In British Columbia, a workplace with 20 or more workers must have a joint occupational health and safety committee (“Committee”), and a workplace with 10-19 workers must have a worker health and safety representative. Effective April 3, 2017, amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation will require the following:
- Employers must ensure that a written evaluation is conducted annually to measure the effectiveness of the Committee. Section 3.26(b) of the Regulation sets out who can conduct the evaluation, and section 3.26(3) of the Regulation sets out what information must be covered by the evaluation. WorkSafeBC reports that it will launch an online evaluation tool that employers and Committees may use to comply with this requirement.
- Mandatory minimum training and education for new Committee members and worker health and safety representatives. In particular, within six months of being selected, Committee members must undergo at least eight hours of training, and worker representatives must undergo at least four hours of training. Sections 3.27(4) and (5) of the Regulation sets out the topics that must be covered in training. Sections 3.27(6) and (7) of the Regulation provide for an exception to the training requirement for Committee members or worker representatives who: served in such roles in the two years prior to being selected for their current post; and received at least the minimum training now required under the Regulation.
The amendments also clarify the meaning of “participation” in section 174 of the Workers Compensation Act by providing three additional examples of what participation by worker and employer representatives in an employer incident investigation includes.
Visit WorkSafeBC’s webpage regarding Joint Health and Safety Committee Related Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) Changes for a full copy of the approved amendments and explanatory notes for each amendment.