You Bet Your Glass: August 2014
By Frank Fulton
Help with health and safety
By Frank Fulton
Glazing contractors in Ontario beware, and be proactive. On July 1,
2014, Ontario Regulation 297/13 took effect as part of the Occupational
Health and Safety Act (OHSA) under the heading “Occupational Health and
Safety Awareness and Training.”
Glazing contractors in Ontario beware, and be proactive. On July 1, 2014, Ontario Regulation 297/13 took effect as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) under the heading “Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training.” This law requires that all workers and supervisors in the province receive health and safety awareness training. Supervisors, in addition to basic training, must also be trained in how to recognize, assess, and control workplace hazards and evaluate those controls. They must also be familiarized with sources for additional information on occupational health and safety.
The definition of a supervisor under OHSA is important to note. A supervisor is defined as anyone with “control of the workplace or authority over another worker,” regardless of title. Most lead hands, team leaders, managers, directors, etc. are considered supervisors under OHSA and will need to be trained as above.
If a company has already trained its workers and supervisors and feels that their training meets the OHSA requirements, there is no need to retrain as long as they have proof of training. For small and mid-sized glass shops, this is where most fall flat on their faces. They’re good at taking care of business and getting a contract done. They suck when it comes to maintaining documentation. If you encounter the unfortunate occurrence of a workplace accident with one of your employees and end up facing a Workwell audit, your only proof of training and company safety procedures will be in the form of your records and documentation. Without this in place, the penalties could be devastating to you and your business.
To address this province wide industry need, the Ontario Glass and Metal Association has been working with the WSPS to create a health and safety policy manual specifically tailored to the needs of glass and metal shops. It provides the glass shop with a comprehensive workplace specific program including such features as:
- Worksite-specific roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures.
- Safe operating procedures for key work processes and equipment, specifically tailored to include the actual equipment used in each shop or at each jobsite.
- Legal requirements for preventing workplace violence and harassment
- Easy-to-use tools and forms
- Complete documented records for proof of training and due diligence.
The OGMA/WSPS Health and Safety Policy Manual was created by qualified health and safety professionals and is a timesaving tool enabling glass shops to establish their own company program. Not only will this support a company’s effort to eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses, it will also lower costs and time related to WSIB claims. It also provides proof of compliance with the new OHSA Regulation 297/13.
According to Angelo Cairo, president of Stouffville Glass, “We know how important it is to have a safety policy in place and that we need to have records to prove we have done the necessary training. I had thought that we were up to date with our training and safety documentation, however after previewing the OGMA/WSPS manual it is clear that my company and probably the industry as a whole needs some help getting their policies and procedures up to speed. The problem is that we are all so busy just keeping up with our projects that nobody has the time to create and manage a good company safety manual. Regardless of the policies we have created to date, we will be investing into this program. I think it’s just what the industry needs.”
Steve Ringler, president of Oakville Glass and Mirror, states: “The OGMA / WSPS manual was an eye-opener to find out what we needed to do to pass a Workwell audit.”
For additional information on how you can put this program to use in your company, contact the OGMA or myself.
Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org