Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee

December 1, 2016

 

DATE:                    December 1, 2016                       TIME: 1:00 p.m.
LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
(Acting Employer Co-Chair)
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Janique Caron
Robert Allen
Dana-Lynne Hills

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)
Allaudin Alibhai (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Shane O’Brien (UTE)

Guest

Jeremy Hebert

 

Secretary

Jaime Robinson

 

Observers

David Walsh
Diane Lorenzato

 

Absent

 

Marc Brière (UTE)
Simon Ferrand (PIPSC)
Mathieu Juneau (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

In her last meeting, Ms. Diane Lorenzato began by thanking members for their dedication and hard work during her time with the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC). She highlighted the committee’s willingness to work together to resolve issues and took the opportunity to recognize Mr. Dan Couture as the incoming employer co-chair. Members thanked Ms. Lorenzato for her contribution to the Committee and wished her well in her retirement.

Mr. Dan Couture and Mr. Doug Mason welcomed Ms. Janique Caron and Ms. Maggie Trudel‑Maggiore to their first meeting as employer representatives. Mr. Mason noted that he would be stepping aside as the employee co-chair following the meeting in June 2017.

1.    Action Item Report

Members reviewed the summary of deliverables and status updates since the last meeting. It was agreed that the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section would look at options for making information from past editions of the Health and Safety Committee (HSC) newsletter accessible.

2.    Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) AND Directions

It was confirmed that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had not received any AVCs or Directions since the last committee meeting on October 6, 2016.

Members were provided with an update on the Eastern Quebec Tax Services Office located at 100, rue Lafontaine, Chicoutimi. On October 18, 2016, a conference call was held between management, local Real Property, and the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Health and Safety Officer (HSO) to discuss his recommendation to address the source of any ongoing water infiltration issues. It was confirmed that major work repairs will not be undertaken as the Crown will dispose of the building in 2018. However, management confirmed that the property manager has been engaged to quickly clean up water when leaks are observed. The ESDC HSO agreed that this would be a sufficient corrective measure, as long as the issue is monitored.

The HSC has been provided the report and is aware of the decision of the ESDC HSO. They have been asked to monitor the situation closely and will submit a Winfast ticket if issues arise. They will also keep management and the OHS officer for Quebec aware if the situation deteriorates. Regarding the heating and ventilation system, the property manager, Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions (BGIS), has advised management that the maintenance schedule will be modified as recommended.

3.  ASBESTOS

The InfoZone listing of CRA sites known to contain asbestos containing materials (ACM) was revised and published on November 29, 2016, based on consultation with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). The updated listing now contains information on 45 CRA-occupied sites known to contain ACM.

PSPC recently confirmed that three (3) CRA occupied sites identified on the PSPC listing do not contain ACM. These sites have not been included on the CRA InfoZone listing page and an explanatory note has been added to avoid confusion.

The three sites are:

  • 9737 King George Boulevard, Surrey, British Columbia;
  • 5800 Hurontario Street, Mississauga, Ontario; and
  • 1955 Smith Street, Regina, Saskatchewan.

One additional site, 100, rue Lafontaine, Chicoutimi, Québec, was added to the listing and it was confirmed that airborne asbestos fibre testing will be completed at the site.

The national testing initiative is progressing well with a nationally-consistent methodology, and a project team in place with representation from all regions. BGIS has advised that they will run public tenders for the regional scope of work to ensure best value. As a result, testing is now anticipated to be completed in January, and possibly early February 2017, depending on the location. As results become available, they will be communicated locally to the Responsible Building Authority (RBA), the HSC, and employees. Information will also be added to InfoZone.

In addition, CRA continues to work with PSPC to ensure that site specific ACM information is shared with local management, the RBA, and HSCs. Many sites have already received the information and work continues to ensure that information is received for all sites on the listing. The committee was also advised that the CRA Asbestos Communication Procedures are currently being finalized based on the last round of feedback.

The employee representatives acknowledged the efforts made to date, but encouraged the CRA to consider asbestos-free sites when looking at new leasing opportunities in the future. It was also agreed that the National OHS Section would consult its stakeholders to confirm whether ACM had been introduced at the site located at 395 Terminal Avenue in Ottawa.

4.  OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM

The NHSPC was provided with updates on the following elements of the OHS Program:

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group

The National OHS Section is preparing a prevention focused information bulletin on voice damage/acoustic shock. Once the draft is ready, the National OHS Section will be seeking input from the employee representatives and branch stakeholders.

The National OHS Section is also working to secure access to a series of videos from SafetyCare which will be used to provide job-specific training for employees. The training will cover topics such as ladders, hand and power tools, manual material handling, driving safety, and personal protective equipment and is expected to be available through Employee Self-Service (ESS) in the spring of 2017.

The MEJHA Working Group held its annual meeting on November 15, 2016. Members reviewed the existing standard operating procedures (SOP), safe work procedures (SWP), and supporting documentation and also confirmed the development plans for the upcoming year.

Workplace Violence Prevention Re-Training

On April 29, 2016, a message was sent to the Agency Management Committee members advising them of the requirement to re-train employees and asking that they share the information with their management teams. At that time there were 23,532 employees requiring re-training in workplace violence prevention.

As of November 8, 2016, statistics showed that 15,770 employees had retaken the course. Beginning with the next meeting in March 2017, the statistics will be added to the quarterly NHSPC training update.

Psychological Standard

Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) is planning on conducting a shorter version of the Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) in February 2017. The new Public Service Employee Annual Survey (PSEAS) will be administered in addition to the triennial PSES planned in fall 2017. It is anticipated that the new survey will include questions on respect, diversity, workplace well-being, harassment, and discrimination. As similar information will be obtained from the new annual survey, and again in the triennial PSES, the CRA is currently assessing the best timing for the well-being pulse survey.

The employee representatives expressed their desire to define the role of local HSCs and to revisit the mandate of the NHSPC working group so that the connection to health and safety is clear. Management confirmed that OHS remains one component of the broader Respectful Workplace and Well-being Strategy. However, it was agreed that the working group would review their mandate and the role of local HSCs prior to the next NHSPC meeting in March 2017. They will also review the launch of the Respectful Workplace and Well-being Strategy, the questions posed by the TBS, and any updates provided by the Task Force. It was also confirmed that the Psychological Standard would be added as a NHSPC standing agenda item going forward.

Ergonomic Strategy

The National OHS Section is currently revising the Office Ergonomics SOP with a renewed focus on prevention. The goal is to build awareness among managers and employees so that they feel empowered to use the Agency’s existing ergonomic tools as a means to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

Based on feedback from the management community, the National OHS Section is also creating a document to support managers as they address the ergonomic hazard(s) identified during an ergonomic coach adjustment session. The document will help managers identify key resources as they progress through the ergonomic prevention process and will help them choose and implement the right solutions for their employees. The draft documents are being finalized and will be shared with the employee representatives for feedback in the near future.

​5. health and safety committee effectiveness

Health and Safety Committee Training Initiative

The in-class portion of the health and safety training for committee members was launched on October 15, 2016. As per the implementation plan, conference calls with the trainers have been completed, and small group webinars are being offered for those who have reviewed the material and would like to examine the documentation in more detail. Training sessions are scheduled to begin before the end of 2016, and it was confirmed that the schedule would be shared with the employee representatives when ready. The National OHS Section will also review the process for monitoring and reporting on HSC member training, including the possibility of adding it to the current scorecard process.

Newsletter

The fall newsletter was published on November 29, 2016, and included articles on the prevention of slips, trips and falls, the OHS monitoring program, the HSC in‑class training, and the OHS reports application. The winter edition is scheduled for release in January 2017, and will feature articles on annual planning and reporting, quorum, and well-being, among others.

6. workplace Violence Prevention

The NHSPC was provided with the following update on the working group’s progress over the last 12 months:

In December 2015, the working group met to review and finalize the Guide to Preventing Workplace Violence, as well as the draft Procedures for Resolving Incidents of Workplace Violence. During that time, it was understood that ESDC was finalizing an Interpretation, Policies and Guidance (IPG) document to be posted before March 31, 2016. Given the expected timing of the IPG and its possible impact, the decision was made to delay the launch of the procedures and move forward with the Guide to Preventing Workplace Violence. As a result, the guide was launched as part of the new workplace management policy suite on December 17, 2015.

Over the winter, the working group met several times to discuss the draft procedures and supporting tools, including the competent person skill set and report. Following the release of the IPG by ESDC on July 25, 2016, the National OHS Section reviewed and updated the draft procedures and met with the working group on August 24, and October 5, 2016, to discuss the updated versions.

At the October 5, 2016, working group meeting, it was agreed that the National OHS Section would consult legal services to address some of the working group’s outstanding points of discussion. Since the last NHSPC meeting on October 6, 2016, the working group members reviewed and provided feedback on supporting documentation, including the draft consent form. The National OHS Section also started consultations with legal services and other internal stakeholders.

Following the update, both employee and management representatives expressed their desire to have the procedures finalized and implemented as soon as possible in order to provide support to managers and employees. It was agreed that once feedback had been received, a working group meeting would be scheduled for early January 2017, to review the updated procedures and move forward with the approval process.

7. ohs program monitoring

As of November 21, 2016, monitoring activities had been completed in 16 of the 51 offices planned for year one of the OHS Program monitoring exercise. The OHS officers have been conducting field visits across the country to evaluate pre‑determined elements of the OHS Program. Overall, the results to date show that the OHS Program is functioning well.

The findings related to HSCs and health and safety representatives (HSR), safety training, hazardous occurrence investigative reporting and analysis, and machine safety are all positive. However, as this is the first time the CRA has gone through this type of exercise, areas requiring further education and awareness activities were also identified, as anticipated.

Results show that the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety footwear in required zones, can be inconsistent even when it has been provided.

It was observed that proper signage for SWPs and PPE requirements is not always posted in warehouse and mailroom locations. It was also noted that the contents of first aid kits do not always meet the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Furthermore, it was found that employees are using Winfast as the primary mechanism for reporting a potential hazard related to building issues in the workplace. Also, the Ergonomic Coach Program could be promoted more as a means of preventing musculoskeletal injuries.

As the OHS officers complete their field visits, they have been sharing their preliminary findings with local management so that they can take action to correct any issues or hazards which require immediate attention. The officers are also providing local management with a final inspection report which outlines all observed non-conformances, and requires that they identify corrective measures and completion dates to address any outstanding issues. Management must action the items within 30 days, or where implementation of the corrective measures may take longer than 30 days, they must outline a plan on how they will address the issues which have been identified.

NHSPC members acknowledged the significance of the OHS Program monitoring and confirmed their full support for the initiative. In particular, they recognized the importance of the continued involvement of local HSCs during the inspection phase and were pleased that observations were actively being shared with them. Finally, it was also noted that field visits should continue to include all areas of the facility, including common areas.

An annual summary of results will be shared with the NHSPC and the Board of Management in September 2017. The intent is to use the overall findings from the current monitoring cycle to determine which elements of the OHS Program should be targeted during the next round of program updates.

8. WRITTEN UPDATES

Statistics for Health and Safety Training

As of November 8, 2016, the percentage of employees requiring health and safety training remains stable at 2%, while the percentage of managers requiring training also remains at 11% nationally.

Workplace Violence Prevention Training

At a national level, 98% of employees and managers have completed the workplace violence prevention training. Starting in March 2017, the number of employees requiring re-training to meet the three-year requirement will be included as part of the quarterly written update.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

Members reviewed the communications plan up to December 1, 2016. Agency news sliders on flu prevention and slips, trip and falls were issued since the last NHSPC meeting in October 2016. It was noted that the Asbestos Communication Procedures launch communiqué and the flu prevention newsletter article will be added to the plan prior to the next meeting.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The committee reviewed the Quarterly Security Incident Report for July 2016 to September 2016. It was agreed that management would review two of the cases outlined in the report and confirm the notification protocol used in both cases.

9. CLOSING REMARKS

Both co-chairs thanked members for their contributions throughout 2016 and wished them a safe and relaxing holiday season. It was noted that alternate dates for the next meeting would be circulated following this meeting.

Dan Couture
Acting Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

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

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