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British Columbia Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Posted on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Category Archives: WorkSafeBC

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These heels weren’t made for workin’… BC bans mandatory high heeled shoes in workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employer Obligations, Human Rights, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements, Occupational Health and Safety, WorkSafeBC

On April 7, 2017, the BC Government issued a press release on having fulfilled its promise to ban mandatory high heels from BC workplaces. The change was made by amending section 8.22 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (“OHS Regulation”), and is explained by WorkSafeBC’s recently adopted OHS Guideline G8.22Footwear regarding section 8.22 of the OHS Regulation.

The Guideline provides that “footwear must both allow the workers to perform their work safely and provide the protection required for the particular environment.” Employers must conduct an assessment of the risks present in their particular workplace and duties of the employee … Continue Reading

New WorkSafeBC regulations for joint occupational health and safety committees effective April 3, 2017

Posted in Employer Obligations, Legislative Changes, Occupational Health and Safety, WorkSafeBC

In British Columbia, a workplace with 20 or more workers must have a joint occupational health and safety committee (“Committee”), and a workplace with 10-19 workers must have a worker health and safety representative. Effective April 3, 2017, amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation will require the following:

  1. Employers must ensure that a written evaluation is conducted annually to measure the effectiveness of the Committee. Section 3.26(b) of the Regulation sets out who can conduct the evaluation, and section 3.26(3) of the Regulation sets out what information must be covered by the evaluation. WorkSafeBC reports that it 
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Have your say – potential changes to Workers’ Compensation Act regulations

Posted in Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC recently announced public consultation and hearings into proposed changes to regulations under the Workers’ Compensation Act, including environmental tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapour and joint health and safety committees. Details of the proposed changes, together with explanatory notes, can be found at the foregoing link.

WorkSafeBC is accepting public feedback until October 7, 2016, which can be provided online, by email, fax or by mail (details in the link provided).

A number of public hearings will also be held throughout British Columbia, commencing September 21, 2016.

Consider taking this opportunity to review the potential impacts of the proposed changes … Continue Reading

New Investigation Requirements, On-The-Spot Financial Penalties and Work-Stop Orders In Wake Of Babine and Lakeland Sawmill Disasters

Posted in Investigations, Legislative Changes, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

Before the Babine and Lakeland sawmill disasters in 2012, employers were already under an obligation to investigate any workplace incident involving serious injury or death, major structural failure or collapse, major release of a hazardous substance, a blasting accident that caused personal injury, a dangerous incident involving explosive, a diving accident, any accident or other incident that resulted in injury to a worker requiring medical treatment, and any near misses.

Now, as a result of amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), following Royal Assent to Bill C-9 on May 14, 2015, the manner in which employers carry … Continue Reading

OH&S Month Part 4: The Loneliest Number? Regulations for Employees Working Alone

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, Workplace Training, WorkSafeBC

Many employees work alone or in isolation, whether from time to time or as a regular part of their work. In addition to an employer’s general statutory obligation to ensure a safe work environment under the Workers’ Compensation Act, employers have additional specific obligations to protect employees who work alone or in isolation under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the “Regulation”).

Under the Regulations, “working alone or in isolation” means to work in circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the employee, either in the case of an emergency, or if the employee is injured or … Continue Reading

OH&S Month Part 3: Annual Review Of Your Bullying and Harassment Policies

Posted in Investigations, Litigation, Murphy's Laws of HR, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, Workplace Training, WorkSafeBC

The deadline for compliance with WorkSafeBC’s bullying and harassment policies was last November 1, 2013.  We’d like to remind all BC employers that certain obligations under the policies require an annual review.

As we discussed in an earlier post, the policies set out nine requirements for employers to meet:

 

  1. Develop a policy statement about workplace bullying and harassment not being acceptable or tolerated.
  2. Take steps to prevent or minimize workplace bullying and harassment.
  3. Develop and implement procedures for reporting bullying and harassment, and specifically provide for reporting an incident when the alleged harasser is the employer, a superviosr
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Introducing Occupational Health & Safety Month!

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, Workplace Training, WorkSafeBC

This month, we introduce a new series focusing on occupational health and safety (“OH&S”) issues to help employers ensure health and safety in the workplace and avoid penalties under the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the “Regulation”).

First, do you have a written Occupational Health & Safety program? The Regulation requires that all employers with a workforce of 50 or more workers, or with 20 or more workers in a workplace with a high or moderate risk of injury must have a written OH&S Program.  (You can find out your workplace’s assigned hazard rating here.)  … Continue Reading

From the Desk of the HR Manager: Spring Cleaning – Performing an HR Audit

Posted in Discipline, Employment Standards, Litigation, Occupational Health and Safety, Privacy, Termination, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

Our colleagues in Ontario recently posted a very useful outline of an HR audit that will help BC employers ensure they stay up-to-date and on top of the wide variety of employment-related demands in their operations. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.… Continue Reading

BC Employers Face Bullying and Harassment Deadline

WorkSafeBC Policy Takes Effect November 1

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

It’s not too late, and it’s not too hard to comply, but the deadline is looming.  WorkSafeBC’s policy regarding compliance with the bullying and harassment law enacted in 2012 will come into force on November 1.

We have previously described the legislation, and we have set out a plan for compliance.  We can help employers get ready by November 1, and we can help in the training and the follow up that is required.  Employers can also find help on the WorkSafeBC website which has a toolkit of materials to review and adapt.

 … Continue Reading

November 1 Deadline for Bullying Policy

Policy and Other Steps Required

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC’s requirements for establishing and implementing a policy on bullying and harassment take effect on November 1.

The policy sets out 9 specific requirements and we have previously suggested an approach to ensure you are in compliance as of November 1.

Meanwhile, WorkSafeBC has promised a tool kit and guideline to assist employers.  The tool kit is scheduled for publication on October 2.  You should be able to find it and other resources on the WorkSafeBC website.… Continue Reading

WorkSafeBC Announces Increase in Workers’ Compensation Premiums for 2014

Posted in Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC recently announced that there will be rate hikes again in 2014.  This will mean that most employers in British Columbia can expect to pay higher premium costs for the second year in a row.  WorkSafeBC projects that employers will pay an average base premium rate of 4.8% more in 2014.  This is close to the increase employers experienced last year (5% in 2013).  In dollar terms, this means that on average, the 2014 average premium rate will be $1.70 for every $100 of assessable payroll (which is up 7 cents from $1.63 in 2013).

WorkSafeBC reports that the two … Continue Reading