Staff Report #1
January 26, 2022
To All Commissioners
Re: Occupational Health & Safety Work Programs – 2021 (Status) and 2022
The report be NOTED and FILED.
Each year, the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committees (JHSC) hold a workshop to review their progress against their previous annual Work Program and 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 due to emergent issues that may arise. In 2021, the pandemic remained a major workplace priority in all work settings, within London Transit, to ensure a safe workplace for all. Responding to issues resulting from COVID-19 continued to take precedence in regard to the 2021 Health & Safety Work Program items. Collectively, management, ATU Local 741 and JHSCs continued to work together to ensure employees’ safety, while responding to COVID-19 issues. Details with respect to the protocols and procedures that have been implemented relating to the COVID-19 pandemic have been provided to the Commission through regular updates.
2021 Work Program Update
In 2021, priority was placed on response to issues relating to COVID-19. Notwithstanding this focus, a number of other key initiatives from the 2021 Health and Safety Work Program were undertaken and/or completed, summary discussion with respect to these items follows, noting the 2021 Health and Safety Work Program status is set out in Enclosure I.
Articulated Bus Review and Training
A working group was established to undertake an assessment of London Transit’s articulated bus fleet with respect to concerns raised by Operators when operating these buses during inclement weather, i.e. snow and/or ice covered roads in relation to the existing procedures outlined in London Transit’s Severe Weather Action Plan. Through the assessment findings and recommendations, several key initiatives were approved and are in process of implementation as set out below:
- the Operator Onboarding Program is being revised to include enhanced on-road and in-class training for new Operators specific to articulated buses. This enhanced training will also be included in the Operator Defensive Driving Program which is provided to all Operators on a recurring basis.
- the development of a communications/educational campaign to be run annually in the late fall/winter highlighting quick tips relating to the operation of articulated buses during inclement weather.
A detailed assessment will be undertaken in two years time on the effectiveness of the above measures, and will be included on a future work program.
Review of Health and Safety: Semi-Annual Training Needs Assessment Procedure and Safety Procedures on Employee Health and Safety Training and Orientation
The JHSC may add, at their discretion, audits of specific Health and Safety Policies and Procedures to the annual work program. The audits are intended to ensure that established procedures continue to meet requisite legislation, are consistent with best practice, remain current in the work environment and are consistently applied.
The review of the Health and Safety Procedure on Semi-Annual Training Needs Assessment Procedure and Application found that all criteria continue to be met and no action was required. The review of the Health and Safety Procedure on Employee Health and Safety Training and Orientation resulted in recommendations for improvements. As a result, a revised Training Matrix has been implemented, which will ensure the delivery of training as required and ensures the update of all applicable records. In addition, an audit of those hired in the last two years was undertaken to ensure all training is up to date, and going forward quarterly audits will be undertaken to ensure compliance.
Job Hazards Analysis
Job hazard analysis is a standing item on the JHSC work programs, with different areas of the organization targeted each year. In 2021, the Mechanic Job Hazards Analyses was initiated and is currently underway with the assistance of a third party with expertise in this area. The objective of the review is to ensure that the requisite safe operating procedures and controls are in place and effectively communicated to those performing the job and exposed to the hazard(s).
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
A working group was formed to review Workplace Violence Prevention Program specifically, an Operator Risk Assessment. The intent of the review was to ensure that the program continues to meet all legislative requirements, considers best practises, and is up to date giving consideration to any new safety enhancements that have been put in place for the overall position. The most significant safety enhancement for the Operator position was the addition of the Operator Safety Barriers.
The Operator Risk Assessment was updated to include current risk factors, hazards to the Operator position, and existing control measures. Potential control measures to be evaluated going forward were also identified including; enhanced training with a focus on better understanding the customer, the continuing campaign relating to tendering of inappropriate fare media and expected response by the Operator, and increased one-on-one training with Operators who have repeated incidents and/or difficulty effectively defusing difficult situations.
As part of the review, the working group also reviewed data on workplace violence incidents for the years 2020 and 2021 in an effort to assess the impact of the installation of the Operator Safety Barriers. It should be noted that a year over year comparison was not ideal given the Operator Safety Barriers were installed on the fleet over the summer of 2020 coupled with the fact that rear-door boarding was in place for a significant portion of 2020 mitigating the opportunities for contact between Operators and passengers. Specific to 2021, it was found that in 18% of workplace violence incidents, the Operator Safety Barrier played a significant role in protecting the Operator from physical contact noting in most of these cases the assailant made contact with the barrier. Of note, the review also found that incidents of spitting at the Operator declined significantly in 2021. Given the limitations of the data, coupled with the significant impacts COVID-19 has had on ridership levels, ongoing analysis is required to determine whether these trends will continue. As such, further assessments will be undertaken via the JHSC.
2022 Work Program Overview
The 2022 Work Program, as set out in Enclosure II, has been reviewed and approved by the General Manager. A key consideration during the development of the 2022 Work Program was the expectation of ongoing work involved with continuing to respond to issues arising from the pandemic. This item is included as one initiative on the Work Program noting it could result in many other items as the organization continues to navigate through the pandemic. The following provides a high-level summary of the key initiatives included on the program.
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
Through a review of Violence in the Workplace incidents undertaken for the Expect Respect Committee, it was determined that the top trigger in terms of on-road workplace violence incidents related to interactions regarding fare media collection. Subsequent to reviewing these findings, an industry scan was conducted to assess options and best practices that were in place at other transit systems to mitigate incidents of this nature. As the result of these reviews, the Committee proposed the creation of a communication/education campaign directed at the Operator group outlining the employer’s expectations of the Operator with respect to fare collection. The campaign was rolled out in the summer of 2021. In 2022, a JHSC working group will undertake a review of data to assess the effectiveness of the program in terms of a reduction of workplace violence incidents relating to fare collection.
In addition, a risk assessment of the Inspector role will be re-assessed, noting this item is a carry-forward from the 2021 Work Program that did not get completed. The Inspector role plays a critical function in supporting Operators in difficult situations. A Risk Assessment defines the hazards/risks associated with the job functions, the current controls (such as engineering, procedural and PPE) and what further controls should be evaluated to reduce hazards/risks.
Inspector & Dispatch Communications Review
The JHSC will review and assess the effectiveness of internal communications between the two operational areas to ensure the parties are dealing with emergency events, incidents of workplace violence, report and action taken regarding those banned from services, support of on-road Operators, etc. to ensure clear and concise direction between the parties.
Health and Safety Guide for Fleet and Facilities
The Health and Safety Guide for Fleet and Facilities was last updated in 2015, and every several years a thorough review and update is undertaken. It is anticipated that the updated Guide will be rolled out to all Fleet and Facilities employees in the Fall of 2022.
Jeff MacDaniel, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Inspector Committee
Rob Howe, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety and Manager of Fleet Operations
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager