With the third, and most daunting, wave of the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, greater attention is turning to workplace transmission and the employer duty to protect workers.
Among other measures, workplace COVID-19 safety plans
are mandatory in Ontario. So too is Certification training
for joint health and safety committee members (JHSCs). The provincial government confirms JHSC members or worker health and safety representatives should be consulted for their input on the plan. Overall, quality Certification training can also help them play an informed role assisting to assess, map out and implement next steps to confront COVID-19 and for that matter all hazards.
Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) is equally prepared to help. In fact, we have recently expanded our schedule of JHSC Certification training
courses and will continue adding courses to keep pace with demand (in virtual classrooms—more on this below). Register today
to ensure your spot.
Employer certification training obligations
WHSC Certification programs provide JHSC members and worker reps with the knowledge and skills needed to play their critical and legally mandated roles
. Among other things, the training equips participants to recognize, assess and recommend measures to eliminate or control exposure to workplace hazards following the hierarchy of controls; conduct inspections; and fulfill hazard, injury and illness investigation and reporting obligations.
Employers must "carry out" Certification training
for at least two members of the JHSC, one worker representative and one management representative. Though, many workplaces elect to train their entire committee. In smaller workplaces, some employers recognize the utility of this training and ensure health and safety representatives complete it too.
To become certified, JHSC members must first complete JHSC Certification Part I
followed by JHSC Certification Part II
. Of note, WHSC Part II training includes a comprehensive COVID-19 module
exploring key sources of transmission and measures to protect workers and limit transmission. To maintain certification status, JHSC Certification Refresher
must then be completed within three years of completing Certification Part II and every three years thereafter.
Certification training programs and those who deliver them must be approved by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Chief Prevention Officer. WHSC is an approved provider
and our programs are also approved.
Employer duty to protect
Despite many workplaces implementing critical and mandatory public health measures
designed to protect against the COVID-19 virus, the evidence suggests much work remains
. According to Public Health Ontario
, workplaces are the source of almost 25 per cent of all COVID-19 outbreaks (two or more confirmed cases in the workplace within 14 day period). Although news reports of some COVID-19 workplace outbreaks
and a wide body of research into worker compensation claims
in general provide additional evidence these numbers are in all likelihood considerably under reported.
Workplaces will want to consider if they are doing all they can, including training, to protect workers and stem broader transmission of the virus and associated suffering.
Some regions, including Peel
have established new requirements for most workplaces with five or more COVID-19 cases
reported in a 14 day period to shut down for 10 days
in a bid to curtail transmission. Notable exceptions to these requirements include health care facilities, schools and childcare operations. Failing to adhere to public health directives may lead to fines
of up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for an officer or director of a corporation and $10 million for a corporation.
WHSC...here to help, safely
The COVID-19 crisis presented an unprecedented challenge in terms of providing access to WHSC’s essential and mandatory programs, including JHSC Certification training. WHSC quickly retooled our delivery model
in a way we could still apply adult learning principles to ensure learning is engaging, relevant and achieved
. This we achieved with WHSC virtual classroom training
offering live, real-time learning. Participants and instructors engage remotely from their homes or workplaces, thus providing the benefits of traditional in-person training
while also assuring safety.
All that is required by the participant is a high-speed internet connection and a computer with a functioning camera and audio. Please note, to help ensure the integrity of the learning experience mobile devices like smart phones and tablets are not permitted. When registering be sure to supply the participant’s home address,
as materials critical to successful participation will be shipped to this address.
Be sure to also visit our online registration page
for our complete virtual classroom training schedule and to register. Beyond scheduled classes we can work with you, where participant numbers warrant, to coordinate Certification Training
or almost any of our training courses
in a virtual classroom.
Need more information still?
Call a WHSC training services representative
in your area.
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Additional related resources:
WHSC COVID-19 resources