A message to BC employers from WorkSafeBC

April 28 has been designated the national Day of Mourning, a time when we all come together to remember those who have lost their lives due to work-related incidents or occupational diseases. Last year 158 workers died as a result of their work.

Sadly, in a recent three-week period alone, 11 more workers in British Columbia died while at work. These deaths are not isolated to a specific industry or workplace; they happened in construction, forestry, marine, tourism, and transportation — and in locations throughout the province:

March 22In Burnaby, a worker struck by a falling excavator bucket
March 25In Penticton, a roofer died as the result of a fall
March 26In Quesnel, two logging trucks collided on a highway
March 28In North Vancouver, a worker fell at a construction site
March 28In Whistler, a ski guide was buried in an avalance while guiding a heli-skiing group
March 30In Vancouver, a worker was found unconscious and later died in hospital
April 2In Port Alice, a worker at a logging camp was found deceased at the worksite
April 3In Golden, a worker for railway company was found deceased in a vacuum truck
April 6In New Westminster, a worker was struck by vehicle in a freight/container yard
April 9In Elkford, a worker died when equipment rolled into water
April 9In Prince Rupert, a worker suffered a suspected cardiovascular event after a fishing boat capsized

While it is too early for us to know the exact circumstances of each of these deaths, we want to remind employers of their responsibility for the health and safety of their workers.

Employers have an obligation to comply with Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the Workers Compensation Act of British Columbia. This means that workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. They have the right to be properly trained, and the right to refuse unsafe work. But it’s more than a legal obligation. It’s the right thing to do. You owe it to your workers to ensure they go home to their families, friends, and loved ones healthy and safe at the end of the day.

We ask all employers to stay focused and to prioritize workplace safety. We also encourage you to honour those who have died by taking part in a Day of Mourning event in your region. For more information about this year’s Day of Mourning events, visit dayofmourning.bc.ca. For more information about creating a safe and healthy workplace, visit worksafebc.com.

What you need to know about Administrative Penalties from WorkSafeBC

by Terry Thomas, CRSP – WorkSafeBC has the power to assess administrative penalties (monetary fines) against employers for non-compliance with the requirements of the Workers Compensation Act or the Occupational Health & Safety Regulation. There are now two levels of administrative penalty identified in Section 196 of the Act:

Lower Maximum Amount

The lower maximum amount of $1000 was introduced in October, 2015 through an amendment called the “Lower Maximum Administrative Penalties Regulation (LMAPR) – OHS Citations”. You can refer to Section 196.1 of the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC Policy D12-196.1-1 for further guidance

The lower maximum amount will be referred to as a citation and will be issued against an employer only for violations considered not to be high risk in nature. The base amount of $1000 will be adjusted annually to the cost of living increase. Currently the maximum penalty amount is set at $1,010.33 and the penalty for a first offence will be 50% of the maximum.

A citation will be issued for “non-compliance with an order or failure to submit a compliance report to WSBC within the specified time.” It will only be issued after a warning letter from WorkSafeBC has been issued to the employer identifying the issue. If a second exact or similar violation occurs within a three year period the full penalty will be assessed.

Upper Maximum Amount

The upper maximum amount level has been in place since 1997. You can refer to Section 196 of the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC Policy D-12-196.1 for further guidance

The upper maximum amount for a violation is currently set to $628,034.57, however the amount considered by WSBC for a specific employer will be calculated on the employer’s annual assessable payroll multiplied by 0.5% with a minimum amount of $1250. This penalty will be considered for any violation of the Workers Compensation Act or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

If a violation is considered to be high risk, intentional, involves hindering a WSBC officer in performance of their duties, involves suppressing a worker’s attempt to report an injury, illness or hazardous condition or is a breach of a stop work / stop use order then a multiplier of 2 for each of the above criteria violated will be imposed. A high risk violation where an employer suppresses a worker’s report will have a multiplier of 4 applied to the base penalty amount. If an offence is a repeat penalty for the same or similar violation that occurs within 3 years of the initial violation then the repeat violation penalty will be doubled and each subsequent violation will have a doubling of the penalty amount.

For more information please contact the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
T 1.604.795.9595 E manufacturing@safetyalliancebc.ca

BC PROVINCE AND INDUSTRY PARTNER TO MEET LABOUR AND SAFETY NEEDS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

October 28, 2016 – The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is excited to be the lead organization for a Sector Labour Market Partnership project that brings together key partners to study the labour market needs associated with occupational health and safety (OHS) workers in B.C.’s manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing has been identified as a key sector within the BC Jobs Plan, with advanced manufacturing highlighted as a new sector where British Columbia will see immense growth opportunity at the BC Jobs Plan Five Year Preview this past August. A wide range of high-value products and components are produced in B.C. for international and domestic markets, and the sector creates desirable, high-paying jobs in communities throughout the province. As BC’s manufacturing industry is growing, the nature of manufacturing work is changing and workforce is becoming more diverse. Ensuring there is enough qualified health & safety professionals to support this growth will be important for industry.

The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in BC are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.

Each year, the government invests more than $7.5 billion in education and training. Over the next 10 years, the province plans to redirect $3 billion of its training investment to focus on skills and programs for in-demand jobs.

“We’re working with the manufacturing industry to achieve cultural change that ensures safe workplaces for all workers. To achieve this we will need more skilled health and safety professionals, especially with the expected future growth in our industry and the influx of less experienced workers as current workers retire. This opportunity with the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program will help us bring key stakeholders together to determine what the industry’s health and safety labour needs are over the next five years.” said Lisa McGuire, CEO, Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of B.C. began engaging with partners in February 2016 in order to gain a better understanding of the specific OHS labour needs in B.C.’s manufacturing sector. Phase 1 consultations underscored the future need for systematic, standardized training of OHS professionals who not only possess a detailed understanding of the manufacturing context, but also have the technical and ‘soft’ skills required to take the lead in the development of effective injury prevention and health and safety promotion initiatives.

“The B.C. manufacturing sector’s diversity, focus on export markets and innovation are supporting job growth across every sector of the Provincial economy, and exporting billions of dollars in goods each year to countries around the world. We will continue to work with our industry partners to address their labour market needs, so we can further develop a safe, productive and growing sector in B.C.” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

Learn More:

For media related inquiries please contact: Jennifer Proby 604-795-9595

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Sector Labour Market Partnership - Phase 1 Final Report

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62% of Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC members say workplace safety is improving

According to a survey done by WorkSafeBC, 3 out of 5 manufacturing company’s feel that workplace safety is improving in their industry. The survey, conducted in February of 2016, was sent to 1,623 member companies of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC and resulted in 192 completed surveys. The largest audience represented in the results were small employers, making up 71% of the 192 responses. Of those who were aware of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, 98% were satisfied or had a neutral position on the organization’s performance on promoting health and safety.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is a not-for-profit health and safety association with the goal of reducing the injury rates in the manufacturing sector and transforming the culture of organizations with an emphasis on making safety a business priority.

Other survey questions covered topics including the general perceptions around safety in the Food Processing and Manufacturing industry, the awareness of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC among manufacturers and their satisfaction with the services provided.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC’s most preferred resources, as determined by the survey, are occupational health & safety (OHS) resources such as booklets, videos and manuals. Members also appreciate and find value in receiving OHS news, regulatory changes and other industry relevant updates from the organization. Although a less common form of engagement for their members, 8 out of 10 companies who received an in-person visit from a safety advisor stated their needs were met by the service.

In addition to manual resources being the most utilized out of all the available options, members reported that resources like booklets, videos and manuals was their top choice for what they needed out of their health and safety association. The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, in response to the needs of its members, has produced new resources including the MSI Prevention Guidebook, 5-Phases of OSSE guide and has expanded its online learning centre to include a free resources section available to all members.

Second in priority for Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC members is training. The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC has responded to these needs with an expanded course offering, including courses on confined space awareness, workplace inspections and combustible dust. These courses complement the existing offering bringing the total number of in-person and online training courses offered by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC to 9.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC continues to strive to meet the needs of its members and is in a position to adapt to the changing needs of their membership. New strategies to provide members with maximum impact, including the small employer engagement program launched in 2016, offers a blended approach to building an occupational health and safety program through advisor visits, training in-person and online and access to the SPS (Safety Support System) program to fast-track a company to a safer workplace.

Quality assurance is a key priority of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC. Members who have engaged with the organization through an advisor, training or an event are given opportunities to provide feedback that will be used to further shape the resources and engagement strategies of the organization.

For more information on the results of the Sentis research survey on the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, go to https://safetyalliancebc.ca/about/board-governance/research-and-reviews/.

Legislative Change: A Primer on Bill 35

On January 1, 2016, the Workers Compensation Amendment Act (No. 2), 2015 (Bill 35) introduced a number of changes focused on expanding the role of joint occupational health and safety committees in workplace safety, and adding a new type of incident for employers to report.

The changes in Bill 35 build on the legislative changes made last year under Bill 9, which strengthened WorkSafeBC’s ability to promote and enforce workplace health and safety. Where Bill 9 added new enforcement tools for officers, Bill 35 supplements existing requirements for employers by adding additional roles and responsibilities of joint occupational health and safety committees.

The following document is a high level summary that provides an introduction and overview of the changes to the Workers Compensation Act:

Legislative Change: A Primer on Bill 35

You can learn more about the Bill 35 changes here or by visiting worksafebc.com.

Bill 9 Infosheet: What you need to know.

The BC Government passed Bill 9, also known as the Workers Compensation Amendment Act (2015) on May 14, 2015.

What is Bill 9?

Bill 9 expands WorkSafe BC’s powers to deal with non-compliance as well as increase an employers’ obligations with respect to workplace health and safety.

Bill 9 has four specific objectives.

  1. Provide a range of new safety enforcement tools.
  2. Shorten the process for finalizing financial penalties to improve their effectiveness as an enforcement tool.
  3. Ensure timely employer investigations of workplace incidents and reports.
  4. Enhance workplace safety expertise on the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors.

When employers are non-compliant, Bill 9 expands WorkSafeBC’s ability to:

  • issue stop work orders where unsafe conditions present a risk to workers.
  • seek a court order restraining most egregious employers from operating in an industry.
  • issue fines up to $1,000 for less serious contraventions
  • enter into Compliance Agreement with the employer.

Why do we need Bill 9?

Bill 9 is needed to enable WorkSafeBC to deal with health and safety risks in the workplace earlier and more firmly.

In 2012 four workers lost their lives in sawmill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George.

WorkSafeBC Administrator, Gord Macatee, recommended 43 amendments to the Workers Compensation Act in his 2014 WorkSafeBC Review and Action Plan.

In July 2014 Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, as well as the board of directors of WorkSafeBC accepted all 43 amendments.

12 of the amendments required consideration of legislative changes.

What are the employer implications of Bill 9?

Investigations

Employers must now complete a Preliminary Investigation within 48 hours of the safety incident.

Employers must undertake corrective action “without undue delay” to prevent a similar incident from occurring while a full investigation is being conducted.

Employers must also submit a Full Investigation report within 30 days or face financial penalties.

Compliance Agreements

WorkSafeBC is able to enter into voluntary compliance agreements with employers for non-repeat violations, setting out what employer agrees to do and by what date.

Penalties

WorkSafeBC can now impose on-the-spot financial penalties of up to $1,000 against employers for certain violations. Status quo of having no financial penalties against workers is maintained.

WorkSafeBC can issue stop work orders in workplaces where unsafe conditions present a high risk to workers.

The Court will be able to grant an injunction against employers, including directors and senior officers of a corporation, restraining them from carrying on an industry or activity if they contravene workplace safety requirements or fail to pay a penalty.

Managing The Risk Of Fatigue At Work

A component of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) audit

From WorkSafeBC. Fatigue reduces a person’s ability to work safely and effectively. As a result, fatigue increases the risk of injuries or other incidents.

Employers must ensure that workers are not experiencing signs or effects of fatigue on the job. (See the “Relevant BC legislation” section below.)

All employers seeking COR certification must be able to prove — by means of an audit — that their occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) meets the COR program standards.

One element required in the OHSMS is hazard identification and control. Since fatigue can negatively affect safety at the workplace, employers need to include fatigue as a potential hazard in the identification process.

Employers also need to include fatigue in the hazard control process when indicated by a risk assessment. (See the “Relevant COR Standards and Guidelines elements” section below.)

During the audit, COR internal and external auditors will verify that fatigue is considered in the employer’s hazard recognition and control processes.

When reviewing the audit result as part of the quality assurance process, the certifying partner will confirm that fatigue is included as a component of the COR audit.

The WorkSafe bulletin on fatigue in the workplace (link provided in the “Resources” section below) discusses the signs, symptoms, effects, and causes of fatigue. It also provides links to other useful resources that will help you address fatigue. a tired worker

Relevant BC legislation*

  • Section 115(1)(a) of the Workers Compensation Act Every employer must ensure the health and safety of all workers working for that employer.
  • Section 116 (2) of the Workers Compensation Act Every worker must ensure that the worker’s ability to work without risk to his or her health or safety, or to the health and safety of any other person, is not impaired by alcohol, drugs or other causes. * There may also be applicable federal legislation to consider.
  • Section 4.19 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (1) A worker with a physical or mental impairment which may affect the worker’s ability to safely perform assigned work must inform his or her supervisor or employer of the impairment, and must not knowingly do work where the impairment may create an undue risk to the worker or anyone else. (2) A worker must not be assigned to activities where a reported or observed impairment may create an undue risk to the worker or anyone else.

Relevant COR standards and Guidelines elements

Appendix H, Large employer occupational health and safety audit standard

  • Hazard identification and control: A process to identify and control workplace hazards is critical in order to eliminate, minimize or prevent unsafe or harmful conditions and work procedures. All work, equipment, tools, machinery, work practices and conditions need to be included in the hazard recognition process

Appendix 1, Small employer occupational health and safety audit standard

  • Hazard or risk identification, assessment, and control:A process to identify and control workplace hazards or risks is critical in order to eliminate, minimize or prevent unsafe or harmful conditions and work procedures. All work, equipment, tools, machinery, work practices and conditions need to be included in the hazard recognition process.

Resources

Honour And Remember Lives Lost

Thirteen years ago Michael Lovett (pictured) lost his lower leg to a workplace injury. This year, he will be among the many taking part in the Day of Mourning to honour the 173 B.C. workers who died on the job in 2014.

On April 28, join workers, families, and employers at ceremonies across the province, as we remember the workers who lost their lives as a result of workplace injury or illness, and renew our commitment to creating safer workplaces.

You can also plan your own Day of Mourning ceremony using resources in the event toolkit available online.

For a list of province-wide events and speakers, more information and resources, or to order complimentary decals and posters, please visit dayofmourning.bc.ca.

The Dangers Of Fatigue In The Workplace

Fatigue increases the risk of injuries or other accidents. As an employer, ensure your workers are not experiencing signs or effects of fatigue on the job. You can help make your workers and your business safer by including information on fatigue and sleep in your safety guidelines and orientations. You can also develop a fatigue management plan.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a state of feeling very tired, exhausted, weary, or sleepy. Fatigue results from a lack of sleep and can be heightened from prolonged mental activity or long periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can also intensify feelings of fatigue.

Fatigue can be acute or chronic.

Acute fatigue results from a sudden onset of short-term sleep loss, such as getting less sleep than normal before a work shift. Adequate sleep is necessary to reverse the effects of acute fatigue. Chronic fatigue is a long-term state that results from an extended loss of necessary sleep. A sleep debt can build over weeks or months from a reduction or disruption of a normal sleep routine.

h3p>Signs and symptoms of fatigue

Train supervisors and workers to recognize the immediate signs and symptoms of fatigue, which include the following:

• Tiredness or sleepiness

• Memory lapses

• Difficulty concentrating

• Slower reaction times

Effects of fatigue

Studies indicate that the risk of making mistakes at work increases significantly if workers sleep for less than the average (7.5–8.5 hours) or are awake for more than 17 consecutive hours.

The effects of fatigue can reduce a worker’s:

• Ability to make decisions

• Ability to do complex planning

• Communication skills

• Productivity and performance

• Attention

• Ability to handle stress

• Reaction time

• Ability to recall details

• Ability to respond to changes in surroundings or information provided

Fatigue can also result in:

• Inability to stay awake

• Increased forgetfulness

• Increased errors in judgment

Over the long term, fatigue can result in health effects, such as loss of appetite and digestive problems, and other chronic health conditions, including depression. These effects can result in:

• Increased sick time, absenteeism, and rate of turnover

• Increased medical costs

One study has shown that fatigue can have similar effects to drinking alcohol:

• 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05 (the legal limit in

British Columbia)

• 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08

• 24–25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10

Causes of fatigue

Fatigue is caused primarily by long hours of being awake. Other causes include extended shifts, shift rotations (days and nights), and irregular or disrupted sleep. Workplace factors, such as the following, can also increase feelings of fatigue:

• High temperatures

• High noise levels

• Dim lighting or poor visibility

• Work tasks that are long, repetitive, paced, difficult, boring, or monotonous

Alcohol and caffeine

A lack of quality sleep can contribute to fatigue.

Substances such as caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep quality and quantity, particularly if taken in the hours before bedtime. Alcohol may shorten the time to fall asleep, but it will disrupt sleep patterns.

Medications

Prescription medications and over-the-counter medications can also affect sleep and may cause a sense of sleepiness and loss of alertness during work.

Sleep disorders

Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and other disorders affect alertness. If workers are experiencing any symptoms related to sleep disorders they should seek a doctor’s advice.

How to help your workers stay safe

Create shift schedules that give workers enough time

If the job requires long hours or overtime, consider that your workers will need enough time for other daily activities, such as commuting, preparing and eating meals, socializing, and relaxing.

Provide a work environment that has good lighting, comfortable temperatures, and reasonable noise levels.

Ensure that jobs provide some variety, with work tasks that change throughout the shift. Be flexible when assigning tasks — assign workers who may be fatigued to tasks that aren’t safety sensitive.

If your workplace has long shifts or frequent overtime, consider providing amenities, such as the following:

• Prepared meals

• On-site accommodations

• Facilities where workers can nap either during the shift or before driving home

Tips for getting a better sleep

People need at least 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a day.

Studies have found that most night-shift workers get less sleep per week than those who work day shifts.

The quality of sleep during the day is not the same as during the night.

Here are some guidelines you can pass on to your workers for improving quality of sleep:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

• Turn out the light immediately when going to bed.

• Don’t read or watch television in bed.

• Make your room as dark and quiet as possible.

Some people sleep better in a cool room.

• Establish regular eating times.

• Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, especially before bedtime.

• Exercise regularly.

Other resources

Human Factors Bulletin 2009-03 (WorkSafeBC)

HSE Human Factors Briefing Note No. 10: Fatigue

(Health and Safety Executive)

Shift Work and Fatigue online program

(Work Safe Alberta)

Ergonomics eNews

What is the purpose of consultation?

From WSBC. Under the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements, workers must be consulted in the musculoskeletal injury (MSI) prevention process. The purpose of consultation is to obtain feedback from the workforce. The model of consultation used will depend on the size and complexity of the employer.

Some larger employers have found it most effective to develop a facility-wide framework for MSI-risk management, while encouraging effective local decision making to resolve MSI issues as they arise.

Experience shows that workers who perform the job are the best source of information for identifying, assessing, and effectively controlling the risk of MSI. When workers are involved in the MSI-prevention process, they can often provide insight into the risks associated with their work — and they often have good ideas about effective risk controls.

Consultation also provides a forum for involving the workforce in decision making that affects their work activities. This encourages workers to engage with the process, making the MSI-reduction strategy more likely to succeed. The WorkSafeBC publication Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI): A Guide for Employers and Joint Committees (PDF 1.6 MB) is available to assist you.