The government of B.C. introduced the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2015 designed to improve workplace health and safety. This comes as part of the Province’s commitment to implement recommendations made by Gordon Macatee’s WorkSafeBC Review and Action Plan released last July.
The legislation amends the Workers Compensation Act, and includes changes that complement other operational improvements taking place at WorkSafeBC to improve inspection and investigation systems, in the wake of the tragic sawmill incidents that occurred in 2012 in Burns Lake and Prince George.
The four objectives of the act include are: providing a range of new safety enforcement tools; shortening the process for finalizing financial penalties to improve their effectiveness as an enforcement tool; ensuring timely employer investigations of workplace incidents and reports; and enhancing workplace safety expertise on the WorkSafeBC board of directors.
These amendments expand WorkSafeBC’s capacity to increase compliance with safety regulations, to expedite investigation of workplace incidents, and to issue stop work orders where conditions present a risk to workers. The legislation will also permit WorkSafeBC to seek a court injunction to bar the worst employer offenders from continuing to operate in an industry when they ignore WorkSafeBC orders and continue to use unsafe practices.