New standards are to be introduced under the Workers Compensation Act that will require all asbestos abatement contractors to be licensed to operate in B.C. It will also require workers and employers who perform this type of work to complete mandatory safety training and certification.
Asbestos abatement work involves: assessing, removing, repairing, transporting and disposing of materials that may contain asbestos. This is to reduce death amongst workers, dealing with asbestos, as there were contributing factors in the 53 of the 161 workplace deaths due to asbestos exposure, in 2021.
The Board has advised that employers are required to submit a Form 7 if COVID-19 is work-related. The Board has confirmed that not all positive COVID cases are reportable. The exposure to the worker must be work-related.
As per WorkSafeBC the following conditions must be met: The nature of the worker's employment created a risk of contracting the disease significantly greater than the ordinary exposure of the public at large, A symptom cluster establishes the existence of COVID-19 and there is a medical diagnosis.
The PHO has implemented an an expedited workplace closure order, that allows inspections officers to shut down a workplace for a period of 10 days or longer, if needed, after a COVID-19 transmission has been detected. Transmission of COVID-19 at a workplace is when three or more workers test positive, in accordance with public health. WorkSafe BC has advised that if a closure is ordered, they will work to support public health and will serve the closure notice, as well as review the existing safety plan. A closure does not always result in the business/site being closed, and will be determined on an individual basis.
According to WSBC, there have been over 28000 COVID-19-related inspections and over 5000 consultations, with a total of over 3000 COVID-19-related orders that have been issued for health and safety violations.
If staff is working from home, ensure that there is a policy in place that addresses health and safety for the home office and ways to prevent injuries. In addition, site inspections should be performed to ensure compliance and that the staff member is safe from hazards.
As of Jan. 1, 2021, the following three provisions took effect:
The 32 legislative amendments that came into effect on August 14, 2020 include:
**The information provided for Covid-19/Bill 23 and WSBC Claims does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only.