Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) the
Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) has the authority to establish
standards for training programs required under the OHSA and its
regulations, and to approve the training programs which meet those
standards as well as the authority to establish standards which
must be met in order for a training provider to be approved to
deliver the approved training program. In an effort to strengthen
the workplace safety culture in construction and reduce the number
of accidents due to falls from heights, the new Working at Heights Training Standard will come
into effect on April 1, 2015. The new Training Standard's
purpose is to establish a minimum standard for high quality and
Currently, under the Occupational Health and Safety
Act, Construction Regulation 213/91, there already exists the
obligation to protect workers and train when exposed to the hazard
of falling. Specifically, section 26 of the Regulation states
Sections 26.1 to 26.9 apply where a worker is exposed to any of
the following hazards:
Falling more than 3 meters.
Falling more than 1.2 meters, if the work area is used as a
path for a wheelbarrow or similar equipment.
Falling into operating machinery.
Falling into water or another liquid.
Falling into or onto a hazardous substance or object.
Falling through an opening on a work surface.
Sections 26.1-26.9 set out various protections and requirements
that must be met to protect the worker from the hazards.
These requirements have been in place for many years and require
workers to be trained to them. Once a worker was trained
there was no legislative requirement to retrain or refresh workers
information although many employers did so as part of their Health
and Safety programs.
As of April 1, 2015, for those workers who already meet the
existing fall protection training, as noted above, they will have
until April 1, 2017 to complete the training now being set out in
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
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