Staff Report #5
January 27, 2021
To All Commissioners
Re: Occupational Health & Safety Work Programs – 2020 (Status) and 2021
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 arise. In 2020, the world was hit with a pandemic. By mid-March 2020, the pandemic became a major workplace priority in all work settings, including London Transit, to ensure a safe workplace for all. COVID-19 took precedence over the 2020 Health & Safety Work Program items and collectively, management, ATU Local 741 and JHSCs continue to work together to ensure employees’ safety, while responding to COVID-19 issues remains a priority. Details with respect to the protocols and procedures that have been implemented relating to the COVID-19 pandemic were provided to the Commission outlining new and changing procedures and protocols through regular updates .
2020 Work Program Update
While responding to COVID-19 was given precedence, a number of other programs from the 2020 Health and Safety Work Program were undertaken and or completed and are discussed in summary in the next section of this report. The 2020 Health and Safety Work Program status is set out in Enclosure I.
Operator Safety Barriers
By late fall in 2020, all in-service buses were equipped with permanent Operator Safety Barriers (OSB). To date, feedback from the Operator group has been positive. While the primary intent of the OSBs are to reduce and/or mitigate workplace violence incidents, the OSBs have proven essential with respect to London Transit returning to front door boarding during the pandemic. Over the next year, the Operations team will assess the impact of OSB in terms of the effect on workplace violence incidents with a report to the JHSCs.
Vibration Study Update
In 2007, and then again in 2011, the JHSC, in concert with OSHTECH Incorporated, conducted vibration measurement studies on bus driving that could be experienced by an Operator. The assessments determined the actual levels of full body vibration within the bus fleet and measured the Operator’s seating against vibration exposure guidelines to assess the effects of vibration concerning Operator comfort and safety.
As the fleet composition changed, testing was again completed in late 2019 and early 2020. As in previous studies, whole-body vibrations during normal driving conditions are well within the exposure guidelines to protect Operator’s health.
The most recent study also examined any potential differences between older buses and newer buses in the fleet. The findings indicated no meaningful difference in overall vibrations. In addition, while it was found that the Bus Operator seats have an independent support and suspension system, the measurements indicated that the Operator seats offer only modest additional attenuation of vibrations reaching the Operators and that the bus suspension is the primary defence against bus vibrations generated by road condition.
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
In 2015 there was a significant overhaul to LTC’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program and requisite training program. By the end of 2018, all Operators had completed the two-day Workplace Violence Prevention Training Program. The Program overhaul included an Operator Refresher Workplace Violence Prevention Training Program, which was to be rolled out in 2022. The Refresher Program is a one-day training program with increased emphasis on communication and interpersonal skills, recognition of and de-escalation techniques when dealing with difficult customer service interactions and the introduction of the Operator Safety Barrier as an additional level of security in workplace violence incidents.
Given the fluctuating employee resource availability during 2020 resulting from COVID-19 and various service level changes, a priority was placed on adjusting training schedules to fast-track implementation, and as such, all active Operators received this training in 2020.
Relief Supervisory Health and Safety Training – Fleet and Facilities
A working group was formed to assess the Relief Supervisor Health & Safety Training Program that is provided to Fleet and Facilities employees to ensure it remained current and effective. The assessment determined that the training program required a full re-write to ensure legislative compliance, improve the learning experience, and meet best practices.
Following the Relief Supervisory Health & Safety Training Program update and re-write, it was rolled out to all Relief Supervisors and respective Managers in Fleet and Facilities area. In addition, schedules have been established to ensure that all employees requiring same will complete refresher training bi-annually.
Cognitive Demands Analysis
Human Resources, in consultation with Taylor’d Ergonomics are in the process of developing Cognitive Demands Analyses (CDA) for bargaining unit positions. In the third quarter, the first CDA was completed for the Dispatcher’s role. It is anticipated that in early 2021 the development will resume for other key bargaining unit positions, including Operators. These CDA’s are essential for various reasons; however, predominately when dealing with Return to Work cases. This initiative is also directly tied to the 2020 Work Plan for Mental Health.
Fleet and Facilities Health and Safety Communications Campaign
A working group was formed to develop a communication strategy for Fleet and Facilities to provide communications and education to employees to reduce the most common types of injuries. In 2020, the working group examined past records to identify and then categorized the types of injuries that have occurred in the Fleet and Facilities department and prioritized five key areas to be addressed:
- Overexertion / Strain
- Struck or Contact by
- Struck Against / Contact with
- Proper lifting procedures
- Using the correct tool for the task
The communication campaign will focus on the top causes of injuries, educate on best practices, ergonomic tips on working more safely to mitigate injuries. The campaign will be rolled out beginning first quarter of 2021.
A key 2020 initiative was the continued roll-out of LTC’s Mental Health Resiliency Program. The initial target date for all employees to receive the training was the end of 2022. Again, given the fluctuating employee resource availability during 2020 resulting from the impacts of COVID-19 and various service level changes, a priority was placed on adjusting training schedules to fast-track implementation. All active employees have received this training. Feedback on the program continues to be extremely positive from participants, especially during what has been a trying and challenging year for employees.
Another key 2020 initiative was the continuation of the Human Rights & Diversity and Mutual Respect in the Workplace training program. All active employees have also received this training as the result of the adjustment to training schedules.
2021 Work Program Overview
The 2021 Work Program, as set out in Enclosure II, has been reviewed and approved by the General Manager. The following provides a high-level summary of the key initiatives included on the program.
Workplace Violence Prevention Program
The number one trigger in terms of on-road workplace violence incidents stems from interactions regarding fare media collection. As such, a working group will be formed to assess and develop a communications/educational campaign outlining London Transits’ expectations of same, from both a customer and employee perspective.
Through the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, critical positions within London Transit have a related Risk Assessment. The Risk Assessments define 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.
In 2021, key Risk Assessments will be re-assessed:
- Inspectors – The role plays a critical function in supporting Operators. The Risk Assessment will ensure the Inspectors have the tools necessary to effectively deal with escalated situations onboard buses, ensure their safety when transporting passengers, assess requirements for additional PPE, and deal with passengers with mental health issues safely and effectively, etc.
- Operators, Customer Service and Dispatch Risk Assessments will be reviewed and updated where warranted to reflect procedural changes over the last several years.
Job Hazards Analysis
All Job Hazards Analyses will be reviewed and updated as required for Fleet and Facilities, Operations and Administration. The objective 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). This initiative is multi-year, and in 2021 Fleet and Facilities will be the primary focus.
Health and Safety Onboarding
The Training Supervisor will complete a review and update of London Transit’s health and safety onboarding program to ensure it meets legislative requirements and is delivered effectively.
Updates with respect to progress on the 2021 Work Program items will be provided as part of the departmental quarterly updates to the Commission.
John Gillet , Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety Committee and Operator
Shawn Wilson, Co-Chair – Occupational Health & Safety and Director of Operations
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager