The latest release
from WorkSafeBC related to Bill 14 is a practice directive for claims.
Interim Practice Directive #C3-3 outlines the
adjudicative guidelines board officers should consider when adjudicating
a claim under both the traumatic event and significant stressor
provisions of the Act. The directive gives more clarity regarding
the definition and factors to be considered under specific categories
present in the policy, including
causation, diagnosis, pre-existing mental
disorders, and exclusions.
replaces Practice Directive #C3-3 Mental Stress.
WorkSafeBC is launching the new Education Sector portal this month. The portal will be similar to portals available
for the health sector, construction and others. While this is an
ongong project, there are already several resources that staff in the K-12 sector will be able to access more easily. More
resources will be added over time so check back frequently.
Another new introduction is
the WorkSafeBC Education Sector Update,
which will be
published four to six times a year and will contain information relevant
to our sector. You can sign up to receive an e-copy direct to your
WorkSafeBC and UBC Tool for
training OH&S Joint Committees
The most recent WorkSafeBC
magazine featured a tool developed collaboratively with UBC, which could be very
helpful for districts and training new OH&S committees.
“Together with the University of BC,
the Global Health Research Project, the B.C. Government Employees Union,
and the BC Public Service Agency (BCPSA), researchers developed a new
web-based tool to make committee members’ duties more manageable.
Available online, this free tool is easy to use and covers everything
from how to inspect a workplace or investigate an incident to ways to run
a meeting. It includes basic occupational health and safety concepts:
biological, chemical, and physical hazards, ergonomic issues, workplace
stressors, and exposure control measures.
The web tool uses concrete examples and
presents ideas in an educational, but upbeat, tone. It offers exercises,
along with information sheets for downloading. While the message is
serious, the site is engaging, complete with animated characters.
The information is meant to enhance a
workplace’s overall safety culture, rather than turn committee members
into occupational injury prevention experts or exposure control
The Centre for
Disease Control in BC is alerting the community that this is one of the
worst flu seasons in recent years. While the H1N1 is in relatively low
numbers, other strains of flu still present serious problems and the
Fraser Health Authority recently took the unusual step of declaring a
health hazard under the provisions of the Public Health Act.
should ensure they have — and have reviewed — an exposure control plan.
Seasonal flu affects people to varying degrees, with symptoms including
earache, fever, fatigue, sore throat and runny nose. In some cases,
secondary infections such as pneumonia may develop. Symptoms can
include high fever, chest pain and difficlulty breathing. To assist in
reviewing or developing an exposure control plan you may want to check
out either the resource on the WorkSafeBC
website, or these other resources:
BC Centre for
Health Link BC
called the flu, is an infection of the upper airway caused by an
Getting sick with
influenza also puts you at risk of other infections. These include
viral or bacterial pneumonia which affect the lungs. The risk of
complications is greater for seniors 65 years and older, very young
children, and people who have lung or heart diseases, certain chronic
health conditions, or weakened immune systems.
women in the second half of their pregnancy are at greater risk of
being hospitalized following infection with influenza virus.
In Canada, it is
estimated that up to 8,000 people die from influenza and its
complications during years with widespread or epidemic influenza
can influenza be prevented?
You can reduce the
risk of getting influenza or spreading it to others by:
§ washing your
disposing of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage;
§ coughing and
sneezing into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands;
§ staying home
when you are ill; and
§ getting the
Update on Bullying and
Harassment with WorkSafeBC and Other Bill 14 Issues
The draft policy is
being revised based on stakeholder input. Some resources are being
posted on the WorkSafeBC website, however, the actual tool kit cannot go
forward until the Board of Directors adopts a final policy. We know it
Definitions of bullying and harassment
Specific procedures for a complaint
that alleges the employer is the bully/harasser
The continuation of a prescriptive
Expectations for the employer to
Requirements for investigators to be
trained in bullying and harassment investigation and clarification
of roles. There must also be procedures on follow up to the investigation
and record keeping requirements.
In addition to a policy statement,
there should be an annual review of the policy and procedures for dealing
with and reporting incidents or complaints
Clarification that workers must not
bully or harass supervisiors and that supervisors must not bully or
harass other supervisors or workers.
The policy will not
include a risk assessment.
the second draft and the changes expected to the policy to the Business
Council of BC Forum on January 23, 2013. A copy of that presentation
is attached to this newsletter
Claims are being
adjudicated and there are some field officers who are working with the
claims managers adjudicating these claims. It is important that district
officials cooperate with this process. Having an existing investigation
report can assist, so completing your process when a form 6 is received is
important. Your investigation process should follow existing policy or
collective agreement processes. This will include completing at least the
preliminary steps of a basic investigation when the complainant is
someone who is not an employee; i.e., a parent or student. You must
at least interview the complainant and the respondent.
Timelines Section 55
entered into consultation regarding the timeline for acceptance of claims
brought forward under Mental Disorders. The consultation is open for comment until June 13, 2013.
One option is the status quo; the second is to clarify the
application of Section 55. The following sentence would be added to
policy item #93.21, Time Allowed for Submission of Application:
“Section 55 is applied to claims for compensation for mental disorders as
it is applied to claims for compensation for injuries.”
Policy would clarify that the same
timelines apply for submission of an application for compensation for a
mental disorder as apply to claims for compensation for injuries.
It would be clear that the policy
regarding applications made out of time is considered to determine
whether special circumstances existed that precluded the filing of an
application for a mental disorder.
Questions and comments reflected in
submissions received from worker and employer stakeholders during
consultation on the Bill 14 legislative amendments would be addressed.
stakeholders may continue to challenge that the Bill 14 legislative
changes constitute a special circumstance and refer the matter to the
Canadian Standard Association Standard on Psychological Health and
Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace has now been
released. The standard will be available for free download
for a limited time.
This is the first edition of CSA Z1003/BNQ 9700-803, Psychological
health and safety in the workplace — Prevention, promotion, and guidance
to staged implementation. This Standard is intended to align with
other relevant standards, such as BNQ 9700-800, CAN/CSA-Z1000, and
CSA Z1002, and with recognized management system standards that
incorporate the following five elements (see also Annex G):
policy, commitment, and engagement;
evaluation and corrective action; and
management review and continual
This Standard specifies requirements for a documented and
systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and
safe workplace, and provides complementary information in Annexes A to G.
Standard can be used for conformity assessment. It has been approved by
the Standards Council of Canada.
Violence in Schools
Between 2007 and
2011, over 540 public school workers lost time from work as the result of
injuries caused by violence. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
Regulation, section 4.27, defines violence as “the attempted or actual
exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force so as to
cause injury to a worker.” Violence also includes “any threatening
statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe
that he or she is at risk of injury.” This definition applies to children
and includes acts of violence performed by children, who may have
cognitive deficiences, and whose acts may be perceived to be performed
with no intent to harm.
Sixty seven percent
(67%) of the public school workers injured as a result of violence were
education assistants, fifteen percent (15%) were elementary teachers, and
nine percent (9%) were secondary teachers. Twenty five percent (25%) of
all time-loss claims resulting from violence occurred in the months of
October and November.
WorkSafeBC statistical service, October 2012)