On April 3, 2017, amendments to the Occupational Health and
Safety Regulation (the "Regulation") came into
effect. Employers in British Columbia with a workplace of 10 or
more workers are advised to take notice of these changes since they
introduce new obligations to evaluate and train joint health and
Under the current legislation, employers must establish a joint
occupational health and safety committee ("Committee") in
each workplace with 20 or more workers. Similarly, a worker health
and safety representative ("Representative") is required
in each workplace with 10-19 workers.
The amendments to the Regulation create, among others, two new
obligations in respect of Committees and Representatives:
Employers, Committee co-chairs, or certain other designated
individuals must conduct an annual written evaluation of a
Committee's performance during the preceding year. The
evaluations must discuss, at a minimum:
whether the Committee has met specific statutory obligations
listed in section 3.26(3)(a) of the Regulation;
the effectiveness of the Committee's rules and procedures;
the overall effectiveness of the Committee as a whole.
When an individual has been selected to join a Committee, he/she
must receive at least eight hours of training within six months of
selection. In the case of a Representative, he/she must receive at
least four hours of training. The Regulation provides for
exceptions in certain limited circumstances. The scope of the
training an individual must receive depends on whether he/she is a
Committee member or Representative, however at a minimum the
content must include instruction on the duties of a Committee or
Representative, workplace safety inspection and investigation, and
requirements regarding refusal of unsafe work.
While occupational health and safety is considered an obligation
shared among all stakeholders, the above amendments place
responsibility on the employer to ensure that the evaluation and
training described above takes place. For that reason, employers
would do well to familiarize themselves with these requirements if
they have not already done so. For more detail, visit WorkSafeBC's web page regarding
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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