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British Columbia Workplace Health and Safety Protocols

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For this month’s Lions Library, let’s talk about British Columbia workplace health and safety protocols! The goal of Lions Library is to provide you with short-form, easy to understand, explanations of workplace health and safety topics as well as act as a database for where to learn more. In today’s blog, we’ll be sharing information on British Columbia’s provincial workplace health and safety programs and where to find the best information to keep yourself and your employees safe working within the province of BC. We will be posting a new Lions Library focusing on all of the Canadian provinces! Tune in to our blog, or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Linkedin) so you’ll be sure to catch when we publish your province’s! 

What are workplace health and safety guidelines?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS) states, “A health and safety program is a definite plan of action designed to prevent accidents and occupational diseases.” In most Canadian jurisdictions, some sort of a health and safety program is required under the occupational health and safety legislation. Because every organization is different, a specific health and safety program must be developed for each organization and cannot necessarily be expected to meet the needs of another.

British Columbia Workplace Health and Safety Protocols

In British Columbia, The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation contains legal requirements for all workplaces that fall under the inspectional jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC. This includes most workplaces in BC, with the exception of mines, federally charted workplaces, interprovincial and international transportation, telephone systems, radio, television and cable services. WorkSafeBC has been in place in BC since 1917 and helps improve the health and safety of British Columbians in the workplace through a sustainable no-fault insurance system that supports both employees and employers. WorkSafeBC educates and monitors compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. In case of work-related injuries or diseases, WorkSafeBC offers return-to-work rehabilitation, compensation, healthcare benefits and other services.

For Employees

Your key responsibilities in British Columbia workplace health and safety protocols as an employee are as follows:
  • Maintain health in a manner that allows attendance at work on a regular and consistent basis
  • Learn and follow safe work practices and procedures, consistent with the ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Program and applicable legislation and collective agreement provisions
  • Notify your supervisor/manager as soon as possible of any health-related absence
  • Discuss options for modifying duties and/or hours when able to work in some capacity
  • Provide information as required, and follow appropriate recovery plans
  • Fully participate in and cooperate with rehabilitation activities and return-to-work plans
  • Participate in alternative employment assignments
  • Report unsafe work practices and hazards to a supervisor/manager immediately.

Your Safety Rights

All employees in British Columbia have three basic safety rights:
  1. The right to know and to be trained in safe work practices in all aspects of your job.
  2. The right to participate in health and safety matters either directly or through a worksite health and safety committee or representative.
  3. The right to refuse work if you have reasonable cause to believe that the work process, equipment or environment poses an undue risk of injury to you or another person. Learn how to refuse unsafe work in BC here.

For Employers 

Your key responsibilities in British Columbia workplace health and safety protocols as an employer in BC are as follows:
  • Promote a culture that values safe and healthy work practices
  • Communicate employee attendance expectations to employees
  • Review Short Term Illness & Injury Plan (STIIP) leave requests for employees, approve leave, if appropriate, and initiate pay action
  • Offer timely modified duties and workplace accommodations
  • Manage routine return-to-work cases and seek early engagement and participation with the BC Public Service Agency on complex cases
  • Support and monitor return-to-work plans, and regularly communicate with employees
  • Identify and seek guidance when a health issue may be affecting an employee’s capacity for productive work
  • Establish and maintain safe work practices and procedures in accordance with WorkSafe BC legislated requirements

Creating a healthy & safe workplace in BC

WorkSafe BC has a database of resources surrounding creating and managing a healthy and safe workplace. This includes how to create an effective health and safety program, meeting other basic workplace requirements in BC and enhancing your workplace’s health and safety culture. Click below to view any of these resources: Visit the WorkSafeBC webpage to see even more helpful content including recent incident summaries in order to get an idea of potential hazards in your industry and how to prevent them!
The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Our courses can be customized to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you! If you’re interested in building a customized training program, please get in touch. One of our training representatives would be happy to help you get started.