New legislation introduced by Labour Minister Shirley Bond Wednesday will mean judges can order that a BC employer no longer operate within an industry sector if it ignore orders to stop unsafe practices.

 The Vancouver Sun  reports:

“The B.C. government has introduced legislation that would bar employers from continuing to operate in an industry if orders to stop unsafe practices are ignored.

“Labour Minister Shirley Bond said before introducing the legislation Wednesday that the legislation will also permit on-the-spot penalties for employers who violate orders.

“The legislation amends the Workers Compensation Act and is based on recommendations in a report into two separate sawmill explosions that killed four workers in 2012.”

All News Radio 680 reports:

“WorkSafeBC administrator Gord Macatee said the bill provides exactly what he intended in the report he forwarded to the government last July. He said staff have received training involving searches and seizures, warrants and forensic interviewing and that a second team will take over when there’s the potential for liability involving workplace incidents.

“Bond called the legislation transformative, saying it would give judges the ability to rule that an employer will not continue operating in a particular sector after WorkSafeBC seeks an injunction.

“‘I want families to know today that it is intended to improve worker safety so that we don’t have others face the horrific circumstances that they have faced,’ she said.”

The Globe and Mail reports:

“‘In the past, prevention officers weren’t scheduled to inspect workplaces at night or on the weekends, times when often the most vulnerable workers are present, he said. Now, 16 prevention officers rotate through weekend and night shifts,’ Mr. Macatee said.”

“As well, 96 mills that had compliance issues now take part in a voluntary inspection program aimed at cracking down on the combustible sawdust that resulted in huge blasts at the Babine and Lakeland sawmills in 2012.

“Irene Lanzinger, secretary-treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour, welcomed the bill as a ‘step in the right direction,’ noting that negligent employers in many industries need to be held to a higher standard after a number of ‘very significant cases’ in the province.”