If you received an email directing you to complete training, you can thank me and the members of the Kingston Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).
Well, that and us trying to get the College to be compliant with the law.
While our VP Academic may claim that the college is “ keenly focused on maintaining a safe environment in which our employees work,” actually doing something about it and following the law, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, it is not so keen.
It has been a few years since we first raised the issue of mandatory training and ensuring that every worker has received the training. It is only now, suddenly, that the college has decided that an arbitrary date of December 17, 2021 is appropriate for every full-time faculty to complete the training.
These on-line canned packages of training “tick” the boxes for legislative compliance. However, as you all know 80% of the workers for St. Lawrence College, are other than full time. They are part time and partial load, not to mention all the part-time support workers. These workers require training to ensure they are aware of the hazards of the workplace just as much as full time—a worker is a worker.
All workplaces in Ontario covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act must ensure their workers and supervisors have completed a basic health and safety awareness training program as well as workplace specific Global Harmonized Systems (WHMIS) training, Workplace Violence Awareness etc.. The employer also has the ability to deem other training as essential.
Every worker for the College deserves the same training, the same awareness of risks of violence, the same resources. Just because someone has different employment status doesn’t make them unequal under the law. The College cannot claim 100% compliance until every worker has received the training.
I encourage you to do the training. Safety training and awareness is a good thing. It will also help the JHSCs know if you think the training is appropriate or where and how it can be improved.
Obviously, it is my belief that someone working in the BIO MED lab should have different WHMIS and safety training than someone teaching accounting, or machine shop, or electrical instrumentation. You get my point. Your JHSC has the responsibility under the law to:
(b) make recommendations to the constructor or employer and the workers for the improvement of the health and safety of workers;
(c) recommend to the constructor or employer and the workers the establishment, maintenance and monitoring of programs, measures and procedures respecting the health or safety of workers (OHSA 9(18)
We need to know if you think the training, you are receiving needs improving. As always should you have questions about Health and Safety, please contact the members of your campus Joint Health and Safety Committee.
In Brockville: Angie Dukelow, Mark Weldon and Sara Craig
In Cornwall: Robbie Renaud and Natalie Clark
In Kingston: Lidia Dorosz, Karen Weisbaum and me
President, OPSEU Local 417