TSSA safety inspectors on strike now

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OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 TSSA safety inspectors have been in negotiations for a first contract with the TSSA since November 2021, after unionizing earlier that year. We unionized to remedy a host of inequitable practices in our workplace (understaffing, high workloads, wages that are below industry standard, and more).

OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 TSSA safety inspectors have been in negotiations for a first contract with the TSSA since November 2021, after unionizing earlier that year. We unionized to remedy a host of inequitable practices in our workplace (understaffing, high workloads, wages that are below industry standard, and more).

We met with the TSSA 13 times before putting in our application with the Ministry of Labour regarding our intent to strike if no progress was made. At every meeting with the TSSA, we came up against an employer who stonewalled the negotiation process and showed little to no respect for us as workers or for our union.

On July 4, 2022, the Ministry of Labour issued a ‘no board’ and the 17-day countdown to strike began.

We have been working hard to achieve a fair collective agreement in mediation – this is our priority.  However, the TSSA has tried to circumvent the bargaining process and has not been negotiating fairly to reach a deal with us. On July 20, the TSSA walked away from the bargaining table, forcing safety inspectors on strike on July 21, 2022.

We are fighting for a strong collective agreement for all safety inspectors at the TSSA. We are fighting to keep you, your family, and your community safe.

Safety inspectors know safety, and we take pride in the work we do. Support our #StrikeforSafety!

What’s at risk as the TSSA prolongs this strike?

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) put public safety at risk when they forced 170 safety inspectors on strike on July 21, 2022. Enforcement of safety standards is at risk in these critical areas below.

Boilers and Pressure Vessels and Operating Engineers

Behind the scenes in new construction and existing buildings, safety inspectors are ensuring that all of these systems are being inspected for compliance to the applicable regulations.

  • Manufacture of new boilers and pressure vessels & nuclear components
  • Refrigeration piping systems (typically containing Ammonia) in arenas, processing plants & refrigerated warehouses
  • Pressure piping systems in large HVAC systems in schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, refineries, high rises & condos
  • Medical gas piping systems in hospitals like oxygen lines, medical air, and nitrogen
  • Pressure piping systems in large commercial or industrial buildings.
  • Oversight of refurbishment projects at nuclear power plants
  • Oversight of repair and installation of regulated piping systems & components at nuclear power plants
  • Any new installed piping system or modification as contractors/installers are being told to self-inspect
  • Certification of pressure welders & braziers
  • Operation & Certification of steam power plants & refrigeration plants i.e.: hospitals, universities, processing plants & large factories
  • Certification & repairs of traction engines
  • Periodic inspections of boilers and pressure vessels.
  • Installation inspections of all boilers and pressure vessels before they can be put into service.

Elevating & Amusement Devices

There are approximately 60,000 – 70,000 elevators, 2,000 ski lifts, and 2,000 amusement devices in the province. All of these devices are inspected for compliance to all the related codes, standards and regulations when first installed, prior to licensing and use by the public. Part of this process is to witness all required acceptance testing on same to ensure the devices are meeting all requirements and are safe to use by the public.

Elevating devices include:

  • Construction hoists (all types)
  • Man lifts (all types)
  • Handicap Lifts (all types)
  • Escalators
  • Moving walks
  • Freight Elevators (all types)
  • Freight Platform Lifts
  • Parking Garage Elevators
  • Transport Platform Lifts
  • Passenger Elevators (all types)
  • All types of Passenger Ropeways (i.e.  Ski Lifts, Fixed grip Chairlifts, Detachable Chairlifts, Rope Tows, Handle tows, carpet lifts, T Bars, J Bars)
  • Wind turbine elevators
  • All types of Amusement Devices/ Rides (i.e. Roller Coasters, Swing Rides, Kiddie Rides, Trains, Revolving Rides, Complex Rides, Water Rides, Airbounces)
  • Waterslides
  • Funicular Railways (2 in Niagara Falls)
  • Spanish Aerocar Whirlpool Reversible Ropeway
  • Tramways
  • Zip Lines

After licensing, all of these devices are inspected again periodically and whenever they are altered or modified (Minor or Major Alterations) and inspectors witness all related acceptance tests again to ensure the devices are meeting the codes, standards and regulations, and are safe to operate.  All devices above, when first installed, are required to have a design submission sent to TSSA engineering for review, and once the design has been accepted and registered by TSSA engineering, inspectors get the design submission assigned to them, and use it at the initial inspection to determine if the device in question meets code (or not) and is/isn’t safe to operate.

Inspectors regulate and inspect for compliance to approximately 38 codes and standards and the TSS Act and Regulations of Ontario.  They investigate accidents and incidents, attend court as expert witnesses when required. They also verify/check for valid certification of all mechanics in all the areas in their program.

Fuels

There are 2,000 gas stations and approximately 1,000 propane filling stations in Ontario. Inspectors provide the following services/inspections:

  • Technical assistance to the Office of the Fire Marshall, local Fire departments and local police services which includes investigation of fires, explosions, carbon monoxide, fuel oil spills
  • Heating, cooking and laundry equipment in long-term care facilities, retirement homes, hotels and residential where needed
  • Rooftop heating and cooling equipment, cooking and science labs in schools
  • Digesters in wastewater treatment facilities
  • High pressure gas piping used in electricity generation plants, compressed natural gas refueling and liquid propane processes
  • New and existing gas stations
  • Periodic inspection of gas and propane-filling stations – equipment, maintenance, training of workers in case of a spill
  • Underground tanks and buried piping for gas stations
  • Propane cylinder exchange programs (e.g. Canadian Tire, Home Depot)
  • 125 bulk plants (fuel distribution facilities)
  • Certification of new fuel truck, operators or re-sale of license
  • Commercial cooking equipment, propane distribution systems in food trucks
  • Backup generators serving businesses and hospitals
  • Vehicles converted to propane, natural gas, and hydrogen
  • CNG (compressed natural gas) refueling stations
  • Court related duties to support prosecutions
  • General contractor assistance
  • Marina refueling, propane exchange and refilling
  • Commercial cooking equipment and patio-heating equipment in restaurants