Staff Report #1
January 29, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: Occupational Health & Safety Work Programs – 2019 (Status) and 2020
The report be NOTED and FILED.
Each year, the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committees (JHSC) hold a workshop to review the progress made against their annual Work Program and to recommend to the General Manager the proposed Work Program for the following year. Throughout the year, items may be added to the list and prioritized accordingly as the result of emergent issues that arise.
A summary of the 2019 Work Program status is set out in Enclosure I. Highlights of significant initiatives are below.
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
Operator Safety Barriers (OSB Assessment of Pilot Program)
In July 2018, the Operator Safety Barrier (OSB) pilot project was launched, and three LTC buses were equipped with the OSBs for a one-year trial period. The goal was to ensure as many Operators as possible had the opportunity to drive one of these buses in service so that he/she could provide detailed feedback on their experiences.
In addition to the pilot program, an assessment of the violence in the workplace incidents in 2018 and 2019 was undertaken in an effort to determine whether the presence of an OSB could have reduced the severity and/or prevented incidents from occurring. The assessment found that, of the 49 incidents assessed, 22 could have been impacted by the presence of an OSB. Of the 22 incidents, 12 were subject to the OSB needing to be in the fully closed position in order to have an impact.
Feedback received from LTC Operators and Maintenance employees with respect to the presence of the OSB was, for the most part positive and feedback from customers was overall neutral.
Subsequent to completing the aforementioned assessments, the Working Group recommended to the Joint Health and Safety Committee that priority be given to consideration of the installation of Operator Safety Barriers (with increased side clearance/option #2 on the current fleet), recognizing same as an engineering control, who in turn recommended same to the General Manager. The General Manager concurred with the Committee’s recommendation, however noting that no funding source for the project has been identified. In 2020, administration will assess the potential implications of the installation from the employer’s perspective and potential funding sources should the project move forward.
Assessment of On-Road Support for Workplace Violence Incidents
A Working Group assessed past workplace incidents to determine any recommendations to be made to policies and procedures as they relate to on-road support. Highlights of the approved recommendations included:
- Update the procedures, related communications and training for on-road workplace violence incidents to ensure the initial responding Inspector appropriately assess situations, and where warranted, request additional Inspector support.
- Operations will focus increased attention on routes with higher workplace violence incident frequencies and provide a baseline for expectations for the on-road support functions concerning incident attendance.
Assessment of Bus Fleet for Blind Spots
A Working Group was tasked to assess if blind spots on the buses were a significant causal actor in motor vehicle collisions at LTC. The findings of the assessment found no evidence to support that blind spots are a significant cause of collisions at London Transit. However, numerous objects can limit and/or reduce visibility in vehicles, including, but not limited to buses. Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs), mirrors, structural members such as windshield frames, cameras, etc. are all objects that can present visibility challenges for Operators. All of these items are necessary for the structural integrity and safety of the bus, or other operational or monitoring requirements, and are present industry-wide. Recognizing that these challenges exist, London Transit has in the past and continues to provide training to Operators to be aware of blind spots and to change their head and body positioning (“rock and roll”) while in the seat to minimize the impact. This training is provided in conjunction with LTC’s defensive driving program and is part of the “look around” principle of the LLLCs of defensive driving (Look Around, Look Ahead, Leave Room, Communicate). In 2015 this training module was updated and all Operators are now required to have this refresher training on a standard three-year cycle. The program has proven effective by the virtual absence of blind spot related collisions at London Transit. Training will continue to focus on ensuring Operators are aware of impediments to visibility and techniques to mitigate same.
Assessment Musculoskeletal Disorders for the Operator’s Position
A Working Group was formed to assess and attempt to reduce musculoskeletal disorders for the Operator’s position. The assessment found several key categories that may result in musculoskeletal disorders for an Operator and the potential causes for same:
- Securing mobility devices: Operators using awkward postures, sticking straps/mechanisms, crouching and rising to a standing position while securing devices
- Driver’s seat adjustment: stiff controls; hand/wrist injuries related to over-exertion; seat not fully aired, back issues related to misalignment in the seat (“wallet syndrome”)
- Opening/closing windows: windows reported to be stiff; awkward body positioning while moving window
The analysis of the injuries identified that communications to the Operator group are essential to reminding all Operators of proper ergonomic principles and best practices to reduce injuries. The following approved recommendations are in the process of implementation:
- Communication be posted to reinforce the use of proper ergonomics when performing tasks related to the Operator position, as described in the Health and Safety Handbook and Ergo-Fit training.
- Internal communication be posted internally to encourage proper alignment in the seat by avoiding using the back pants pocket for wallets.
- Operators are to be further encouraged to get out of the seat periodically and stretch, consistent with established Health and Safety guidelines.
- Operators are to be further encouraged to report equipment defects (stiff windows, sticking mobility device straps, etc.) immediately.
- Continue with mandatory Ergo-Fit refresher training to be conducted when there is a musculoskeletal injury.
Fleet and Facilities Review of LTC’s Biohazard Program and Fall Arrest Program
Assessments were undertaken on LTC’s Biohazard Program and Fall Arrest Program and related training programs to ensure best practice.
As recommended and approved, LTC’s Biohazard Program was re-developed to effectively address the current environment in terms of exposures to biohazards and sharps, including potential exposures to high potency drugs. The new program was rolled out in June 2019, and all Fleet and Facilities employees who are responsible for biohazard clean up and/or sharp collections received same.
As recommended and approved, LTC’s Fall Arrest Program was re-developed to address all requisite legislative requirements and ensure best practices. All Fleet and Facilities employees as required have received the newly revised training in the Fall of 2019.
Mental Health Strategy
In support of the psychological health and safety of all employees, London Transit implemented a Mental Health Strategy with a vision that calls for employees that are resilient in the face of personal and workplace challenges. Together with London Transit’s Wellness Committee, ATU Local 741 Executive, and a mental health consultant, London Transit developed a custom training program for all employees on the topic of mental health in general, with a strong focus on resiliency, and with tips and strategies to manage mental health. The training module was tailored to address current issues specific to public transit which aids in the transfer of knowledge from the classroom to on-the-job situations. The Mental Health Resiliency Training is in alignment with London Transit’s strategic goals, focusing on a culture free from stigma, recognizing mental health as essential to the quality of life, and ensuring that organizational supports are available. The Mental Health Resiliency Training was rolled out in mid-2019, and by the end of 2021 all employees will have received it. Feedback from the program has been positive to date. In addition, the program received the “Corporate Leadership Award” for “Safety and Security” at CUTA in 2019.
The 2020 Work Program, as set out in Enclosure II, has been reviewed by the General Manager who is in concurrence with same. Several key initiatives include:
Workplace Violence Prevention Program – Fare media collection remains the primary issue for workplace violence incidents for Operators. An educational campaign on fare media detailing employer expectations should be a priority to attempt to address the issues.
Position Demands Analysis – Cognitive Demands Analysis are being developed for key bargaining unit positions to trial their effectiveness in terms of LTC’s Return to Work Program.
Ergonomic Assessment for Role of Inspectors – Assess the Inspectors role to reduce musculoskeletal disorders.
Ergonomic Communication Program for Fleet and Facilities– Develop a communications strategy to address best practise on ergonomics, how to reduce strain on the body with related and safety reminders.
Vibration Study Update – In 2007/08, through the JHSC in concert with OSHTECH Incorporated, a vibration measurement study of bus driving was completed. The assessment determined the actual levels of full body vibration within the then fleet and measured the Operator’s seating against vibration exposure guidelines to assess the effects of vibration concerning Operator comfort and safety. Since that testing, the fleet composition has changed; as such, an updated vibration measurement study is currently underway. Findings of same will be assessed for action as deemed appropriate.
Updates with respect to progress on the items included in the 2020 Work Program will be provided as part of the departmental quarterly updates to the Commission.
John Gillet, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety
Tyson Cragg, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Manager of Operations Administration
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager