Three Important WorkSafeBC Issues to Pay Attention to So Far in 2017
WorkSafe BC cases are playing a crucial role in highlighting important issues that are caused by unsafe working conditions. Unsafe work practices and conditions can cause the workers to either be exposed directly to danger, or suffer from conditions that can lead to problems. In 2017, new WorkSafeBC issues have been arising that deserve attention because they are directly related to employee safety and may even influence new legislation in the future that employers should be aware of.
Mental Health and WorkSafeBC
In recent years WorkSafeBC has had to start paying attention to the many mental health cases that have emerged on job sites. The most notable case identified by WorkSafeBC is the suicide case of firefighter Ernie Dombrowski, as, according to WorkSafeBC, he suffered from workplace trauma and his family was awarded damages. Ernie’s case is a notable case that could lead to developments regarding the issue of mental health awareness, as there is a need to identify how work conditions can cause stress and mental issues specifically issues such as PTSD. The decision, according to Surrey Firefighters Association president Mike McNamara, will make it possible for other first responders to make claims related to mental health.
Holding Workers and Employers Accountable for Properly Wearing Safety Equipment
The second prominent case of WorkSafeBC highlights the issue of safety provision by employers, by providing research on how young workers in the industry generally do not wear safety equipment to prevent damage from loud noises, according to a member of WorkSafeBC, “Among construction workers age 21 or younger, 24 per cent reported not wearing hearing protection, as compared with 13 per cent of workers over age 50 and 11 per cent of workers in all other age groups. The data was collected in 2016 from more than 160,000 hearing tests — about 50,000 in construction — conducted by B.C. employers as part of hearing-loss prevention programs”. The case is important because it could increase the pressure on employers to not only provide hearing equipment but also encourage employers hold workers accountable for properly wearing the provided equipment on the job site.
Asbestos Testing and Pre-testing the Job Site
The third leading case, of WorkSafe BC is a case that could change the safety precautions in the construction industry. According to WorkSafe BC research, safety from Asbestos during construction is essential. The problem in construction industry in Canada is that while demolishing old houses there could be dangerous for workers, if the premises are not tested for asbestos safety beforehand. Asbestos can cause lung diseases and could even lead to the death of workers. Some of the materials or places containing asbestos could be:
- Vinyl tiles and linoleum sheet flooring;
- Roof felt and shingles;
- Loose, blown-in insulation, such as vermiculite;
- Gypsum board filling compound, and patching and joint compound for walls and ceilings;
- Incandescent light fixture backing;
- Deck under sheeting.
(*List provided by WorkSafeBC)
The above cases could be influential in deciding the future of work place safety precautions and the measure employers would have to take to ensure employees’ mental and physical health safety.