Occupational Health And Safety Training Mandate For Toronto Staffing Agencies

Workplace health and safety is a matter of paramount importance and, as a result of a pivotal change in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) in Ontario, effective July 1, 2014, staffing agencies have assumed a share of the responsibility for worker safety training.

By the effective date, all Ontario workplaces covered by the OHSA are required to have their workers and supervisors complete a basic safety awareness program that complies with regulatory standards. The critical word here, as it pertains to staffing agencies, is workers – this term now includes all employees of the respective workplace as well as all temporary staff and/or contractors employed within that workplace. Since a staffing agency is often the primary source of such staff/contract employees, these agencies have been mandated to provide the basic health and safety training to their temporary workforces as well.

A general summary of the basic health and safety training program for both full-time employees and temporary workforces is as follows:

  • It can be completed online or through in-person training (individual or group)
  • The estimated online completion time is 45-60 minutes (in-person is discretionary)
  • All training materials are prepared and provided by Ontario Ministry of Labour
  • The required completion date is July 1, 2014 – individuals hired after that date should receive their training as soon as possible after their official start date
  • Certification is valid for the duration of the individual’s working career
  • Fundamental purposes or objectives of the training include:
    • Increase workers’ knowledge of basic rights and responsibilities under the OHSA
    • Increase supervisors’ knowledge of basic rights/responsibilities under the OHSA
    • How to identify, assess, and deal with health and safety hazards in the workplace
    • Roles of the Ministry of Labour and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Ultimately, the overarching goal of this initiative is to improve health and safety for the workforce through the entire province of Ontario. Moving forward, staffing agencies will now share the responsibility for achieving this objective for the workforce in this particular region of the province.

Benefits Of New Safety Training Regulations For Staffing Agencies And Job Seekers

When any type of training program or initiative is mandated or non-negotiable, there can be a natural reaction of disdain or disapproval – some (many?) people simply do not like to be told that they have to do something with no opportunity for discussion or input.

In the case of the new OHSA mandate, staffing agencies have exhibited an opposite reaction – they can see several benefits for their respective businesses and for job seekers alike.

From the perspective of staffing agencies, some of the benefits that they may realize by fulfilling this Ministry of Labour mandate would include:

  • Projecting and protecting a positive reputation for their agency
  • There is the potential for reduced insurance premiums and/or costs
  • Assuredness/security that job seekers will be placed in safer work environments
  • Client companies will be less likely to contract out more hazardous or dangerous types of work to staffing agencies
  • Avoidance of possible compliance orders, charges, and/or substantial fines

As well, there are several diverse benefits for job seekers in Toronto who complete their basic health and safety training through a staffing agency:

  • One-time participation in this training – certification is valid over entire career
  • A mandatory training program has already been completed before on-boarding
  • It creates an atmosphere/environment of more safety-conscious co-workers
  • There is the reduced potential for days lost due to workplace accidents
  • The ability to identify health/safety hazards and propose solutions is heightened
  • Safeguards against possible exploitation, particularly for those deemed vulnerable:
    • Younger workers or those in first-job situations
    • Recent immigrants/those for whom English is not their first language
    • Older/more senior employees recently moving into part-time roles
    • Individuals moving to new jobs and/or new companies

Winters Technical Staffing is one of the leading staffing agencies in Toronto that understands a poorly or improperly trained employee or job seeker can have several damaging effects on their own business, on the livelihoods of their job seekers, and on the operating costs of their clients. The acceptance of these new health and safety measures as well as the willingness of agencies to implement this new OHSA training mandate will ensure that such deleterious effects are kept to a bare minimum.

Are you looking for a highly reputable staffing agency in Toronto to address your temporary staffing needs? Are you a job seeker with an interest in temporary/part-time employment in the GTA? For all your temporary employment needs, whether as an employer or an individual seeking employment, call Winters Technical Staffing today at 1-877-495-7422 or contact us to begin the hiring and placement processes.

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