CSA's new OHS training standard explained

Effective training is a critical element of ensuring the health and safety of employees, and represents a significant investment made by organizations across Canada. Training helps to ensure key personnel have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their specific roles. Additionally, training is required for compliance with health and safety laws and as part of the due diligence processes within an organization.

There are major benefits to be gained from occupational health and safety (OHS) training. Some of these benefits include:
•    Helping make workers competent in health and safety, and helping them identify hazards and adopt safe and health work practices;
•    Fostering a positive culture of health and safety and contributing to the overall success of organizations;
•    Enabling organizations to meet their legal duties to protect the health and safety of workers and others;
•    Assisting organizations in avoiding the financial costs of injuries and helping ensure business continuity.

While the value and importance of OHS training is generally well recognized, there were no general standards on this subject in Canada—until March 21, 2013.

To help organizations invest limited resources appropriately, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has developed the CSA Z1001 Occupational Health and Safety standard that provides the essentials for managing an OHS training program. This new standard forms part of CSA’s portfolio of OHS Management Systems Standards. ?

To help develop the standard, a technical committee of experts in OHS training was established in April 2011, comprised of stakeholders in five interest categories:
•    User management — public and private organizations representing the interests of management with respect to provision of OHS training for their workplace parties
•    User labour — representing the interest of workers, including Canadian labour unions, labour organizations and individual workers
•    Producers — organizations that produce OHS training programs and materials and provide OHS training services as their primary source of revenue
•    Regulatory authority— Provincial and federal regulatory bodies authorized by law to set, govern and enforce OHS-related training requirements in Canada
•    General — Any organization or individual who has an interest in ensuring effective OHS training for workplace parties in Canadian workplaces and are not represented by the other interest groups

This volunteer technical committee undertook to develop a standard to meet the following requirements:
•    To create a bilingual, national, consensus-based CSA standard on management of OHS ?training and safety-related job qualifications
•    To create a leading practices document to aid in the evaluation and selection of training ?providers, and to help training providers in meeting the expectations of employers ?
With the purpose of the project in mind, the technical committee developed a standard to manage OHS related training. Over a twenty-four-month development process, the Z1001 OHS Training Standard formed into three major elements:
•    Training administration and management?
•    Establishing and maintaining an OHS training program
•    Developing and maintaining OHS training courses

The Training administration and management element outlines processes for the overall management of the OHS training program within an organization. A major area of this includes roles and responsibilities of the organization, senior management and training management requirements, as well as the need to engage workers and worker representatives in the various elements of managing the program.

The second element, establishing and maintaining an OHS training program, outlines the requirements for conducting a needs assessment, establishing program objectives and setting standards for program design, development and evaluation. The program element also addresses the frequency of a needs assessment review as well as documentation and records requirements through an overall continual improvement methodology.

The final major element is developing, delivering and maintaining OHS training courses. This element is the largest focus of the Z1001 standard and addresses needs analysis, design, development and delivery at the training course level. This also includes processes for evaluating trainees, trainers, training providers and the training course. Similar to the training program element, it outlines documentation and recordkeeping requirements through an overall continual improvement methodology.

The technical committee also identified a number of additional areas of knowledge and sample tools that were designed to assist users of the CSA Z1001 OHS Training Standard. They include:
•    Training for health and safety committees and health and safety representatives
•    Training for supervisors?
•    Sample supervisor training matrix?
•    Training for new workers
•    Sample trainee evaluation form

The CSA Z1001 Occupational Health and Safety Training Standard was developed to assist organizations in having an appropriate OHS training program to contribute towards making workers competent in health and safety, and help employees to identify hazards and adopt safe and healthy work practices.

A strong OHS training program will assist organizations in contributing to their overall success, meet their legal duties, avoid the financial costs of injuries and help to ensure business continuity.

Dylan Short is managing director of the Redlands Group and chairperson of the CSA Z1001 technical committee. You may contact him at Dylan.Short@redlandsgroup.com