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 and services, 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 and redeployment of products or services
- 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 is committed to public, employee and environmental health. This policy is intended to complement existing 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 and services. It applies to the purchase of all products and services, including those not processed by PMMD.
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 or redeployment of goods/services or purchasing goods/services directly will:
- In conjunction with occupational health and safety staff, review applicable regulations, standards and City policies, when necessary, to ensure all health, safety and ergonomics requirements are addressed in purchasing documentation and consideration of redeployment criteria.
- Identify potential health, safety, and ergonomics issues in the purchase and redeployment process for products by:
- reviewing incident 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.
- Address identified issues during the purchasing and redeployment process, as follows:
If purchasing or redeploying independently of PMMD
- reference appropriate health, safety and ergonomics legislation, City policies/guidelines 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 address identified health, safety and/or ergonomics issues
If purchasing or redeploying in conjunction with PMMD:
- consult with PMMD to determine whether there are any existing specifications or evaluation criteria which should be incorporated into the purchase or redeployment
- advise PMMD staff of health, safety and ergonomic concerns to be addressed during the purchase/redeployment and recommended means to resolve them for inclusion in purchase specifications or redeployment criteria
- identify appropriate health, safety and ergonomics legislation, City policies/guidelines and/or industry standards in purchase/redeployment 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
- Identify, in consultation with occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff, criteria to be consistently applied to product evaluations.
- 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.
- Verify that products submitted for purchase/redeployment 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.
- Take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers in the selection of products.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Confirm with user divisions, where applicable, during the purchasing or redeployment processes that all health, safety and ergonomics issues have been identified and addressed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 or redeployment processes.
Occupational health, safety and ergonomics staff will:
- 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 products and services and advising clients on purchasing or redeployment 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
- 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 and evaluation criteria
- evaluating bids from a health, safety or ergonomics perspective, and/or
- participating in field testing, selection and ongoing follow-up review
- Assist divisions with the development of divisional procedures to ensure that health, safety and ergonomic considerations and obligations are addressed throughout the purchasing and redeployment processes.
- Participate in an annual review of any health, safety and/or ergonomics issues arising from the purchasing or redeployment processes.
Joint health and safety committees will:
- Bring occupational health, safety and ergonomics concerns with goods or services to the attention of divisional management and make recommendations for improvement.
- Recommend evaluation by health, safety or ergonomics specialists, when necessary.
- Respond to requests for information on health, safety and ergonomics issues arising from the purchase or redeployment of products.
- Nominate a representative to participate in field testing, when needed.
Individual end-users (City Staff) of products and/or services will:
- Bring any health, safety and/or ergonomics concerns with respect to purchased or redeployed products or services to the attention of their immediate supervisors and, if and where necessary, to their joint health and safety committees.
- Where applicable, when reporting incidents/injuries management should specify products/equipment which may have directly or indirectly contributed to the incident/injury
- Where applicable, PMMD should be immediately advised of concerns relating to incident/injury risk factors or contract/policy non-compliance
- 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.
Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations
Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (OHSC), April 25, 2000
Reviewed by OHSCC: November 26, 2008, April 26, 2016, June 8, 2023
The City of Toronto Senior Management Team (SMT)
October 20, 2000
Reviewed by OHSCC
June 8, 2023