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WorkSafeBC approves amendment to Working Alone requirements in OHS Regulation

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors has approved amendments to Part 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, regarding a third option to protect workers assigned to work alone in late night retail premises. The amendments become effective April 15, 2012.

The third option addresses implementation issues and challenges with the existing regulation. The implementation issues were confirmed in three pilot projects and by an independent evaluation. The conclusions were that options one and two in the current regulatory requirement — hiring additional workers or erecting a barrier — are not practicable for all late night retailers.

This third option does not replace the existing two options in the late night retail safety regulation; it is an additional option, which provides a prescriptive list of engineering and administrative controls. Employers who choose the third option will be required to implement all of the listed controls. In addition, employers will be required to undertake regular security audits by a qualified and independent person to confirm that all the controls have been implemented.

Roberta Ellis, senior vice-president of corporate affairs for WorkSafeBC says, “Our priority continues to be protecting late night retail workers from acts of violence.”

WorkSafeBC consulted with employers and worker representatives when considering the amendments to the regulation. A review of independent research, the results of the pilot project assessing barrier options, a report from an independent audit of the project and feedback from public hearings throughout B.C. were also considered.

If an employer chooses the third option, they must implement all of the following controls:

  •     a time lock safe on the premises that cannot be opened during late night hours;
  •     cash and lottery tickets that are not reasonably required in order to operate during late night hours are stored in the time lock safe;
  •     good visibility into and out of the premises;
  •     limited access to the inside of the premises;
  •     the premises must be monitored by video surveillance;
  •     there must be signs on the premises indicating that the safe is a time lock safe that cannot be opened during late night hours, there is a limited amount of accessible cash and lottery tickets on the premises, and the premises are monitored by video surveillance.

In addition, workers assigned under the third option to work late night hours must be at least 19 years of age and be provided with personal emergency transmitters that are monitored by the employer, a security company, or other person designated by the employer.

WorkSafeBC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation is available online. To view it, go to: http://www2.worksafebc.com/publications/OHSRegulation/Home.asp

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