Human Resources Policies
Purchasing Policy
Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Principles into the Purchasing Process

Category: Health and Safety
Sub-Category: Ergonomics

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Policy Statement

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that employers "take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers". The City of Toronto purchases numerous products (materials, equipment, vehicles, furniture, chemicals, etc.), many of which have the potential to affect the health, safety and well-being of its employees. This corporate Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Principles into the Purchasing Process is therefore intended to:

  • establish an efficient, cost-effective and consistent process for identifying and addressing potential health, safety and ergonomic risk factors prior to the acquisition of products
  • assist service areas in meeting their operational goals by reducing injuries and illnesses
  • maintain compliance with occupational health, safety and ergonomics legislation and/or standards
  • sustain efficiency and productivity by minimizing the need for costly and disruptive retrofits

The City has demonstrated its commitment to public, employee and environmental health through a number of initiatives such as the Environmental Plan (Clean, Green and Healthy: A Plan for an Environmentally Sustainable Toronto) and the Environmentally Responsible Procurement Policy and Procedures. This policy is intended to complement these initiatives in a manner which enhances the health and safety of City employees.

This policy applies to the City's Purchasing and Materials Management Division (PMMD) and staff in all City divisions who purchase, or request the purchase of, products. It applies to the purchase of all products, including those not processed by PMMD.


Responsibilities

Effective implementation of the Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Principles into the Purchasing Process will be achieved when identified parties assume the following assigned responsibilities:

Divisions requesting purchase of goods/services or purchasing goods/services directly will:

  1. In conjunction with occupational health and safety staff, review applicable regulations and standards, when necessary, to ensure all health, safety and ergonomics requirements are addressed in purchasing documentation.
  2. Identify potential health, safety, and ergonomics issues in the purchase process for products by:

    • reviewing accident statistics or risk factors for injury or illness associated with similar existing products
    • reviewing concerns raised by joint health and safety committees, end-users, or occupational health, safety, and ergonomics staff
    • consulting with occupational health, safety and/or ergonomics staff and joint health and safety committees, when necessary

    Note: The level of involvement, if any, of health, safety, and ergonomics staff will be determined by the extent to which products are governed by occupational health and safety legislative requirements and/or standards, the potential for the products to result in employee injury or illness, and the City's injury or illness record with similar purchases.

  3. Address identified issues during the purchasing process, as follows:

    If purchasing independently of PMMD

    • reference appropriate health, safety and ergonomics legislation and/or industry standards in purchase documentation
    • consult, where necessary, with health, safety and/or ergonomics staff and/or joint health and safety committees on methods to addressidentified health, safety and/or ergonomics issues

    If purchasing in conjunction with PMMD:

    • consult with PMMD to determine whether there are any existing specifications which should be incorporated into the purchase
    • advise PMMD staff of health, safety and ergonomic concerns to be addressed during the purchase and recommended means to resolve them for inclusion in purchase specifications
    • identify appropriate health, safety and ergonomics legislation and/or industry standards in purchase documentation
    • consult, where necessary, with health, safety and/or ergonomics staff on methods to address identified health, safety and/or ergonomics issues
    • request that product training by the supplier be included in the specification, where necessary
  4. Identify, in consultation with occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff, criteria to be consistently applied to product evaluations.
  5. Arrange for field testing of products by end-users in advance of purchase, whenever possible and as appropriate, consulting with health, safety and ergonomic specialists, local health and safety staff and/or joint health and safety committees in this process.
  6. Verify that products submitted for purchase have met all mandatory health and safety requirements or request written verification of compliance, if compliance cannot be otherwise confirmed. Ensure that a demonstration of product(s) is provided, where applicable.
  7. Take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers in the selection of products.
  8. Assign appropriate representatives to participate in an annual review (with purchasing and occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff) of any health, safety and/or ergonomics issues which may be addressed through the purchasing process.

Purchasing and Materials Management Division will:

  1. Reference, or ensure reference is made to, appropriate legislation and accepted industry occupational health, safety and ergonomic standards and guidelines, either generally or explicitly (where warranted), in quotation requests, tenders and requests for proposals for products/services purchased.
  2. Include a clause referencing occupational health, safety and ergonomics in general bidders' terms and conditions for tenders, proposals and quotation requests, as appropriate, indicating that those bids not complying with specified requirements will be rejected.
  3. Confirm with user divisions, where applicable, during the purchasing process that all health, safety and ergonomics issues have been identified and addressed.
  4. Consult, where necessary, with end-users, health, safety and/or ergonomics staff or other sources (as applicable) on methods to address identified health, safety and/or ergonomics issues.
  5. Maintain information on identified hazards, received from divisions, health, safety and ergonomics staff or other sources, as applicable, and incorporate necessary changes into next purchasing cycle.
  6. Participate in an annual review (initiated by divisional and occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff) of any health, safety and/or ergonomics issues arising from the purchasing process.

Occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff will:

  1. Assist in the identification and resolution of health, safety and ergonomics risks potentially associated with new products and/or services by:

    • reviewing regulations and standards applicable to purchases and advising clients on purchasing documentation needs
    • reviewing information provided by divisions
    • reviewing results of assessments of products/services
    • reviewing injury and illness reports and/or statistics
    • reviewing information provided by joint health and safety committees
    • conducting assessments of products or services and recommending safer alternatives, as required
    • providing training of staff, as required, or reviewing supplier training packages to ensure adequacy
  2. Assist divisions and PMMD, when the nature and extent of risk or employee concerns so warrant, by:

    • providing general and/or specific input into specifications
    • evaluating bids from a health, safety or ergonomics perspective, and/or
    • participating in field testing, selection and ongoing follow-up review
  3. Assist divisions with the development of divisional procedures to ensure that health, safety and ergonomic considerations and obligations are addressed throughout the purchasing process.
  4. Participate in an annual review of any health, safety and/or ergonomics issues arising from the purchasing process.

Joint health and safety committees will:

  1. Bring occupational health, safety and ergonomics concerns with goods or services to the attention of divisional management and make recommendations for improvement.
  2. Recommend evaluation by health, safety or ergonomics specialists, when necessary.
  3. Respond to requests for information on health, safety and ergonomics issues arising from the purchase of products.
  4. Nominate a representative to participate in field testing, when needed.

End-users of products and/or services will:

  1. Bring any health, safety and/or ergonomics concerns with respect to purchased products or services to the attention of their immediate supervisors and, if and where necessary, to their joint health and safety committees. PMMD should be immediately advised of these concerns, where applicable (i.e. in cases where the product is not in compliance with contract /purchase documentation requirements)
  2. When required, participate in field testing of products and services (e.g. equipment, chemicals, personal protective equipment, hand tools, etc.) to assist in the selection process.



References

Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations

Endorsed by

  • Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (OHSCC), April 25, 2000
  • Reviewed by OHSCC: November 26, 2008 & April 26, 2016

Approved by

The City of Toronto Senior Management Team (SMT)

Date Approved

October 20, 2000

Reviewed by OHSCC

April 26, 2016

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