Many Canadian workers not getting OHS training: Fasken Martineau

Survey finds many managers and supervisors are not trained to identify workers under the influence.

April 21, 2017   by PLANT STAFF

Many Canadian employers are risking workers’ health and safety while leaving themselves open to severe penalties under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, says an Ottawa law firm.

Fasken Martineau’s annual employer OHS survey found more than 40% of respondents representing 358 employers do not ensure all workers get company OHS policy and program training.

Most employers are aware of their legal requirements but many aren’t equipped to enforce them.

They’re most concerned about aggressively enforced OHS policies and programs; the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace, which they anticipate will become muddied by the legalization of marijuana; harassment and violence, especially new requirements for sexual harassment claims; and OHS inspectors who can now impose monetary penalties or prosecute under the Criminal Code if they discover a violation.

More than half of respondents (53%) suspected that a worker was under the influence of alcohol and/or nonprescription drugs while at work in the last 12 months; and 60% said managers and supervisors are not trained to identify workers that may be under the influence of intoxicants.

Workplace harassment and violence risk assessments were conducted in the last 12 months by 50% of employers, but 46% had not provided all personnel with training about domestic and/or sexual violence in the workplace.

Only 34% work at an organization that provided formal OHS policy and program training for every worker, contractor and sub-contractor; and 66% said their organizations risk not only OHS violations, but the lives and safety of workers as well.

Nearly half of employers (49%) received a visit from an OHS inspector in the last 24 months and 55% reported their organizations did not provide managers and/or supervisors with training for what to do when an inspector visits.

Fasken Martineau warns enforcement of OHS legislation by regulators and the courts will increase and employers need to be prepared by ensuring all personnel receive comprehensive training.

The survey was conducted nationally with the highest percentage of responses coming from employers in Ontario, Québec and BC. About 33% of respondents worked for large organizations with 1,000 or more workers.

Download a copy of The Good, the Bad and the Troubling report here.

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