Occupational Health and Safety Committee

The Executive Committee of the National Joint Council (NJC) is pleased to announce that it recently accepted the report of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OHSC) in regard to the Cyclical Review of the Directive.

This NJC Occupational Health and Safety Directive (OHSD) was developed in partnership by representatives from Federal Public Service Bargaining Agents members of the NJC, the Employer and departments. Its provisions form part of the collective agreements of the participating parties under the By-Laws of the National Joint Council.

Implementation Date

The new NJC Occupational Health and Safety Directive is effective April 1, 2008.

Highlights of Changes

General

On May 16, 2007, the Executive Committee tasked the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committee with the cyclical review of Group A of the Occupational Health and Safety Directive.

Group A includes:

The next group cyclical review of the directives of Groups B, C and D should be initiated in the fall of 2008.

Some changes are editorial in nature to facilitate the use and understanding of the Directive: updated reference information, additional definitions, new sequence to enhance clarity and logic, renumbering of subsections to accommodate additions and/or deletions.

At the outset of the review, the Committee acknowledged that an integrated approach to the Directive respectful of the legislative and regulatory requirements was called for.

To this end the Directive will provide Web site links and references to existing Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR).

NJC grievance procedure – As a result of the changes that were implemented into the Directive with the arrival of the amended Code in 2000, a new subsection was added to Part I, entitled "Jurisdiction". As such, the NJC grievance procedure shall not be used if any alternative administrative procedure for redress is available under the Code.

Appropriate standard – Now means, when referring to a standard within this directive, a standard which provides the highest level of safety to the extent that the most recent standard provides the highest level of safety.

Permanent structure and safe occupancy of the work place:

Departments and agencies to ensure that work places, work stations and work processes meet appropriate ergonomic standards.

Departments and agencies to notify all employees in advance of any planned interruptions of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the work place.

Refusal to work – This part of the Directive is more concise, keeping only the enhancements to the legislative requirements.

Health and safety committees – The NJC OHS Directive recognizes three levels of committees: National Policy Health and Safety Committees, Regional Policy Health and Safety Committees and Work Place Health and Safety Committees.

All references to health and safety representatives were deleted to lighten the text; however, should a Work Place Health and Safety Committee not exist, health and safety representatives are extended the same rights, privileges, and protections.

Criteria have been established to determine the size of the committees.

New items have been co-developed to be included in the terms of reference of committees such as, the recording of minutes and the adoption of the agenda.

There is a recognition that employee may not have the resources required to fully participate as members of a policy committee: therefore, assistance or other support may be provided to facilitate their participation.

Copies of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee minutes to be shared with all Work Place Health and Safety Committee members.

Regional Health and Safety Committees, if established, must operate in accordance with the provisions applicable to policy committees under the Code which includes all powers, duties and privileges afforded to its members.

Duty to inform all employees, at least once a year, of the purpose of the health and safety committee and its current membership.

Health and safety training – New criteria to be included in the content of the training offered to all health and safety committee members.

New requirement to develop in consultation with the health and safety committees, an awareness program for all employees.

The directive now makes it clear that where an employee is directed by the employer to attend health and safety training as a consequence of being a member of a health and safety committee, this time shall be considered to be time worked.

Hazardous occurrence – New requirement to develop, in consultation with the committee, a hazardous occurrence investigation procedure, which includes the process of appointment of a qualified person to conduct investigations.

Investigation to begin as soon as possible with the objective of identifying root causes of hazardous occurrences and to make recommendations for corrective or preventative measures.

First aid - Requirement to ensure that first aid kits be replenished.

First aid attendants to be entitled to take the time required to render first aid to injured employees in the work place.

Requirement to have a first aid attendant for every 50 employees in the work places. This is an improvement made in accordance with practices already in place in several departments and agencies. There is a potential financial impact for those departments and/or agencies which do not already meet this requirement.

Departments or Agencies to evaluate feasibility of purchasing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) when a recommendation is made by a health and safety committee.  All reports or studies to be shared with the health and safety committee. This reflects an ongoing practice in several department and/or agencies. Although the final decision remains with the employer, there is a potential financial impact for those departments and agencies who decide to purchase AEDs.

Any cardio-pulmonary resuscitation program including the provision of AEDs when required will be subject to the participation of the appropriate health and safety committee.

When a Department or Agency provides AEDs, it will ensure the provision of appropriate training for a sufficient number of employees. Any AED program should be part of an existing "chain of survival". There is a potential financial impact for departments and/or agencies who have decided to provide AEDs.

Enquiries

Enquiries about this Directive should be referred to the respective bargaining agent, or the responsible officers in departmental headquarters.

Responsible officers in departmental headquarters may, in turn, direct questions regarding the application of this directive to the Senior Director, Labour Relations Operations, Treasury Board Secretariat.

The new directive is available on the NJC website: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/index.php?vid=8&lang=eng.