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Industry Voices: Expanding on WorkSafeBC’s new Joint OH&S Committee regulations

0 161 OH&S

by Dave Baspaly

This is the final article of a two-part Industry Voices series explaining new WorkSafeBC regulations for Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees.
COCA president Dave Baspaly
COCA president Dave Baspaly

WorkSafeBC (WSBC) has announced significant new requirements for Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC).

This column continues with a summary of the main changes.

The Council of Construction Associations (COCA) recommends that employers go to the WSBC webpage for a complete description of what is required.

Regulation 3.27 specifies the training that the employer must provide to JOHSC members.

This is in addition to the separate entitlement to eight hours of educational leave annually for Occupational Health and Safety training that the JOHSC member or the worker representative may request.

For JOHSC members selected on or after April 3, 2017, the employer must ensure that each member receives at least eight hours of instruction and training. The training must be done as soon as practicable, but no later than six months after the person becomes a member of the JOHSC.

For worker representatives, the employer must ensure that the member receives at least four hours of instruction and training.

The training must be done as soon as practicable, but no later than six months after the person becomes a worker representative.

The regulation also stipulates the topics that must be included in the training of JOHSC members and worker representatives.

For both the JOHSC member and the worker representative, the training does not have to be delivered in one session and the training method is flexible.

If the JOHSC member was a member of that JOHSC or another JOHSC, or was a worker representative at the workplace or a different workplace two years or less before becoming a member of the current committee, the eight-hour training requirement does not apply — if the person has already received the training.

If the worker representative was a member of a JOHSC or was a worker representative two years or less before becoming a worker representative, the four-hour training requirement does not apply, with the same caveat that the person has already received the training before.

WSBC has advised that they will have an online course available to meet these training requirements.

Note that even if the JOHSC member or worker representative has received the specific training within two years or less, they still have the separate entitlement for eight hours of education leave annually for Occupational Health and Safety training. As above, this educational leave is an entitlement that may be requested from the employer.

Regulation 3.28 expands upon a new section of the Workers' Compensation Act that deals with the responsibilities of worker and employer representatives for incident investigations.

Section 174 (1.1) of the act empowers WSBC to prescribe additional activities as part of investigations. The act was changed in response to the Prince George Lakeland mill explosion coroner's recommendation that there be "full and meaningful participation in the investigative process by both the employer and worker representative."

The new regulation requires that employer and worker representatives assist the investigation with "gathering information" and "analyzing the information" and "identifying any corrective actions necessary to prevent recurrence of similar incidents."

WorkSafeBC is also developing a guideline to explain more fully what is involved in participation and to emphasize the value of the investigation process.

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.Send comments or questions to editor@journalofcommerce.com.

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