Province implements recommendations to improve workplace safety

WorkSafeBC’s board of directors appointed special advisor Gordon Macatee to develop a plan to improve workplace safety in B.C.

Following the 2012 sawmill tragedies in Burns Lake and Prince George, WorkSafeBC’s board of directors appointed special advisor Gordon Macatee to develop a plan to improve workplace safety in B.C.

According to the provincial government, all 43 recommendations provided in the plan have now been implemented.

One of the main purposes of the recommendations was to ensure a world class inspection and investigation regime at WorkSafeBC.

“All of Mr. Macatee’s recommendations relating directly to WorkSafeBC have been executed in a timely and comprehensive manner,” said Scott McCloy, a spokesperson with WorkSafeBC.

The recommendations aimed to ensure that employers addressed dust mitigation and control in the wood products manufacturing industry. They also supported enhanced training of WorkSafeBC officers and managers in the areas of major case management, investigation techniques, penalty process management and collaboration skills.

Tools were also developed to make data sharing between partners and jurisdictions possible to help employer and industry leaders proactively plan for and manage emerging issues.

Last year, the B.C. government made changes to the workers compensation act, through Bill 9, to enable WorkSafeBC to finalize a number of the recommendations.

Sections of Bill 9 included establishing two new enforcement tools for WorkSafeBC – a compliance agreement to help employers comply with workplace safety rules more quickly, and a new administrative penalty that can be issued on the spot like a ticket for employer contraventions of more minor safety regulations.

According to the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, these actions further strengthen WorkSafeBC’s ability to enforce occupational health and safety regulations and ensure a world-class inspection and enforcement regime.