LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
March 21: Following the inquest into a construction worker’s death, a jury panel recommended that WorkSafeNB make the following OHS changes to protect workers working near water on construction sites:
- Ensure a dedicated supervisor at any site separated from another site by 1 km or more
- WorkSafeNB should oversee startup of any road construction sites, gravel pits and quarries
- Mandatory inspections of worker safety and training records every 2 months
- Require daily posting of water depths in prominent location at site
- Require joint health and safety committees at any construction site with workers of 2 or more employers regardless of total number of workers.
March 16: Bill 44 requiring employers to provide paid leave to victims of domestic violence who need time off to seek medical attention, legal help or a new place to live received Royal consent but hasn’t yet been proclaimed into force. The bill also expands the rights of workers to take unpaid leave to care for family members. The new bill follows on the heels of the Dec. 3, 2017 expansion of maternity, child care, family caregiver and critical illness leave based on federal Employment Insurance changes.
March 5: The workers’ comp reform task force appointed by WorkSafeNB issued its report. Key recommendations:
- Eliminate 3-day waiting period for claims submissions
- Provide transitional benefits for injury/illness not medically related to workplace
- Clarify formula for calculating CPP Disability offset
- Replace current survivors’ benefits with a new benefit that’s not subject to family means test in the event of remarriage or CPP offsets
- Revise rules for “deeming process,” i.e., adjustments based on earnings for jobs worker is deemed capable of doing
- Stronger return to work protections
- Review medical policies governing opioid prescriptions for injured workers
- Clarify Workers’ Comp Act definition of “accident.”
April 15: That’s the deadline to comment on revisions designed to align WorkSafeNB Policy 25-012, Opioids as Medical Aid with new medical guidelines from the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons, including:
- Cut initial pre-authorization for opioid prescriptions to 2 weeks
- Limit dosage to 50 mg morphine equivalent per day
- No simultaneous prescriptions of opioids with benzodiazepines and other sedatives
- Stricter monitoring.
Workers’ Compensation—Prescription Eyeglasses
April 18: Review ends on WorkSafeBC’s proposal to index 2018 eyeglass repair/replacement benefits by 1.46%. The new rates:
|Glasses Repaired or Replaced||Lenses||Frames|
|Prescription eyeglasses damaged at work (one-time basis)||Cost||Up to $187.54|
|Eyeglasses for work injury covered by workers’ comp||Cost||Up to $187.54|
Fish & Wildlife
April 20: Today is last call for public comment on the proposed changes to the following Fish and Wildlife Act regulations:
- Hunting Regulation
- Moose Hunting Regulation
Registration Procedure Regulation.