be exposed to violence, on the means of recognizing and managing the potential for violence. While certain methods exist, they differ by branch. It was noted that a standard method across the Agency to assess associated risks to the safety and/or personal security of CRA employees would be beneficial, as well as guidelines regarding mitigation strategies and requirements.

The CRA is looking at the development of a threat mitigation framework to assess and mitigate the associated risk of violence to ensure the safety of CRA employees. The framework will be developed based on the analysis that will be performed by a working group which is to be formed.

It was agreed that the NHSPC will provide the names of representatives to participate on the working group and that the NHSPC will be provided with a copy of the project plan. The NHSPC will be provided with an update regarding the findings of the working group, at the June meeting.

3. PROPERTY AND FACILITY MANAGEMENT – COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

The NHSPC was informed that an Information Bulletin is being finalized and that it provides additional guidance on the communication of facility-related information between local health and safety committees, Real Property Service Integration Directorate (RPSID) representatives, and PWGSC and/or property owners.

The CRA and PWGSC work together on a day-to-day basis, to ensure that a safe and healthy workplace is maintained. Effective communication begins with the sharing of information between the key stakeholders at the local level.

The CRA works in collaboration with PWGSC representatives to obtain technical expertise which is part of PWGSC’s custodial role. PWGSC’s mandate is to commission, conduct and/or oversee a wide variety of activities related to facilities management, including ongoing evaluation of building systems, development of investment strategies, maintenance, ad-hoc technical studies, inspections, etc. to ensure that the workplace remains operational and safe. They, or their contracted service providers, monitor and interpret the technical information, and are responsible for reporting to the CRA any potential health and safety issue. The CRA has resources in place, both locally, and in the Regional Real Property Centers of Expertise (COE), to liaise with PWGSC and support the local health and safety committees and the RBA, by obtaining and/or interpreting information related to building issues.

The NHSPC is in agreement that local health and safety committees must have access to the information that may have an OHS impact, to fulfil their legislated mandate.

PWGSC is obligated to notify the CRA should issues arise and provide the necessary information so that it can be shared with the local health and safety committee.

The Information Bulletin is currently under review with RPSID and should be finalized in the near future. Mr. Mason emphasized the importance of issuing the bulletin to reinforce the importance of a standardized collaborative approach. As a result of this bulletin, it is recommended that local health and safety committees include Property Management Issues as a standing agenda item, to promote this proactive connectivity between stakeholders.

As a result of the discussion, Mr. Mark Quinlan agreed to look into whether Winfast could be leveraged to facilitate communication with local committees.

4. CRA OHS PROGRAM

The NHSPC was provided with an update on the following Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) initiatives:

Ergonomic Strategy

The NHSPC was informed that the National OHS Section recently won an external award recognizing their work on the Ergonomic Strategy. The Vision Awards are external awards that recognize excellence in aspects of Human Resources. The CRA won the award that focused on optimizing health and wellness in the workplace. The NHSPC was thanked for assisting in the development and implementation of the strategy.

Webinars for the Ergonomic Coaches have been ongoing across the Agency during the fall. The interactive sessions, consisting of 20 – 30 participants per session, are providing Ergonomic Coaches with instruction on how to complete the revised Ergonomic Coach Checklist (now called the Ergonomic Adjustment Summary); and offer participants an opportunity to discuss the new Office Ergonomic Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Input is being solicited from Ergonomic Coaches via the ongoing webinars and feedback received from the participants. The Employee Representatives raised concerns that the approved content for the Ergonomic SOP and Ergonomic Adjustment Summary was changed prior to publication without further consultation. Ms. Heather Di Penta agreed to look into the matter.

Reformatting of the existing ergonomics web page continues. The new layout will assist Ergonomic Coaches and employees to quickly find office ergonomic information on InfoZone.

Work is underway to develop business requirements for a user friendly online tool that will incorporate the functionality of both the Ergonomic Coach Tracking Tool and the Ergonomic Adjustment Summary.

T4009

An in-depth analysis of the database is currently underway to determine what would be the most appropriate changes to reduce the use of the “Other” categories. The committee will be consulted once the analysis is complete.

Policy Instruments

The NHSPC working group was held on December 3, 2014, to continue the review and revision of the policy instruments. During this meeting, the discussions focused on the following SOPs:

  • Driving Safety
    Comments on the Driver Safety SOP and Guide have been received and both documents are currently being finalized for approval.

  • Powered Lift Trucks
    The Powered Lift Trucks (PLT) Purchasing, Maintenance and Training Standard, PLT SOP, Safe Work Procedures (SWPs) have been sent to translation, and will then be routed for approval.

  • Material Handling Equipment
    The Manual Material Handling Equipment SOP has been translated and will then be routed for approval.

  • Hand and Power Tools
    The Hand and Power Tools SOP was completed and sent to translation. There will be 13 SWPs under this SOP, specific to the type of equipment.

  • Industrial Machinery and Equipment
    The draft Industrial Machinery and Equipment SOP was completed and sent to translation. There will be 10 SWPs under this SOP.

  • Tools and Machinery
    The Hand and Power Tools Purchasing, Maintenance, and Training Standard and the Industrial Machinery and Equipment Purchasing, Maintenance, and Training Standard are being reviewed, and will be shared with the Working Group for comment.

Finally, the Health and Safety Committee and Representative SOP has been shared with the Working Group on December 3, 2014, with feedback to follow.

5. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS FOR FIELD EMPLOYEES

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees

The NHSPC was advised that the Health and Safety Awareness for Field Employees course was approved by the Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Branch (HRB) on October 27, 2014 and the course was published on November 21, 2014, by the Training and Learning Directorate.

The launch of the course will be communicated through a number of channels including:

      • message to the Agency Management Committee (AMC);
      • CRA InfoZone News Slider;
      • a communiqué to the Employee Representatives;
      • regional Labour Relations offices;
      • JHA for Field Employees Working Group, and
      • links posted on Manager’s Corner, Directory of Learning Products and the OHS website.

The National OHS Section will be coordinating the roll-up of training statistics with the help of the JHA for Field Employees Working Group and their respective training coordinators, and will report on these numbers to the NHSPC.

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA)

After the MEJHA Working Group meeting on September 10, 2014, branches were asked to complete a survey, with the collaboration of their local staff, on their training requirements for each activity in high risks environments. The survey was completed and the information has been compiled and shared with the MEJHA Working Group, at the November 25 meeting.

The MEJHA Working Group discussed the Working Plan 2014-2015 and was provided with updates on the development and implementation of the SOPs and SWPs. The focus was on identifying the proper training in order to implement the requirements, which were identified in the SOPs and SWPs, and align with best practices and standards.

A full review is being undertaken of all hazardous substances used by employees in the course of their work within the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB). Once completed, FAB will send the approved list of products to HRB for final input.

A database of all approved products will be developed and posted on InfoZone.
As well, the remaining branches are conducting the same survey as FAB, in collaboration with their local staff, to identify the types of hazardous products and the tools they use as well as the emergency showers and eyewash stations installed in their work place.

The survey was completed and submitted to HRB on November 28, 2014. The information received will be shared at the next Working Group meeting in January 2015.

6. work place health and safety committee effectiveness

Committee Scorecard

The results of the mid-year Scorecard were shared with the NHSPC on November 17, 2014. While the data shows that the CRA still needs to focus on these requirements, the results were dramatically better, with 100% compliance for the legislated number of meetings, and 92% compliance for monthly inspections.

The NHSPC was also advised that the Scorecard results were discussed at the AMC and that the Commissioner emphasized the important role Senior Management must play in ensuring that Work Place Health and Safety Committee (WPHSC) legislative responsibilities are met.

The Scorecard Working Group met on September 22 to discuss new strategies to ensure legislative requirements are prioritized. A draft report of suggested recommendations was shared with the Working Group for comments on November 11, 2014, with feedback due November 28, 2014. Once the report is finalized, it will be shared with the NHSPC.

Work Place Committee Training Initiative

The development of the e-learning portion of the training is progressing and will be shared with the NHSPC in the near future.

The National OHS Section is working on the in-class portion of the course and will provide the NHSPC with an update at the next NHSPC committee meeting.

Umbrella Workplace Health and Safety Committees (WPHSCs)

It was clarified that umbrella WPHSCs do sometimes exist even where there is a considerable distance between the locations. Umbrella WPHSCs are approved on a case by case basis.

Work Place Committee Newsletter

The next WPHSC newsletter will be published in January 2015 and will cover how the CRA responds to disease outbreaks such as, the Ebola virus, as well as information regarding loading docks, safe lifting, the new environmental sensitivities poster, and key messages regarding slips and falls.

OHS Reports

The Appendix A will be migrated to an online application in the new year, and will now be called OHS Reports. The NHSPC was informed that the pilot began on November 19, with the anticipated roll out of the online application in January 2015.

7. BILL C-4 AMENDMENTS TO THE CANADA LABOUR CODE (CLC), PART II

Changes introduced with Bill C-4, to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation Canada Labour Code (CLC),Part II came into effect on
October 31, 2014.

To ensure the successful implementation of these legislative changes, a communication plan was developed to ensure CRA management and the local health and safety committees were provided with the information received from the Labour Program regarding their associated roles and responsibilities.

The Employee Representatives recommended additional communication should be issued regarding changes to the Canada Labour Code including the need for investigation reports to be prepared by both management and the local WPHSC before Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will investigate work refusals; the conditions under which ESDC may refuse to investigate a work refusal; the changes to the definition of danger; and the judicial review process for challenging ESDC refusals to investigate work refusals.

On November 12, 2014, the NHSPC was provided with a copy of the WPHSC communiqué to ensure the committee was ready to provide support, if needed. The key message was to reinforce the existing internal responsibility system and that health and safety is a shared responsibility. It was also confirmed that the mandatory health and safety training for all OHS stakeholders clearly outlines the requirements and that employee concerns must be addressed in a timely manner.

The links to the new program guidance documents will be added to the OHS website and the template provided by the Labour Program is being reviewed to determine whether this version can be adopted for internal CRA use.

It was agreed that the National OHS Section would continue to work with the Training and Learning Directorate to incorporate the relevant information into the work place committee training and look to update the e-learning training as well. The National OHS Section will also work to incorporate some of the relevant details in an upcoming edition of a work place committee newsletter.

8. HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATION

The NHSPC was provided with an update on representation at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) where CRA employees are co-located. The committee was advised that the Information Technology Branch (ITB) agreed to appoint health and safety representatives (HSRs) at each CBSA location and it was confirmed that this has been completed.

The National OHS Section is following up to ensure that the new HSRs are enrolled in the upcoming Work Place Committee Training Sessions. The completion of this training will be monitored.

It was agreed that the National OHS Section would investigate and report back to the committee on the issue of representation in locations where CRA employees are not permanently located, but work on a rotational basis.

9. EBOLA VIRUS

The NHSPC reviewed recent efforts to provide information on the Ebola virus and the ITB support that may be provided to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) has been coordinating the dissemination of information to Federal departments regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which is a disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. The origin or primary outbreak is in West Africa, and is aggressively being contained, to prevent the virus spreading.

A “Frequently Asked Questions” document issued by TBS along with a link to the PHAC website was posted to the Agency’s OHS website. A news item was also published on InfoZone, to ensure all CRA employees were provided with the key messages and easily accessible information updates.

Representatives from the NHSPC participated in a webinar which was hosted by the TBS on November 6, 2014. Dr. Pilon, who is an expert from the PHAC, delivered a presentation to explain the level of potential risk to federal employees (which is considered very low), the strategies or protective measures that will prevent the spread of the virus, and the treatments or experimental therapies that are focused on a cure.

The committee was informed that ITB has been approached by PHAC to offer support at some international airports. ITB has been provided with advice and guidance from the National OHS Section on prevention measures based on information from the TBS and PHAC who are subject matter experts.

Discussions continue between ITB and PHAC and as further TBS updates regarding Ebola become available, they will be shared with the NHSPC.

WRITTEN UPDATES

Statistics for Health and Safety Training

As of October 28, 2014, 1,142 employees and 541 managers require Health and Safety training. The latest training statistics confirm that the percentage of employees who have completed the OHS training remains at 97%. Reductions were noted in most regions except in Pacific and Prairie, where there were slight increases. All regions continue to work on improving their training numbers.

The October statistics for OHS manager training have decreased nationally from 12% to 10% untrained managers. At a national level, 90% of managers are trained. There has been a substantial improvement in the number of untrained managers, in most regions. A communiqué was sent to all Regional Directors on October 27, 2014, listing the managers who have not completed the OHS training. As a result, the training statistics for the next quarter should show additional improvement in the number of untrained managers.

Work Place Violence Prevention Training

At a national level, the number of employees not trained in Work place Violence Prevention continues to improve. There are 93% of employees nationally, who are trained in this course. Since August 2014, most regions have reduced the number of employees not trained. The Pacific Region has shown a slight increase in the number of untrained employees from 126 to 156. The statistics have confirmed that there is a consistent improvement on a quarterly basis, with the number of employees who have completed the Work place Violence Prevention training.

While the committee members were pleased with the progress made, it was agreed that the NHSPC would continue to be provided with quarterly statistics on an on-going basis. The committee also acknowledged the need to look at the issue of work place violence prevention re-training as a requirement under the CLC, Part II. The National OHS Section will investigate further and update the committee.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

The Committee was provided with an update on the national OHS Communication Plan for 2014-2015. A variety of OHS messaging has been issued from September to December 2014, including the WPHSC fall newsletter, an Ebola communiqué, an Environmental Sensitivities information bulletin, the OHS services agreement, the Virtual Services Working Arrangements information bulletin, as well as the launch of the Field Safety Training. This communication campaign promotes OHS awareness and supports the Agency’s OHS Program.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The Employee Co-Chair was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Reports for July to September 2014. These reports were validated and made available to regional OHS representatives and the WPHSCs upon request.

CLOSING REMARKS

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Mason took the opportunity to acknowledge the exemplary work completed by the National OHS Section, to support the NHSPC’s priorities over the course of the last year. He extended best wishes to Ms. Susan Fagan on her upcoming retirement and thanked her for her work in support of the committee. Mr. Mason also highlighted a number of topics upcoming on the NHSPC’s Forward Agenda, such as the “Health Risks associated with Sitting for extended periods of time” the issue of “Asbestos” being introduced into CRA facilities, “Workplace Investigations”, as well as the “Psychological Standard”.

Ms. Lorenzato concluded by taking the opportunity to wish everyone best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season.

Original signed by

Original signed by

Diane Lorenzato
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

Doug Mason
Employee Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

Date: April 9, 2015

Date: April 2, 2015