DriverCheck’s Medical Director, Dr. Barry Kurtzer provided the Ministry of Labour with some insight into occupational medicine issues at a strategy session on occupational health and safety and labour relations last week.
“In the Occupational Health and Safety environment, regulatory and day-to-day operational issues facing employers, workers, and occupational health care providers are both ever changing and quite complex,” says Dr. Kurtzer. “Open forums like this one where all key stakeholders have the opportunity to exchange ideas and viewpoints will contribute to and enhance the future successful direction of Occupational Health and Safety initiatives in this province.”
Dr. Kurtzer was one of approximately 200 stakeholders who attended the session held at the Toronto Congress Centre on Thursday, November 20, 2014. Key speakers included Sophie Dennis, the Deputy Minister of Labour.
During the session the Ministry provided an update on trends, goals, objectives, and new programs relating to occupational health and safety and labour relations. Discussions included these proposed changes:
- Extending noise requirements to all Ontario workers currently not covered under the province’s existing Occupational Health and Safety Act (adds construction sites) which includes establishing an exposure limit for noise and requiring employers to take all measures reasonably necessary to protect workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels.
- Extending measures to protect workers at a construction site including, amongst many other provisions, protection from exposure to biological or chemical substances, which in turn includes setting occupational exposure limits for over 725 hazardous substances that restrict both the amount and time workers can work while exposed unprotected to those substances.
- Amending provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the WHMIS Regulation to implement the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
Full details can be found on the Ministry of Labour’s website.
Comments on the proposed protections for Ontario construction workers to address hazardous exposures to noise, biological and chemical agents can be submitted to the Ministry until December 29, 2014. The public has until December 19, 2014 to comment on the proposed WHMIS-related changes.