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Ministry beefs up carrot on the stick in OH&S strategy

Ian Harvey
Ministry beefs up carrot on the stick in OH&S strategy

Employers who set the standard ahead of the curve in occupational, health and safety (OH&S) training and workplace safety records will earn discounts on their insurance premiums and recognition from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

The Chief Prevention Officer’s Accreditation and Recognition Program is to be announced today (Nov. 22) in a joint news conference with the Minister Monte McNaughton and the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB).

The program will begin Jan. 1, 2020, timed to start with the introduction of new WSIB insurance rate schemes which will set premiums according to a new schedule.

The WSIB claims the new rate model and classification structure are reflective of individual claims experience and are part of an overall reduction in rates which has seen a 47 per cent drop since 2016. The Chief Prevention Officer’s (CPO) program will work together with the WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence Program.

“The new program brings a dollar value to reduced or eliminated OH&S issues,” a source told the Daily Commercial News.

“It rewards those who are doing more and performing well. We have many companies who take OH&S seriously, especially those in construction, they tend to be the larger operators. We want them to lead the way and to show the subcontractors the way and that they won’t be able to work on their projects unless they adapt the same strategic approach to OH&S compliance and, especially, training.”

The top-down OH&S compliance and training approach is a lead-by-example strategy and ratchets-up the ministry’s goal of making workplaces safer across all sectors.

“Good employers will be recognized as good actors if they successfully implement and maintain a workplace health and safety program as recognized by the CPO,” the source added.

“The question for us was, how do we recognize these companies which are already doing this and use them as the standard?”

The plan is to create a culture of safety at all levels, especially small subcontractors and is an enhancement of the existing Certificate of Recognition accreditation program which nationally certifies construction OH&S programs though the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

Those companies in sectors with their own proprietary or specialized OH&S programs will also be able apply under the new scheme to be recognized if an audit of their strategy shows they are compliant with the overall OH&S goals and training.

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