POP: Occupational Health and Safety

POP: Yes
Res #: POP 2-07M
Number: 2
Year: 2007
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Labour

POP Resolution No. 2 – 07M
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

WHEREAS, the Provincial Department of Labour has amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to restrict operating of powered mobile equipment to those that have received formal training regardless of previous experience; and

WHEREAS, powered mobile equipment includes any unlicensed equipment including graders, scrapers and tractors; and

WHEREAS, while safety training is important, this amendment has an unrealistic and unattainable completion date of October 15, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the requirement will cause unnecessary expense and inconvenience for all rural municipalities and their operators;

BE IT RESOLVED that the amendment be suspended immediately and that the Department of Labour consult with and solicit input from SARM on the need of such a blanket amendment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, to work with Workers Compensation Board to target any problem areas.

Response from Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour

I agree with your Association that to be effective, regulatory requirements must be developed in consultation with those they most affect, and at the same time, be realistic in their scope, cost and impact.

Employers have always had a duty to train workers and ensure they were competent under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legistlation.  Training, by definition in the regulations, required hands on demonstration.  The recent amendments formalize the training only in the sense that employers are now asked to document that they have provided the training and assessed employee competence based on a standard.

In response to your specific concern, Table 14.1 of the OHS regulations contains a provision, which allows a competent trainer to credit an operator's previous training and experience to meet all or part of the 16 hours of training described within it.

It is the responsibilty of the employer (and at times a contractor) to ensure that the person delivering the training or making the assessment is a competent person, and that a written record of trainig is kept.  It is possible for an experienced operator in the workplace to be the competent person.  However, in assessing that person's competence, and employer should consider his experiences, whether he has the knowledge of the matters described in Table 14.1 as they relate to the equipment they will train and assess others on, as well as that person's ability to train others.

Please note that section 154 does not come into effect until October 9, 2008.  Between now and then, employers can consider a number of resources available to assist them in meeting the new requirements.  The attached list is of safety associations and community colleges that are currently developing one or two day programs designed to assist employers to train persons as operators or as competent trainers.  Another option may be for an association of employers from the same sector to establish a shared training / assessment program designed to best meet their needs.

We hope that experienced employers and operators will find benefits in this process, either by gaining knowledge they had not previously considered, or as an assurance that they have been meeting their duty to ensure equipment us operated safely and competently.  It will also afford experience with tohers toward a common goal of eliminating all workplace injuries and fatalities arising from the use of powered mobile equipment.

I hope that the recognition that can be given to prior experience and training addresses you Association's concern.  However should it not, of if you have other questions or concerns surrounding the practicality of this process, I invite you to contact Jennifer Fabian, Director of Safety Services with the Occupational Health and Safety Division, at 787-0486.  Of course, should you then have continued questions or concerns I would be pleased to hear from you.

SARM is an effective advocate in profiling the views of rural municipalities.  Once again, thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.