Important Changes in Health and Safety Legislation

Important Changes in Health and Safety Legislation

February 26, 2016

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has been amended. The key amendments include:

  1. New Noise Regulations have been extended to affect all workplaces covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This will come into effect July 1, 2016. Changes include:
    • Prescribing, for workers exposed to noise, a maximum time-weighted exposure limit of 85 decibels over an eight-hour work shift
    • Requiring employers to put in place measures to reduce workers’ exposure based on a “hierarchy of controls”, which could include engineering controls, work practices, and the use of personal protective equipment in the form of hearing protection devices and
    • Requiring employers who provide a worker with a hearing protection device to provide adequate training and instruction on that device.
    • New workplaces covered by this regulation include:
      1. Construction projects
      2. Health care faculties
      3. Schools
      4. Farming operations
      5. Fire services
      6. Police services
      7. Amusement parks
  2. New Joint Health and Safety Committee Standards require that certified members and training providers meet specific requirements. This will ensure quality and consistency in training. New standards will also require those who complete certification AFTER March 1, 2016 to undergo refresher training every three years. The new standards does not apply to committee members who are certified prior to March 1, 2016
  3. Construction Projects Regulation (O. Reg. 213/91). This will come into effect January 1, 2016.
    • New requirements relating to the safe operation of rotary foundation drill rigs (“drill rigs”), including new drill rig operator training requirements;
    • Enhancing and clarifying provisions relating to exposure to carbon monoxide, and other fumes and gases, released from internal combustion engines;
    • Strengthening fall protection measures; and,
    • Correcting errors, omissions and inconsistencies, updating outdated references, and clarifying certain requirements.
  4. Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents Regulation (Regulation 833). This will come into effect January 1, 2016.
    • Extending the application of the regulation to construction projects; and
    • Enabling the future use of ‘codes of practice’ approved by the Minister of Labour.
  5. Confined Spaces Regulation (O. Reg. 632/05). This will come into effect January 1, 2016.
    • Consequential amendments were made under this regulation to ensure consistency with changes to Regulation 833.

If you have any questions about how these new changes will impact your workplace, please contact Safety First Consulting. Our team of professional consultants can help you ensure compliance with your legal responsibilities. Call us at 905-669-5444.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour