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Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind
When will this winter weather end?
is Groundhog Day - the day we'll discover if the winter
weather will leave us soon or whether it's here to stay
a while longer. According to folklore, if the groundhog
emerges from its burrow on February 2 and sees its shadow,
it will retreat and hide for another 6 weeks - indicating
another 6 weeks of winter. But if it's cloudy and the
groundhog is unable to see its shadow, it will stay
outside and the winter weather will soon go away. That
groundhog has one important occupation!
Groundhog Day competition
In the movie Groundhog Day (1993), Bill Murray
portrays a TV weatherman (meteorologist) covering the
Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Send
us three potential occupational hazards of TV meteorologists
as well as a suggestion to minimize each risk. We will
select a winner from the responses to win a prize. Make
sure you answer both parts of the question: three risks
and at least one mitigation strategy for each! Email
responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you aware of the latest OHS Regulation changes?
The deadline for providing
feedback on the proposed policy changes to Chapter
10 of the Rehabilitation
Services & Claims Manual, Volume II,
regarding the provision of health care to injured
workers, has been extended to February 10, 2012.
Visit our website
for a discussion paper and to submit comments.
If not, click
here to view the changes to the Occupational
Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) that went into effect
on February 1, 2012.
Some of the amendments are related to:
wire rope splices
retrieving traffic cones
How did these changes come about?
The changes were presented for feedback at public hearings
in May/June 2011, and then approved by the Board of
Directors (BOD) in October 2011. Once approved, an announcement
of the changes was sent out via WorkSafeBC E-news
and posted on the website.
to Part 4 of the OHSR, relating to a third
option to protect workers assigned to work alone in
late night retail premises, were approved by the BOD
in December 2011 and go into effect on April 15, 2012.
Joint Heath and Safety Committees
For more information
and suggestions about how to create an effective
JHSC, check out the following documents on our
"As JHSC co-chairs,
Alan and I work very hard to bring a team
approach' to our respective membership. We have
had a very busy year with significant achievements
on numerous issues, including improved analysis
of the incidents reported to the Safety, Health
& Wellness department, and training and development
opportunities for committee members. Our highest
goal and priority is the health and safety of
our constituency' - that is, all the men
and women who work here at WorkSafeBC in Richmond.
The support from the Safety, Health & Wellness
department is also something very much appreciated
by our committee."
Karen Wheeler, co-chair,
WorkSafeBC Richmond JHSC
Did you know that the Workers Compensation Act
(the Act) requires that a joint health and safety
committee (JHSC) be established in each workplace where
20 or more workers of the employer are regularly employed?
In workplaces with more than 9 but fewer than 20 workers,
a worker health and safety representative (HSR) is required.
Alan Brose and Karen Wheeler are the co-chairs of the
JHSC at WorkSafeBC's Richmond location. Brose shares
his views about value of serving on a JHSC:
JHSC represents an opportunity for worker and employer
representatives to work together to promote a healthy
and safe workplace for everyone. An effective committee
proactively observes and discusses the elements of the
occupational health and safety program, points out areas
that require attention, and makes constructive recommendations
to improve health and safety."
The results of our recent Insight
that approximately 28% of our readers take an active
role as a JHSC member or HSR in their organizations.
Here at WorkSafeBC, we have multiple JHSCs: a corporate
JHSC for the organization as a whole, as well as one
for each of our regional
locations. Brose continues, "The Richmond
Complex joint committee has met monthly for many years.
I'm very proud of our ability to work cooperatively
to identify health and safety issues and wrestle them
to the ground. Whether it's participating in inspections,
investigations, and risk assessments, or studying workplace
safety concerns brought forward by staff, our committee
members are committed to doing the best we can to make
sure we all go home safely at the end of each day."
Among others, the functions and duties of the JHSC include:
Identifying situations that may be unhealthy or unsafe
for workers and advising on systems for responding
to those situations
Addressing complaints relating to health and safety
Making recommendations to the employer and workers
to improve occupational health and safety, and the
Making recommendations to the employer on educational
programs promoting the health and safety of workers
Ensuring that accident investigations and regular
inspections are carried out as required by the Act
and the OHSR
To the extent practicable, the HSR has the same duties
and functions as the JHSC. The specific requirements
and roles of JHSCs and HSRs are provided in Part
3, Division 4 of the Act.
The Policy and Regulation Division (PRD) at WorkSafeBC
is responsible for providing advice and services to
the Board of Directors, Senior Executive Committee,
other divisions, the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services
and Open Government, external stakeholders, and the
The PRD is made up of two operating departments:
Compensation and Assessment Policy
OHS Regulation and Policy
These departments have staff with expertise in public
policy and research, with varying backgrounds, including
law, business, occupational hygiene, science and engineering.
The PRD provides independent and objective advice on
policy and regulation options that reflect WorkSafeBC's
strategic priorities, as well as those of external stakeholders,
and the general public.