I am regularly frustrated when I read about employers not understanding the situation when the Ministry of Labour comes calling. An accident or incident has occurred and everyone wants to know how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it. I hope my opinion may shed some light on this topic.
Section 25 of the ACT describes the employer’s responsibilities which includes hiring the right people.
Subsection (2) (c),
“The employer shall, when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”
What does this excerpt mean to the employer? Well, the answer lies in the definitions section of the ACT which comes just before Part 1, the ‘Application’ section.
A “competent person” means,
a) Is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
b) Is familiar with this ACT and the regulations that apply to the work, and
c) Has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.
Let us break this down further.
Hmm… Qualified because of knowledge and TRAINING and experience to organize the work. Sound just about right. How can a supervisor organize work for his/her employees without the proper training? There are numerous times a training class of mine lacks the company supervision. It would appear the employer and/or the supervisors do not feel they should be included. Does that sound competent to you?
Hmm… Is familiar with the ACT and the regulations that apply to the work. How many times a supervisor, after an accident happens, was unaware of any actual danger and didn’t know their responsibilities towards the health and safety of the worker? Would you comment that they did practice ‘Due Diligence’? I think not!
If the supervisor does not have the training, and is not familiar with the ACT and the regulations, then how would he/she be on top of things when it comes to recognizing all the potential hazards associated with the work? I would say it would be highly unlikely!
Please look deeper into my blogs and have your opinion and let me know if you can find a supervisor anywhere in the blogs that seem competent to you! There are none that I am aware of but maybe I have overlooked one or two.
By the way,
I also would like to say that I have seen a marked increase, in the Peterborough area, in supervision taking the same training as their workers. One, just yesterday,sat on his own and received forklift training to better understand his role in the handling of forklifts, the hazards associated with the forklift, and to better understand how to monitor the workplace to ensure that proper work standards are being adhered to.
Another of our bigger customers has hired excellent supervisors over the past few years. I can say that with a bit of a grain of salt as a number of them are demanding to be in those classrooms right along with their workers. No longer do I hear “I do not need to attend the same training, I do not have the time.” At least I do not hear it as often.
If you are an Ontario employer, please review the definition of Competency under the ACT. It will give you a better understanding of what is required when you decide to interview the next group of people for supervision.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.