The Labour Program of Human Resources Skills Development Canada is the labour regulator for companies that fall under federal jurisdiction in Canada. The Labour Program continues to work at the leading edge of occupational health and safety by creating in 2004 an Intervention Model to promote healthier and safer workplaces.
The Intervention Model is designed to address the needs of selected workplaces in meeting their increased responsibilities under the Canada Labour Code Part II. Recent changes to the Code have placed a greater responsibility on employers and workplace health and safety committees, to identify and control hazards in their workplace. By doing so it is intended that the overall purpose of the Code, which is to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, will be achieved.
A key aspect of the Model is that it is completely voluntary. It is a collaborative and non-confrontational approach, designed to be a positive experience for all stakeholders and to assist in the establishment of an effective health and safety program in targeted workplaces. As part of the Model, the Labour Program Health and Safety Officer (HSO) steps out of the role of enforcer and commits to working cooperatively with the employer over an extended period of time, to help identify the hazards and the needs of the workplace. The Model assists all parties to focus their efforts where the needs and potential benefits are greatest.
The Intervention Model consists of six-steps:
1. Selection of Employer -The Labour Program reviews accident reports to identify employers that have rates significantly higher than the Industry average
2. Employer Commitment – The Labour Program meets with the employer to review their accident rate, and offers the Intervention Models as a means of reducing this rate. The Model is explained including the roles of the Labour Program and employer. If the employer agrees to participate their commitment is secured, preferable in writing by a senior company representative. This is an important step because the process is meant to be voluntary with the focus on prevention and education.
3. Occupational Health and Safety Appraisal and Development - During this stage a preliminary assessment of health and safety components at the workplace is conducted to ensure the workplace has a solid foundation on which to build its health and safety program. We will review any health and safety policy, determine if a properly formed workplace health and safety committee has been established and finally if they are reporting as required. If these basic components have not been well established then the HSO will assist the employer in these and many other areas. If these components are in place then the HSO will proceed to the next stage in the process.
4. Occupational Health and Safety Assessment – Once the foundations of the employer’s health and safety program have been established, a more formal and comprehensive assessment of workplace components is conducted. This assessment will include things such as: job hazard analysis, safe working procedures, health and safety education and training, equipment maintenance, first aid and emergency procedures etc.
5. Occupational Health and Safety Analysis and Action Plan – Based on the results of the above assessment, a joint action plan will be developed between the Labour Program and the employer, to address the deficiencies noted. The deficiencies may be addressed piece - meal, with serial Action Plans being developed over an extended period of time until all the deficiencies are addressed.
6. Maintenance of the Workplace Occupational Health and Safety Program - The Labour Program will establish timeframes to review and monitor the employer’s accident rate and health and safety program as a means of determining the success of the Model and the need for future interventions.