Staff Report #2
January 25, 2023
To All Commissioners
Re: Occupational Health & Safety Work Programs – 2022 (status) and 2023
The report be NOTED and FILED.
Each year, the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committees (JHSC) hold a workshop to review the progress made against the annual Health & Safety Work Program and to recommend to the General Manager the proposed Health & Safety Work Program for the following year. Throughout the year, items may be added to the list and prioritized accordingly due to emergent issues. Since the onset of the global pandemic in 2020, Covid19 has remained a significant health & safety workplace priority; however, in 2022, both JHSCs worked diligently throughout the year to address other essential health and safety initiatives and completed and/or initiated all projects outlined in the 2022 Occupational Health & Safety Work Programs.
2022 Work Program Update
A summary of the 2022 Work Program status is set out in Enclosure I. The following provides a high-level summary of the key initiatives included in the Program.
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
In 2020, a review of workplace violence and passenger problem incidents was undertaken for the Expect Respect Committee. It was found that the top trigger regarding on-road workplace violence and passenger problem incidents was related to interactions relating to the collection of fare media. After reviewing these findings, an industry scan was conducted to assess options and best practices in place at other transit systems to mitigate incidents of this nature. The Committee proposed the creation of a communication & educational campaign directed at the Operator group outlining the employer’s expectations regarding the collection of fare media with a focus on mitigating negative interactions. In the summer of 2021, the campaign was rolled out, with a review scheduled to occur in 2022 to determine the program’s effectiveness in reducing workplace violence and passenger problem incidents.
In 2022, a JHSC Working Group assessed the Program’s effectiveness. Following the campaign’s rollout in July 2021, there was an immediate decline in workplace violence and problem passenger incidents surrounding fare media. However, over the subsequent 12-month period, the incidents began to rise again. A refresher campaign was then rolled out to all Operators in October 2022, and again there was a decrease in related incidents following the campaign. The JHSC Working Group recommended regular health and safety updates to Operators on the safe practice of fare collection in various formats, a review and update of the Advanced Customer Service training program to better align with employer expectations relating to fare media and increased focus on Operators who have multiple incidents relating to fare media.
Review and Update – Risk Assessment for the Inspector Position
In 2021, a JHSC Working Group began to update the Inspector Risk Assessment. This review was a multi-year project with key initiatives approved and implemented over the two years to ensure the Inspector Risk Assessment aligned with the current work environment. A summary of the initiatives completed and/or in progress is set out below.
The JHSC Working Group reviewed data demonstrating a notable increase in the types of calls Inspectors attend. The types of calls can be volatile and range from assisting someone under the influence, dealing with banned passengers, being placed in dangerous situations, passenger disturbances, sleepers, workplace violence incidents, etc. Since 2019, these types of calls have increased by 40%. As recommended and approved, a one-year trial was implemented to provide enhanced Inspector coverage on road. This included the addition of one full-time Inspector, a modification to shifts to provide for two Inspectors on duty for the most significant periods possible, and better-defined optimal spots for stationary work to be completed by Inspectors as well as maximum periods for Inspectors to be stationary. Other approved recommendations include Inspector Workplace Violence Training covering how to deal effectively with escalated situations on-board buses, enhanced support for Inspectors following traumatic events and an enhanced training program focusing on dealing with customers experiencing mental health issues safely and effectively.
Inspector & Dispatch Communications Review
A JHSC Working Group was tasked to assess the effectiveness and best practice of internal communications between two vital operational areas; Dispatch and Inspectors. The underlying intent of the assessment was to ensure all forms of communication are clear and concise when dealing with heightened situations (emergency events, workplace violence and passenger problem incidents, etc.) to ensure the safety of those involved.
As recommended and approved, the JHSC Working Group called for the development and rollout of an annual training program focusing on enhanced communications among Inspectors and Dispatchers, focusing on the following critical items:
- priority calls and related expectations;
- ensuring communications are concise and clear and that communications remain open during a live incident; and
- refresher on types of emergency calls.
All recommendations have been approved and are in the process of being implemented.
In 2023 Operations and JHSC members will conduct an audit, tracking all issues relating to “dead zones” for Inspector radios and conduct a hazard analysis. Considerations of the study will include whether the parties were still able to communicate via alternate means, the level of risk to parties involved, any other factors present, etc. The findings and potential recommendations will be presented in the third quarter of 2023; JHSC to determine possible recommendations if warranted.
Health and Safety Guide for Fleet and Facilities
A working group with external assistance was tasked with reviewing and updating the LTC’s Health and Safety Guide for Fleet and Facilities in 2022. The updated Guide has been recommended and approved and was rolled out in early January 2023.
A key 2022 initiative was the continued rollout of LTC’s Mental Health Resiliency Program. In 2022, a training program was developed with external expertise for the Inspector group focusing on responding to someone in distress, working with the public, and understanding mental health conditions and strategies to assist Inspectors in performing their jobs safely. This new program will be rolled out in early 2023 to the Inspector Group.
In addition, over the last several years, the management team has received various training to support mental health in the workplace, as such all management position descriptions were updated to reflect the expectation that each is to work within LTC’s Mental Health Strategy and to ensure their direct reports are aware of mental health assistance available.
2023 Health & Safety Work Program
The 2023 Work Program, as set out in Enclosure II, has been reviewed and approved by the General Manager. Several key initiatives include:
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
Training Program for Operators
In 2014/15 the Workplace Violence Prevention Program was reviewed and fully revamped to meet the then needs of the employees and overall organization. This included the re-development of a two-day Operator Training Program on Workplace Violence and the development of an Advanced Customer Service Program for Operators. Since the rollout, all Operators have received this training at least twice. In 2023, the two-day Operator Training and Advanced Customer Service Program will again be reviewed to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Operators and the organization while ensuring Operator safety. Where necessary, London Transit will enlist external expertise in the re-development of the Program.
Banning Process Review
As part of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, there is a process that allows for banning individuals who violate the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy. This overall program will be reviewed to ensure it meets best practice, aligns with legislation and ensures Operator’s safety.
Fleet and Facilities Review
In the area of Fleet and Facilities, several areas will be under review in 2023, pertaining to radio communications and jack stand procedures, usage and training of same.
Updates with respect to progress on the 2023 Work Program items will be provided as part of the departmental quarterly updates to the Commission.
Ian Davies, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Operator
Shawn Wilson, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Director of Operations
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager