After reaching full maturity at about 25 years, the body starts to undergo slow changes. The changes are typically only noticeable between 40 and 50 years of age. An older worker's years of experience might make him or her less likely to suffer a workplace injury. However, older workers may take longer to recover if a workplace injury occurs.
Workplace injury statistics show that an average of one million occupational injuries and illnesses are reported across the country each year, including in British Columbia. Safety authorities say almost every workplace injury is preventable, and approximately 10% of work-related accidents lead to brain injuries.
Employees who believe they are victims of pay equity violations might have questions about their legal rights. Under the Canada Human Rights Act, which applies to employees working for federally regulated employers such as banks, airlines, Crown corporations, and other organizations, there are express provisions requiring pay equity in the workplace. Under the Canada Labour Code, Labour Program inspectors have the power to assess for pay equity compliance and alert the Canada Human Rights Commission if a federally regulated employer is not complying with the requirements.
Some workers in British Columbia may not realize that they have the right to refuse job tasks that would threaten their safety. Employers must provide safety training and personal protective gear to protect employees from conditions that could cause a workplace injury.
Employees in British Columbia are protected from discriminatory treatment, victimization and bullying in the workplace. WorkSafeBC mandates that employers must ban bullying and harassment of workers by colleagues and supervisors. Bullying and harassment can take on many forms.
The Workers' Compensation Act of British Columbia mandates that employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of employees. The well-being of workers can be adversely affected even if they witnessed a traumatic event but were not physically injured. In these cases, workers may be concerned about their ability to make a successful claim for compensation for medical esxpenses without suffering a visible workplace injury.
The director of a Canadian concussion centre recently said that, contrary to popular belief, teachers face significant risks of concussion. More and more teachers in British Columbia and across Canada report head trauma suffered in accidents in classrooms and during recess. Some teachers who experience this type of workplace injury are left with symptoms that are long lasting and debilitating.
Workers in British Columbia are entitled to financial assistance through the employer's WorkSafeBC insurance coverage. Coverage may extend to workplace injury caused by one event, as well as progressive conditions that result from exposure to chemicals or repetitive motions in a person's line of work over extended periods.
Most workers find comfort in knowing that a workers' compensation program exists that will likely cover their medical expenses and lost wages if they should suffer workplace injuries. However, it is not unusual for companies to be based in British Columbia and send work crews on assignments in other provinces or territories. Such workers may have questions about their rights to benefits if they should fall victim to work-related accidents while working outside the province.
Workers in British Columbia who are exposed to hazardous or toxic substances in their workplaces might nor even notice the gradual damage this exposure causes to their health. In many cases, by the time workers are diagnosed with occupational diseases, the condition is already severe. Although workers' compensation covers work-related illnesses, they may be more difficult to prove for claims purposes than other workplace injuries.