LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
|Workers’ Comp Filing Deadline
Feb. 28, March 15 or March 31, depending on the final 2 digits of your account number
Dec.: WorkSafeBC reported the OHS fines for June to August, 2018.
Top 5 OHS Fines Reported in BC from June to August 2018
|$191,667||Conifex Inc.||Rough-cut lumber pile stacked on forklift collapses and falls on worker. Inspectors find that pile was on unstable foundation of partly frozen soil, snow and sawdust||Failure to ensure that lumber piles were plumb, level and maintained in a stable condition|
|$112,022||Encana Services Company Ltd.||Subcontractor’s worker injured by explosion at hydraulic fracking site caused when ungrounded and unbonded equipment released static electricity, igniting flammable vapours and gases inside condensate tank||Failure, as prime contractor, to:
*Eliminate or control ignition sources in the presence of flammable gases or liquids
*Ensure vacuum trucks were adequately bonded and grounded
* Coordinate health and safety activities at its worksite
*Establish and maintain a system to ensure regulatory compliance
|$38,186||Whitewater Concrete Ltd.||After crane incident, inspectors find that crane involved in the incident was actually being used to clean up the scene||*Failure to ensure that a crane involved in a safety incident was removed from service until a professional engineer inspected it and certified it for safe use
*Disturbing the scene of a reportable incident
|$24,000||C H Framing Ltd.||Inspectors find uncontained stucco debris containing asbestos at the demolition site of a pre-1990 house||As prime contractor for the site:
*Furnishing documentation falsely indicating the site was safe for demolition
*Failure to ensure safe containment or removal of hazardous materials prior to demolition work
|$23,092||Mullen Oilfield Services LP||Two workers hired to transport and assemble a drilling rig are injured when crane rigging fails; inspectors find that safe lift plan failed to identify the hazard and how to manage it||Failure to provide the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure workers’ health and safety|
Feb. 4: That’s the deadline to comment on WorkSafeBC’s proposed 2019-201 policy workplans. Listed OHS priorities:
- Clarify rules for worker “discriminatory actions,” i.e., reprisal complaints
- Review bullying and harassment policies and whether to put them into an official OHS regulation
- Review and update OELs
- Biennial review of formaldehyde requirements
- Biennial review of styrene requirements
BC OHS Regulatory Changes Made on Tap for 2019
|Part of OHS Regulation||Expected Change(s)||Status/Expected Action Date|
|Part 4 General Conditions||Hazard identification & risk assessment to be required in all workplaces, not just designated high-risk workplaces||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 4, Secs. 4.81 and 4.82||Extend duty to control exposure to environmental tobacco smoke to e-cigarettes||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 5 Chemical Agents and Biological Agents||Full review of combustible dust requirements||TBD|
|Part 6 Substance Specific Requirements, Secs. 6.42-6.58||Update cytotoxic drugs requirements, which were created 20 years ago||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 6, Secs. 6.89 and 6.90||Update Restricted entry intervals (REIs), i.e., minimum time required between time a pesticide is applied and time people can enter the area without protective clothing and equipment based on recent changes to regulatory and pesticide industry standards||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|8. Part 8 and Part 18 Traffic Control, Secs. 8.24 and 18.9(b)||Update high-visibility apparel requirements and references to standards cited in Regulation and require selection to be based on a comprehensive WCB Standard Personal Protective Equipment Standard 2-1997, High Visibility Garment (“WCB PPE 2- 1997”)||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 12 Tools, Machinery and Equipment, multiple sections||Incorporate CSA standards and adopt other changes to be determined by comprehensive review, first since Reg. was adopted in 1998||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 17 Confined Spaces||Full review of Part 17||TBD|
|Part 18 Traffic Control, multiple sections||Harmonize rules with Ministry of Transportation 2015 Interim Traffic Management Manual for Work on Roadways||Public hearings on proposed changes|
|Part 20 Construction, Excavation and Demolition||Require training for concrete pump operators to a specific standard including an assessment of competency, as requested by BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association||TBD|
|Part 26 Forestry Operations and Similar Activities, multiple sections||New requirements for arborists based on ANSI Z133-2012 Standard for Safety Requirements in Arboricultural Operations||Public hearings on proposed changes|
Dec. 28: New Guidelines (G9.22) explain how to get WorkSafeBC approval to use alternative measures to control or isolate adjacent piping for confined space entry. Required information to list in approval application:
- Means of hazard control or elimination
- Means of measuring and monitoring flow and/or levels of materials inside space
- How flow monitors will communicate with workers inside space
- Means of installing and monitoring bladder pressure devices
- Emergency and rescue procedures
- Manufacturer’s instructions and specifications
- Process for verifying control measures
- Roles and responsibilities of affected personnel.
Diving & Fishing
Jan. 1: Newly approved revisions to WorkSafeBC Prevention Manual policies take effect clarifying rules (under OHS Reg. Part 24: Diving, Fishing and Other Marine Operations) requiring accessible master on/off control on winches, drums, capstans and similar equipment on board fishing vessels and banning the bypassing drum pedals and other types of hold-to-run controls.
Feb. 15: Comments end on a new government report on reducing dangers of asbestos exposure. Ideas on the table:
- Mandatory licensing certification for contractors, consultants and surveyors
- Provincially recognized training standards and programs for asbestos abatement workers
- Incentive-based programs to encourage safe building asbestos removal practices.
Notice of Project
Dec.: WorkSafeBC issued new, simplified forms for submitting Notices of Project, i.e., notification of construction and other high-risk projects before work begins, by year’s end. Biggest changes: Customizable forms that can be used for any of the 5 project types (instead of the current and inflexible one-size-fits-all) and capacity to upload supplementary documentation with NOP submission.
Workers’ Comp Rates
Jan. 1: The average base rate for 2019 is the same as it was for 2018, i.e., $1.55 per $100 of assessable payroll. According to agency projections, industry base rates will decrease for 51% of employers, increase for 47% and stay the same for 2%.
Jan. 1: New policies affect how employers affect how employers will earn Certificate of Recognition (COR) workers’ comp premium rebates:
- New requirement to implement a plan-do-check-act cycle-based OHS Management System
- COR still valid for 3 years but annual audits now required after years 1 and 2
- New decertification and penalty provisions.
Workers’ Comp Reporting
Jan. 25: That’s the deadline to comment on proposed policy changes to simplify and reduce employer reporting and remitting obligations. Currently, employers with annual assessments of $1,500 or more must report payroll and remit assessment premiums to WorkSafeBC every quarter.
Jan. 1: The following changes to the Permanent Disability Evaluation Schedule take effect affecting methods for assessing:
- Loss of strength
- Range of motion
- Vision disability
Oil & Gas
Nov. 21: Proposed legislation would establish a new methane emissions oversight system based on the federal model in which the BC Oil and Gas Commission would be in charge of investigating emissions violations.