Backgrounder - Employer Alert: High-pressure sales tactics providing misleading information about workplace notices and safety training



    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is committed to
protecting workers' rights, and their health and safety in the workplace. To
ensure that workers are aware of their rights, employers are mandated, through
legislation or regulation, to prominently display an employment standards
poster and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as the company's
own workplace health and safety policy.
    The Ministry of Labour has recently received reports and complaints about
aggressive, high-pressure sales tactics by private providers of workplace
posters and workplace safety training. These companies imply a connection with
the ministry and are selling "official" posters that they claim will satisfy
legislated posting requirements. Some of these companies are also selling
"training" that may not be appropriate or required.
    Posters sold by private companies may not comply with the requirements of
the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) or the Occupational Health and Safety
Act (OHSA).

    Employment Standards

    Under the ESA, employers are required to display the most recent poster
prepared and published by the Minister of Labour in at least one conspicuous
location in the workplace.
    The poster "What You Should Know About The Ontario Employment Standards
Act" is available free at
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pdf/poster.pdf. A simple print-out on
legal-size paper will suffice for compliance with the ESA. Publications
Ontario will also provide copies of the poster, charging only for shipping and
handling.

    Health and Safety

    Employers are required to post a copy of the Occupational Health and
Safety Act in their workplaces. The act, in booklet form, is available from
Publications Ontario. The price is $8, plus GST. The act can be ordered online
at www.publications.serviceontario.ca; the search code is 111759. Also, the
act can be printed for free from www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.
    Employers also must prepare and review at least once a year a written
occupational health and safety policy, and must develop and maintain a program
to implement that policy. Advice for doing this is available at
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/ohsaguide/ohsag_appa.html.

    Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)

    WHMIS is a Canada-wide system designed to give employers and workers
information about hazardous materials used in the workplace. The provinces and
territories have incorporated the national standards into their occupational
health and safety legislation and regulations, and are responsible for
enforcement. This ensures a consistent approach across Canada for the
labelling and use of hazardous materials.
    Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the employer
requirements, and the WHMIS regulation under the act sets out operational
requirements.
    Certain employers in Ontario are required to identify hazardous
materials, ensure that proper data sheets on the materials are readily
available and containers are properly labelled, and to make sure that
employees are properly trained in handling and use of the materials.
    The act also requires an annual review, but not annual training in WHMIS.
The review must be done in consultation with the joint health and safety
committee (if the workplace has one) and includes ensuring that the
information on the hazardous materials is up-to-date, that anyone working with
the materials has been properly trained and is still conversant with the
training. A review is also required if the conditions at the workplace have
changed or new information on a controlled product becomes available.

    
    Disponible en français

                             www.labour.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Public enquiries: Employment Standards:
1-800-531-5551, (in Toronto: (416) 326-7160); Health and Safety:
1-800-268-8013, (in Toronto: (416) 326-7770); Media enquiries: Belinda Sutton,
Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405

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Ontario Ministry of Labour

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