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 of 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.
In preparation for the upcoming months, WorkSafeBC has advised that they will be contacting businesses classified as short term accommodations (hotels, motels and resorts) within the next few weeks to ensure that their COVID-19 Safety Plan is up to date.
As of Jan. 1, 2021, the following three provisions took effect:
The 32 legislative amendments that came into effect on August 14, 2020 include:
Failure to pay your assessments can result in the Board seizing your assets.
According to WSBC, there have been over 22, 300 inspections completed, with over 1334 Orders.
With the rise in cases the Board has advised that safety plans will continue to be reviewed. For the construction industry- contractors and sub contractors must both have their safety plans available and posted at their job sites.
WSBC has now advised that they will be granting extensions for 180 days or until December 31, 2020 for certificates that have expired between March 1, 2020 and August 01, 2020, Certificates will not be re-printed and no further action is required by first aid attendants or employers. Re certification will occur, once training becomes available.
WSBC has now advised that if an injured worker is in self isolation/quarantine, then the worker is at risk of endangering the health/safety of others. Therefore, WSBC would pay full wages until the worker can participate in the RTW/GRTW. It is imperative to discuss alternative options with the Case Manager regarding, work from home options, etc., as well as a revised RTW/GRTW.
The Chief Review Officer has currently advised, extensions of time may be granted under section 96.2(4) of the Act, to extend the 90 day and 45 day time limits where there are special circumstances surrounding Covid-19. In addition, due to the complexity of the proceedings, there may also be an extension of time on the review itself, with is typically 150 days.
Yes, every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.
The Safety Plan must provide: adequate hand washing locations that are easily accessible, ensure a cleaning protocol with proper training with all materials supplied by the employer, remove all "shared" items from lunch rooms, constructions sites can have no more than 50 people, and all onsite meetings are to be held in open spaces or outside, while still maintaining 2 metre distance. Policies must also address who can be at the workplace, how to deal with illnesses, as they arise. Ensure that all staff are aware of all policies and protocols that are in place either through training, signage and/or site orientation.
At all times, the BC CDC must be followed and also reflected in the policies created by each employer.
*Please note that this is a brief synopsis*
WSBC has advised that they will not be reviewing or approving the safety plans, but will be reviewing safety plans of individual employers during their inspections. All plans must be posted, even at worksites. Failure to comply, the prevention officer may issue ORDERS.
If staff are working from home, ensure that there is a policy in place that addresses health and safety for the home office.
WSBC has advised that they do not offer coverage for workers who have been sent home on a precautionary basis by their employer to self-isolate, due to symptoms.
Workers have the right to refuse work, if they believe it presents an undue hazard. Undue hazard during Covid-19 would be where the job duties place them at an increased risk of exposure and safety measures are not in place to protect them from that exposure. The worker and the employer must collaborate to resolve the issue, otherwise WSBC must be contacted and a prevention officer will determine if the worksite is safe. If it is not orders may me issued.
WSBC has advised that in accordance with the BC's Public Health Office directive, all work sites must maintain a list of all employees working on work sites, daily. In which documentation must be properly kept and stored for reference.
**The information provided for Covid-19/Bill 23 and WSBC Claims does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only.