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 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 revised NJC Occupational Health and Safety Directive is effective January 1, 2011.

Highlights of Changes

The major revisions to the provisions of the OHS Directive can be categorized as follows:

Part IV – Elevating Devices

Requirements to have a safe operating certificate for each elevator and to inspect all elevating devices.

Part V – Boilers and Pressure Vessels

Requirement to inspect all boilers and pressure vessels.

The provisions dealing with the inspection and testing of halon systems under Section 5.4 have been deleted as the employer is committed to eliminating the reliance on halon in the workplace.

Part VIII – Electrical Safety

The exception under Part VIII has been deleted as it is no longer relevant given modern work practices.

Clarification on requirements for sufficient electrical supply outlets for all devices routinely used and for extension cords not to be used as permanent wiring.

Part IX – Sanitation

Non-mandatory inspection guidelines when a cafeteria is provided by the employer.

9.2. Care of Premises – Requirement to use, the extent possible, cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.

9.5. Water Quality – A minimum standard for drinking water quality:

"The employer will adhere, as a minimum, to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, or to any other federal, provincial or territorial appropriate standards and any existing guidelines that provides the higher level of protection to workers."

Two new Appendices:

New Part X – Pesticides (formerly the Pesticides Directive)

10.1 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – An updated description of IPM was added and reflects the definition from the sixth International IPM Symposium held in March 2009.

The elements of IPM outlined at section 10.1.4 have been revised to reflect the current IPM approach (1.e. ecosystems planning and management using targeted pest management strategies).

The IPM approach described at section 10.1.6 has been expanded and reflects the underlying principle of IPM programs (i.e. recognition of a hierarchy of pest management controls as proposed in the IPM).

The provisions dealing with work procedures, storage, and disposal of pesticides have all been updated.

Part XI – Hazardous Substances

11.2 Hazard Investigation – Clarification and elaboration on safeguard requirements for employees conducting searches:

"No employee shall be required to conduct searches for potential chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive (CBRNE) or other threats in the workplace unless it is a part of the employees normal duties and the employee has been instructed and trained in safe methods and procedures to follow."

Requirement for written search procedures:

"The employer shall establish written methods and procedures that are to be followed and met by employees who may be required to conduct such searches as part of their normal duties."

Revised record retention requirement of thirty years:

"A record of all instruction and training provided shall be kept by the employer for a period of thirty years after the date on which it was given."

Updated requirements for asbestos management under section 11.6.

All federal, provincial, territorial and municipal requirements for asbestos containing materials will apply to government-owned, managed or lease facilities.

Part XII – Confined Spaces

12.1 Hazard Assessment – Although section 12.1.1 previously required that an employee be provided with information on the hazard assessment, new paragraphs 12.1.1 (a) through (d) are specific in what information must be provided.

Part XIII – Personal and Protective Equipment and Clothing

13.2. Protective Clothing – Requirement that outdoor protective clothing be designed to protect against U.V. rays and to reflect sunlight.  

13.15. Drowning Hazards – Clarification that any flotation device used in the workplace shall meet the requirements of the appropriate standard.

Part XIV – Tools and Machinery

Clarification on requirement that "all tools and machinery used by employees shall meet the appropriate standard on ergonomics. In the absence of any "appropriate standard" the manufacturer's recommendations shall be used when determining preventive measures to address identified and assess ergonomics – related hazards."

Clarification on consultation with the appropriate health and safety committee for the inspection and maintenance of tools and machinery.

Part XV – Materials Handling

15.5 Inspection, Testing, Maintenance – In addition to the current requirement for setting out written instructions on the inspection and testing of materials handling equipment before equipment is used for the first time, section 15.5.1 now also requires written instructions after each scheduled maintenance or repair and applies to motorized equipment.

15.8 Manual Handling – Updated requirement to reassess all weight limits and workplace designs based on current knowledge of ergonomics using the appropriate standard.

New Part XVI – Motor Vehicle Operations (formerly the Motor Vehicle Operations Directive)

16.2 Safe Operation of Motor Vehicles –Requirement for the employer to evaluate the feasibility of purchasing winter tires for departmental vehicles when a recommendation is made by the appropriate health and safety committee.

16.4 Medical Examinations – Clarification on the costs associated with health evaluations and coverage as per the Occupational Health Evaluation Standard.

16.6 Training – Requirement for the employer to provide training, on the daily commercial vehicle inspection requirements, to employees who operate commercial vehicles.

16.16 First Aid Kits – Provisions on first aid kits for motor vehicles contained in Part XVIII have been moved to Part XVI and section 18.5.4 has been removed.

Part XX – Occupational Health & Safety Committees and Representatives

20.11 Workplace Health and Safety Committees – Clarification on the powers of a workplace health and safety committee under section 20.11.2 that the workplace health and safety committee participate and be consulted.

Date of next Cyclical Review

The Committee is recommending that the next date for input call for the OHS Directive be three (3) years from the date of implementation of the new Directive.


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/oshd-dsst/index-eng.php