ISSUE 2009-01: January 28, 2009

In This Issue

When is Working Alone Not Working Alone


WorkSafeBC 2009 Rates


Review Division Update


Quick Links

Refusal of Unsafe Work Flow Chart



If you have questions about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any health, safety or wellness issue, please contact Mark Grabas at 604.730.4509 or markg@bcpsea.bc.ca

When is Working Alone Not Working Alone

Recently, WorkSafeBC updated its guideline to the Working Alone provisions found in sections 4.20.1 to 4.23 of the OHS Regulation.  Specifically, WorkSafeBC sought to define the phrase "assigned to work alone or in isolation."

Assigned to work alone or in isolation

In its updated guideline, WorkSafeBC stresses that the requirements of the working alone regulation apply only when a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation

WorkSafeBC has defined “assigned to work alone or in isolation” to mean:

Where the worker is directed or expected to work during a scheduled or predetermined period of time, such as a specified work shift or a specified portion of a work shift. During that time it is anticipated or expected that the worker will be working alone or in isolation. Workers who work alone or in isolation for short or intermittent periods of time without being directed to do so are not considered to have been "assigned" to work alone.

The updated guideline also includes the following example:

A worker in most office and similar work settings, where other workers are normally present during their work hours, is not considered to be assigned to work alone or in isolation if, for example, the worker decides to come in early, work late, or come in on a day off. While a worker in such a setting may choose to work alone and this is permitted by the employer, the worker is not considered to have been assigned to work alone. Accordingly, the provisions of sections 4.20.2 to 4.23 would not apply.

So what does that all mean...?

In a situation where a worker decides to come into school early, work late or come in on a weekend or day off, working alone procedures do not need to be implemented. However, it is important to note that the worker will likely still be considered to be working by WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC 2009 Rates

Public school districts in British Columbia fall under Classification Unit #765008 of the WorkSafeBC classification system.

The 2009 assessment rate is $0.64 per $100 of assessable payroll to a maximum wage per worker of $68,500. This is a 5% increase over the 2008 rate. The 2008 assessment rate was $0.61 and the 2007 assessment rate was $0.59. This trend of higher rates is likely to continue into 2010.

Review Division Update

The Request for Review Form has been revised mostly to allow applicants to request telephone contact or an oral hearing.  Notwithstanding these changes, the Review Division is clear that the “Read and Review method” will remain the predominant method for conducting reviews. Applicants will be required to indicate why they feel telephone contact or a hearing might be necessary. In general, oral hearings will rarely be granted. The majority of those granted will be prevention reviews. The new form can be found by clicking on the following link (Request for Review).

BC Public School Employers' Association
400 – 1333 West Broadway, Vancouver BC V6H 4C1
Tel: 604.730.0739   Fax: 604.730.0787   
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