Some business owners in British Columbia may not be pleased that just about every employer must register for and pay insurance premiums to protect injured workers. In BC, even property owners who build their own residences or those who hire casual workers as regular gardeners, domestic workers, nannies and cleaners must register with WorkSafe BC. While it might seem like an unnecessary expense, some argue that employers can see the value of these payments if they consider that the absence of workers' compensation insurance could require their businesses to be responsible for payment of medical fees that follow on-the-job injuries and rehabilitation.
No business owner in British Columbia wishes to be held responsible for harm to employees. While accidents are known to happen when least expected, employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace injuries. Employers who properly comply with due diligence requirements will not be accused of exposing their workers to known hazards.
On April 28th, 2018, Canadians took a moment to pause and pay tribute to victims and survivors of workplace injuries. The National Day Of Mourning, or Workers’ Mourning Day, recognizes and honours the thousands of individuals and families who have had their lives irrevocably changed as a result of an occupational disease or workplace accident.
Firefighters in British Columbia and other provinces and territories face multiple safety hazards. Instances of workplace injury are prevalent because they work in dangerous situations in which they are often exposed to extreme conditions that include high temperatures. Although previous research identified cardiovascular diseases as the primary cause of the death of firefighters, new studies contradict that.
Construction company owners in British Columbia who disregard the safety and health of employees in favour of maximizing profits may not realize that injured workers will adversely affect the bottom line. Instead, proactive steps can avoid instances of workplace injury while non-compliance fines under the occupational health and safety requirements laws can be prevented. To make it easier for employers to comply, WorkSafeBC recently released a three-year plan that will help company owners to limit serious occupational injuries in the construction industry.
Construction work sites are known hazardous areas at which employers are expected to protect the health and safety of employees. However, construction site accidents continue to occur in British Columbia, and safety authorities are looking at ways in which to change this. Almost every workplace injury can be prevented by using common sense. This is the opinion of an executive of the BC Construction Safety Alliance.
Workers in the film industry -- actors and actresses, dancers, stunt drivers, set workers and others -- face multiple safety risks while working on productions. However, the Occupational Health and Safety laws are not always clear on the status of workers. In British Columbia, some performers are regarded as employees, while others may be classified as independent operators. For this reason, a person who earns income in the entertainment industry will not be automatically eligible for workers' compensation benefits in the event of a workplace injury.
In British Columbia, employers in all industries must comply with requirements to protect the health and safety of their employees. If the inspectors of WorkSafeBC investigate a workplace injury and find that safety violations caused it, the business will be fined. This happened to Nature's Oven Foods after an incident that claimed most of a baker's right arm earlier this year.
Workers are entitled to a safe workplace environment. Employers must comply with prescribed regulations regarding workplace health and safety, and employees may have a right to refuse work in unsafe conditions. Employers should encourage workers to report potential hazards in the workplace and then take proactive steps to address dangerous situations. By doing so, employers will not only ensure the safety of workers in the workplace, but they may also avoid financial consequences (and in some cases, criminal liability) associated with disregarding occupational health and safety.
For most people in British Columbia, going to the hospital is something they do to get well. However, for many workers in the health care industry, hospitals are the very places that put them at risk for a workplace injury. In fact, a recent study by the Canadian Federation of Nurse Unions reveals that going to work can be a dangerous thing for nurses.