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ISSUE 2013-1: February 5, 2013

In This Issue

WorkSafeBC Updates


WSBC Website Portal


WSBC and UBC JOHS Committee training tool


Flu Season


Update on Bill 14 matters

Timeliness section 55 consultation


CSA Standard on Psychological Health and Safety


Quick Links

Refusal of Unsafe Work Flow Chart


Principles for Principals: Click the image below to access the complete interactive document.

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If you have questions about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any health, safety or wellness issue, please contact Sue Ferguson at 604.730.4502 or

WorkSafeBC Updates

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.

The directive replaces Practice Directive #C3-3 Mental Stress.

WorkSafeBCWebsite Portal

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 inbox.

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 specialists.”

Flu Season

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.

Schools 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 Disease Control

§  Health Link BC

§  Handwashing poster


Image shows steps to proper handwashing: wet hands, liquid soap, lather 20 seconds, rinse 10 seconds, dry hands with paper towel, turn off tap with paper towel. Don't forget to wash between your fingers, under your nails and the tops of your hands


What is influenza?

Influenza, often called the flu, is an infection of the upper airway caused by an influenza virus.

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.

Healthy pregnant 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 activity.

How can influenza be prevented?

You can reduce the risk of getting influenza or spreading it to others by:

§  washing your hands regularly;

§  promptly 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 influenza vaccine.

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 will include:

§  Definitions of bullying and harassment

§  Specific procedures for a complaint that alleges the employer is the bully/harasser

§  The continuation of a prescriptive approach

§  Expectations for the employer to provide training

§  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.

WorkSafeBC presented 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

WorkSafeBC has 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.

§  Worker stakeholders may continue to challenge that the Bill 14 legislative changes constitute a special circumstance and refer the matter to the WCAT.

New Voluntary Canadian Standard Association Standard on  Psychological Health and Safety

The Canadian 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;

§  planning;

§  implementation;

§  evaluation and corrective action; and

§  management review and continual improvement.


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.

This voluntary 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.

(information from WorkSafeBC statistical service, October 2012)

BC Public School Employers' Association
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