OHS Insider Month in Review – March 2019 British Columbia
LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Workers’ Comp Filing Deadline
Jan.: WorkSafeBC dished out a record Administrative Monetary Penalty of nearly $650K to a hospital in Port Coquitlam for not taking adequate measures to protect workers from workplace violence. While health care is generally a high-risk industry, the workplace violence hazards at this hospital were particularly high considering that patients were individuals charged with crimes but judged not mentally fit to stand trial. After 2 attacks and several penalties, the hospital is now working with the union to improve the situation.
OHS Scorecard: 5 Biggest Recent Administrative Monetary Penalties in BC
|Almost $650,000(1)||Forensic Psychiatric Hospital||Separate incidents in which a nurse at a rehab hospital was physically attacked||Failure to protect workers from workplace violence via adequate risk assessments, policies and training|
|$65,712||Jack Cewe Ltd.||Excavator contacts a buried, energized high voltage electrical conduit while doing road excavation work||Failure to:
*Undertake excavation work according to requirements of the utility service owner; and
*Ensure machinery was kept the minimum approach distance from exposed electrical conductors
|$53,690(2)||Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini and Paolo Aquilini et al./Golden Eagle Farms||During joint vehicle inspection, WorkSafeBC and provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety & Enforcement Branch find a leak in air brake compressor discharge line and other problems making the vehicle unsafe||Failure to ensure vehicles used to transport workers were safely maintained|
|$34,223||Sandel Foods Inc.||Worker cleaning conveyor that’s still running suffers serious injury after his arm gets caught in unguarded moving machine parts||Failure to:
*Lock out machinery before maintenance work
*Guard nip points on belt conveyors
|$17,381||Performance Contracting Ltd.||An excavator digging trench for water line installation strikes and damages 2 energized high-voltage power ducts||Failure to:
*Implement adequate safe work procedures
*Notify workers of existence and location of the electrical conductors
Feb. 4: Comments ended 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.
June 3: Changes to OHS Regs. requirements for PPE take effect.
PPE Changes Taking Effect June 3, 2019
|Part of OHS Regulation||Current Rule||New Rule|
|Head Protection, Sec. 8.11(2)||Safety headgear must meet one of following:
* CSA-Z94.1-92, Industrial Protective Headwear
* ANSI Z89.1-1986, Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers
* JIS T8131 – 1990, Industrial Safety Helmets, for Class AB or ABE headgear
|Safety headgear must meet one of following:
* CSA-Z94.1-05 or Z94.1-15, Industrial Protective Headwear – Performance, selection, care and use
* ANSI 89.1-2009 or ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection
|Head Protection for Rope Access, Sec. 34.14(d)||Safety headgear for performing rope access must meet one of following:
* CAN/CSA-Z94.1-05 Industrial Protective Headwear – Performance, selection, care, and use (Feb. 2005) *ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection (Jan. 26, 2009)
*EN 12492:2012 Mountaineering equipment. Helmets for mountaineers. Safety requirements and test methods (Aug. 31, 2012)
* EN 397:2012+A1:2012 Industrial safety helmets (April 30, 2013)
* UIAA 106 Mountaineering and Climbing Equipment – Helmets (Jan. 2009)
|Safety headgear for performing rope access must meet one of following:
* CAN/CSA-Z94.1-05 or CAN/CSA-Z94.1-15, Industrial Protective Headwear – Performance, selection, care, and use
* ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 or ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection
* BS EN 12492:2012 Mountaineering equipment – Helmets for mountaineers – Safety requirements and test methods
*BS EN 397:2012 + A1:2012 Industrial safety helmets
*UIAA 106 Mountaineering and Climbing Equipment – Helmets
|Eye Protection, Secs. 8.14 and 8.15||Non-prescription safety eyewear must meet either:
*CSA Z94.3-92, Industrial Eye and Face Protectors, or
* ANSI Z87.1-1989, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection
Prescription eyewear must meet CSA Z94.3-92
|Eye and face protection must meet either:
* CAN/CSA-Z94.3-07 or Z94.3-15, Eye and Face Protectors, or
*ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Device
|Glass Lenses, Sec. 8.15||*Prescription lenses made of treated safety glass allowed if they meet ANSI Z87.1-1989, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, polycarbonate or plastic prescription lenses are impracticable, and there’s no danger of impact||Glass lenses allowed if worker uses eye protection meeting one of the following:
*Impact resistance requirements of CSA Z94.3-07 or Z94.3-15, Eye and Face Protectors, or
*Impact rated requirements of ANSI Z87.1-2015, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices
|Side Shields, Sec. 8.16||Safety eyewear must be fitted with sideshields when necessary for worker’s safety||*Eye protection must have side protection if an eye hazard could reach worker’s eye through an unprotected area beside the eye *OK to use removable side shields|
|Face Protection, Sec. 8.17||Face protection must meet either:
*CSA Z94.3-92, Industrial Eye and Face Protectors, or
*ANSI Z87.1-1989, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection
|Face protection must meet either:
*CSA Z94.3-07 or Z94.3-15, Eye and Face Protectors, or
*ANSI Z87.1-2015, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices
June 3: New OHS rules requiring employers to take additional measures to prevent the collapse of concrete formwork, falsework and reshoring (under Sections 20.17 to 20.26 of the OHS Regulation) take effect. Highlights:
- Plans for formwork must be worksite-specific
- Employer duty to ensure professional engineer certifies worksite plan, reshoring, erection, use and dismantling comply with plan, and protruding objects are removed
- Changes to plan must be made available at site before pouring begins
- Clarification of how pre-pour inspection carried out and what it must address.
June 3: Key new requirements for blasting operations under Part 21 of the OHS Regs. take effect. Highlights:
- Previous safety rules extended to electric detonators, igniters and other modern equipment
- New radio frequency and testing circuit precautions required for such equipment
- New requirements for dealing with misfires.
Fishing & Diving
June 3: That’s the effective date of a revision to Part 24 of the OHS Regs. for Diving, Fishing and Other Marine Operations requiring crewmembers of commercial fishing vessels to wear personal flotation devices or lifejackets when working on deck even if guardrails, personal fall protection systems or safety nets are in place.
Other BC OHS Regulatory Changes Expected 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|
April 15: That’s the deadline to comment on some relatively minor revisions made by WorkSafeBC to the following OHS guidelines:
- 9 Inspection and maintenance record
- 13(3)(a) Industrial high angle rope rescue program
- 74-2 Automotive lifts and other vehicle support standards – Applicable standards
- 76 Operation
- 78 Inspection and testing.
BC Workers’ Comp Policies Slated for Review in 2019
|Policy Subject||Issue(s)/Question(s) to Be Reviewed|
|Chronic Pain||*Is current fixed 2.5% loss of function award for chronic pain appropriate?
*Should chronic pain be adjudicated under PDES (Permanent Disability Evaluation Schedule)?
*Is terminology in rule up to date?
|Psychological Disability Awards||*Review of adjudication guidelines in assessment of permanent psychological disabilities
*Role of Psychology Disability Awards Committee in decision-making process
|Mental Disorders||*Definition of significant work-related stressor
*Definition of bullying and harassment
*Application of section 5.1(1)(c) of Act banning coverage of mental disorder caused by decision of worker’s employer relating to employment, including on work to be performed, working conditions, discipline or termination
*Extending one-year claims filing deadline
|Vocational Rehabilitation||*Safe, productive and durable return to work
*Restoring injured workers to pre-injury earnings capacity
|Activity-Related Soft Tissue Disorders (ASTDs)||*Add guidance on when it’s appropriate to adjudicate ASTDs under both section 5 (personal injury) and 6 (occupational disease) of Act
*Review relevant risk factors and how they’re evaluated
|Non-Traumatic Hearing Loss||*Ranges of hearing loss
Percentages of disability
*Methods or frequencies to be used to measure hearing loss
|PDES – Range of Motion (ROM) Method & Disabilities of the Spine||Appropriateness of the ROM method in assessing disabilities of the spine in comparison with other diagnostic approaches such as the diagnosis-based impairment method or the diagnosis-related estimate method|
|Surveillance of Injured Workers||Should WorkSafeBC establish a policy to guide use of surveillance, including video, audio and photographic recordings, for claims adjudication?|
|Additional Benefits for Severely Disabled Workers||Are policy amendments required to ensure benefits for severely disabled workers are appropriate?|
|Overpayments||*Are current distinctions between recoverable and non-recoverable errors appropriate?
*How to classify errors that appear to contain elements of more than one type
*How time limits should be applied to WorkSafeBC policy on recovering overpayments
*When claims costs related to overpayments will and won’t be charged to an employer for experience rating purposes
|Diverting Pension Benefits for Worker’s Maintenance||*When should pension funds be diverted to pay for a worker’s maintenance?
*Clarification of what qualifies as custodial care
*How a worker’s comfort allowance should be calculated
Source: WorkSafeBC proposed 2019-201 policy workplans
Feb. 11: Vehicle accident litigation has become way too common and way too lengthy, thanks in large part to the glut of expert witnesses and reports. With this in mind, BC changed its court rules limiting parties to one expert for fast-track claims, e.g., those under $100K, and 3 for all other claims, subject to the judge’s discretion.
Feb. 15: Comments ended 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.
Jan. 23: The WorkSafeBC Board of Directors officially approved new Policy #97-70 setting out rules for use of video surveillance to keep tabs on employees who file workers’ comp claims. Effective March 1:
- Surveillance not to be used routinely but only when there are grounds for suspecting fraud
- Qualified expert to review video evidence and determine if it’s appropriate
- Give employees right to review and respond to evidence.
March 29: That’s the deadline to comment on proposed revisions to Policy #2.20, Application of the Act and Policies, in the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II, including expressly requiring that “the Board must make its decision based on the merits and justice of the case.” Seems kinda’ obvious, right? But the revisions are in response to an internal policy review finding that WorkSafeBC has a tendency to get so caught up in the technical details of its policies that it overlooks justice and the big picture of the claim it’s deciding.
Feb. 28: New agricultural waste management regulations took effect. Highlights:
- New rules for storage and use of manure and other nutrients and materials that can flow into watercourses and groundwater
- Ban on direct discharges
- Mandatory nutrient-management planning
- Increased monitoring in high-risk areas
- Recordkeeping requirements.