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Honesty is the best policy.
Groundhog Day winner
to Joanne Osachoff, Field Operations Assistant with
FortisBC and Secretary of their Interior South
Joint Health and Safety Committee. Joanne was the winner
of our February Groundhog Day competition and
receives a new golf shirt. To see the potential occupational
hazards and mitigation strategies for television meteorologists
that Joanne identified, click here.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the competition.
Your answers were thoughtful, informative, and sometimes
amusing. We're unaware if a meteorologist has ever been
bitten by a grumpy groundhog
Effectiveness Measures Report
yearly - usually in the second and fourth quarters -
WorkSafeBC publishes an Effectiveness Measures Report,
which summarizes key indicators of the effectiveness
of policy and regulation changes. The report for the
fourth quarter of 2011 was presented to the Policy and
Practice Consultative Committee in February 2012 and
is now available on the WorkSafeBC website.
For example, you'll notice a reduction in injuries to
new and young workers since changes were made to Part
3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR)
in January 2007. Section
3.23 of the OHSR requires employers to provide
all young or new workers with orientation and training
about safe work procedures and how to recognize hazards
on the job. From 2008 to 2009 there was a 28% decrease
in injuries to young workers, and from 2009 to 2010
the injury rate decreased by 12% for young males and
by 8% for young female workers.
Are you interested in more details about how we measure
effectiveness? We published a story on this topic in
2011 edition of Insight that provides
more information about how measures of effectiveness
are selected, and how this measurement process came
to be. You can access all our past issues online.
Compensation & assessment policy projects
Did you know?
Here's a short lesson
for those who don't speak legal-ese. A "consequential
amendment" is a "subsequent amendment
to the text of a motion or bill made necessary
for coherence following the adoption of an amendment."
of Parliamentary Procedure
It has been a busy start to 2012 and the Policy and
Regulation Division (PRD) has been working on potential
changes to the Rehabilitation Services & Claims
Manual, Volume II (RS&CM) and the Assessment
Manual in the following areas:
Bill 16, the Family Law Act
The Government of British Columbia's Bill
16 received Royal Assent on November
24, 2011 and made two types of consequential
amendments to the Workers Compensation Act
The first set of amendments resulted in policy
changes which were housekeeping in nature, and
came into effect in December 2011.
The second set of amendments introduce a definition
of spouse into section 1 of the Act,
and also amend the cohabitation period for common
law spouses to qualify for compensation benefits
from the current 3 years, to 2 years. These
amendments came into force on March 1, 2012.
The PRD will seek approval of draft policies
reflecting the legislative amendments from the
Board of Directors at their March meeting.
Tinnitus is a subjectively perceived noise in
the ears such as ringing, blowing, roaring,
or buzzing. Scientific evidence indicates that
tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition,
and is not an injury or disease in and of itself.
Policy on tinnitus is found in policy item
Loss, and provides that tinnitus
may be accepted where it is associated with
a permanent degree of hearing loss.
Policy development has been underway to address
two key issues regarding tinnitus: when should
permanent disability awards be available; and
how should loss of function from tinnitus be
A discussion paper and options for policy change
were released for stakeholder comment in 2011.
The feedback received from stakeholders, together
with policy options to address the above-noted
issues, will be presented to the Board of Directors
in March for decision.
Assessment Manual projects
Employer Classification Policies
The PRD is conducting a review of the classification
policies in the Assessment
Manual. The classification policies
guide the assignment of a firm to a classification
unit. Each classification unit represents an
industry in which a firm operates, and determines
the base rate at which the firm pays premiums
for activities in that industry.
Since the current classification system was
adopted back in 2000, individual policies have
been revised, resulting in a lack of consistency
in the terms used to describe a firm's business
operations for the purposes of classification.
The PRD's policy review concerns whether descriptions
of key terms should be added, and whether the
policies should be reorganized for greater clarity.
At the March Board of Directors meeting, the
PRD will seek approval to consult with stakeholders
on the classification policies in the Assessment
Minor Policy Clarifications
Four minor policy issues were identified for
clarification - affecting policies on exemptions,
voluntary coverage, and the registration of
employers. Policy changes in these areas would
not affect the substantive content of the policies
but would reduce confusion and clarify the intent
of the policies for both decision-makers at
WorkSafeBC and stakeholders.
On February 24, the PRD consulted with the Policy
and Practice Consultative Committee (PPCC) on
proposed amendments to the Assessment Manual.
The PPCC supported the proposed amendments.
The feedback from the PPCC, together with the
proposed policy amendments, will be presented
to the Board of Directors in March for their
The Board of Directors' decisions will be available
on the WorkSafeBC website
after their March meeting.
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.