13 Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

There were 13 changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the Regulation) that took effect May 1, 2017. Generally, they include changes to streamline, clarify, and update specific regulations, but some sections, such as the ones pertaining to silica and lead, have been significantly expanded.

Changes that are relevant to construction include the following:

Silica

Sections 6.110–6.115 of the Regulation and related Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines have been updated to clarify employer requirements to protect workers from the harmful effects of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust. Changes to the Regulation have expanded the sections on rock dust to include specific regulations for protecting workers from the risks of exposure to RCS dust. A primer on these changes can be found on the Silica page at worksafebc.com.

WorkSafeBC would also like to remind employers about the new Silica Control Tool developed by the BC Construction Safety Alliance. The new web-based tool enables employers to:

  • Identify the types of work activities in construction and manufacturing that generate respirable silica dust
  • Find typical air monitoring data, effective engineering controls, and information on PPE

Lead

Sections 6.58.1–6.69 of the Regulation have been expanded to provide clearer and more detailed instructions on the handling of lead-containing materials and preventing worker exposure. The new regulations have created sections in the Regulation for lead that outline the required elements and considerations such as a risk assessment, air monitoring, exposure control plans, recordkeeping, housekeeping practices, and worker instruction and training.

The WorkSafeBC Guidebook: Safe Work Practices for Handling Lead has been revised to reflect these new regulation changes. That guidebook, along with a primer, can be found on the Lead page at worksafebc.com. 

Notice of project

As of May 1, 2017, employers and owners (or prime contractors) are required to ensure that a notice of project (NOP) is submitted for construction projects involving asbestos, lead, or other similar exposure work activity, at least 48 hours before beginning work. Although several parties are responsible, only one NOP needs to be submitted for a project.

Other key changes to the regulations regarding NOPs are:

  • In addition to owners and prime contractors, employers conducting the work are now responsible for ensuring that NOPs are submitted.
  • Any significant changes to the NOP information must be posted at the worksite and re-submitted to WorkSafeBC as soon as possible. (This change also applies for general construction activities listed in section 20.2)
  • If applicable, a written report (hazardous materials survey) required under section 20.112 of the Regulation must be submitted along with the NOP and safe work procedures.
  • NOPs must be retained for at least 10 years.

Due to these changes, the NOP form for construction, asbestos, lead, or other similar exposure activity (#52E49) is being updated.

Please discard any paper versions of this form that you currently have on hand.

You can access the new form in two ways.

  1. Go to worksafebc.com and search for “submit notice of project.” The online form is the fastest and most efficient way to submit your notice.
  2. To complete the NOP form manually, place an order for form #52E49 through WorkSafeBCStore.com.

Other changes

Other May 1 amendments to the Regulation may also be relevant to your industry:

  • 1 Definitions (WHMIS)
  • 56 Guardrails
  • 81 & 4.82 Tobacco smoke exposure
  • 71 Combustible or flammable air contaminants
  • 4 Asbestos inventory
  • 83.1 Chassis dynamometers
  • 11, 14.1, & 14.2 Cranes, material hoists
  • 5 & 14.11 Cranes, support structures
  • 81 Cranes, limit devices
  • 2 Notice of project
  • 12 Underground supervisors

The primer on changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, May 1, 2017 provides information about these changes.

For more information

Additional resources, including the searchable OHS Regulation, can be found on worksafebc.com.