2018 Green Book (Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations)
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Green Book – Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations
The Green Book (Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations), is updated annually and published by Occupational Safety Group Inc. based on legislative and regulatory changes. The Green Book contains the complete, current Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and also includes the following regulations: confined spaces, construction projects, control of exposure to biological or chemical agents, designated substances, farming operations, first aid requirements, healthcare and residential facilities, industrial establishments, and WHMIS. Note: This book does not include information pertaining to mines.
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What’s New For 2018?
On April 1st, 2017, amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness training regulation came into effect. The amendments replace the original transition clause, along with a provided six months of working at heights training, under the condition the employer can provide written verification showing that a worker, who had completed training prior to April 1st, 2015, is enrolled in an approved working at heights learning program that will be scheduled to be completed prior to October 1st, 2017.
December 18th, 2017, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017 (Bill 177) officially passed. A summary of key adjustments is as follows:
Increased corporate fines from $500K up to $1.5 million per charge
- Individual OHS fines have increased by 4 times to a total of $100,000 per charge
- When an inspector becomes aware of a possible offense, a charge could still be commenced, whether the alleged offence occurred 1-year prior or prior to this change.
- Employers must notify a Ministry of Labour director if a health and safety committee or representative recognizes a structural defect of a workplace as a potential source of danger or a hazard to workers. This obligation does not apply to an employer that owns the workplace.
- Additional reportable incidents may be added to the regulations at a later date.
- Potential expansion to content and timing of reportable injury notices may be considered at a later date.
Amendments to Regulation 833 – Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents are adjusted to reflect the new/revised occupational exposure limits (OELs). This revision also includes changes to numerous chemical substances that are based on recommendations by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
In addition to the changes in Regulation 833, the Ministry has adopted proposals to include a more protective OEL for specific substances. The Ministry has assumed the ACGIH method of addressing exposures to substances. In Regulation 851 – Industrial Establishments, the minimum oxygen content has been raised from 18% to 19.5%.
Amendments to Regulation 833 and 851 will take effect January 1st, 2018.
About the Green Book (Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations)
Since the Act came into force in 1979, amendments have been continually introduced to establish new procedures, as well as new rights and duties, for workers, employers, supervisors, and others in the workplace. One of the most important changes was to give the Joint Health & Safety Committee the right to participate in health and safety recommendations. But, that wasn’t the only established right given to workers. The Ham Commission Report was instrumental in establishing three basic rights for workers: the right to know, the right to participate, and the right to refuse unsafe work.
Right to Know
Employers and supervisors must ensure workers are aware of the hazards presented by people, equipment, materials, the environment, and processes. They have the right to be trained on, and to receive information, about dangerous and hazardous substances to which they are exposed, or may be exposed to.
Right to Participate
The right to participate is best illustrated through worker membership on the JHSC. Workers have the right to ask questions about issues concerning their health and safety, or that of a coworker. Workers have the right to be a part of the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling workplace health and safety hazards. Participation can also be achieved by reporting unsafe conditions to the supervisor or employer.
Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
Workers may refuse work where they believe it is likely to endanger themselves or another worker. The Act includes a detailed process for refusing unsafe work, and it explains the employer’s responsibility for responding to work refusals. The Act also provides workers with protection from reprisal, or retaliation, from the employer, should they decided to refuse unsafe work.