This Industry Voices column is part one of a two-part series that outlines new WorkSafeBC regulations for Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees.
The changes to the WorkSafeBC (WSBC) regulations that follow are the result of recommendations of a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of two workers during the 2012 Prince George Lakeland mill explosion.
WorkSafeBC has announced significant new requirements for Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC).
This column summarizes the main changes, but the Council of Construction Associations (COCA) recommends that employers go to the WSBC webpage for a complete description of what is required. The announcement describing the changes is featured under the News and Events section, under announcements and is dated Dec. 21.
The changes in the regulation come into effect on April 3, 2017.
For the first time, WSBC requires that there be an annual written evaluation of the JOHSC.
Under the existing regulation, a JOHSC is required in each workplace where 20 or more workers are regularly employed or where the committee is required by an order from WSBC.
A workplace with 10 to 19 workers is required to have a worker representative.
Regulation 3.26 will require that the evaluation must be done either by co-chairs of the JOHSC or by a person retained by the employer.
If the employer retains a person to conduct the evaluation, then that person must obtain and consider the input of the co-chairs or their delegates.
The evaluation must include, among many things, a written report on a wide range of topics.
For example, the report must describe whether the JOHSC members were selected in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act sections 128 and 129; whether the JOHSC met regularly as required; whether the JOHSC received a response from the employer to its written recommendations; whether the JOHSC members received time off for training to which they are entitled; whether the posting of JOHSC recommendations was done; and whether the JOHSC members received the specific training that is required as a member.
The new regulation also requires the JOHSC to discuss the evaluation at the next meeting of the committee.
Other requirements for Regulation 3.26 are featured on WSBC’s website.
WSBC is preparing an online evaluation tool that can be used to conduct the evaluation.
However, the use of this tool is not mandatory.
The employer can use other tools as long as they meet or exceed all of the requirements for an evaluation under Regulation 3.26.
Part two of this column will explore more of the changes that WSBC has made.
Dave Baspaly is president of COCA and a member of the JOC Editorial Advisory Board.
COCA represents 18 construction associations in British Columbia, with members from all parts of the province, from every sector and from every size of company.