WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC administers the Workers Compensation Act for the British Columbia Ministry of Labour. WorkSafeBC has the legal authority to set and enforce occupational health and safety standards, assist injured or disabled workers, and assess employers and collect funds to operate WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC (WSBC)

By law, all those businesses in BC who hire full-time, part-time, casual or contract workers must register with WorkSafeBC (WSBC).  Ensure that any contractor with employees hired has WSBC coverage for the duration of the project by requesting a clearance letter from WSBC.  Those businesses that have no employees (e.g. sole proprietors) are not required to register for WSBC, but may be eligible for Personal Optional Protection.

What if the Contractor does not have WSBC Coverage?

If the contractor or contractor employee(s) sustains an injury, the ministry may be responsible for the full cost of the accident (medical treatment, wages, etc.) and/or may be responsible for paying the WSBC premiums of the contractor for the duration of the project.  The ministry could be open to a lawsuit for a work related injury of the contractor or their employee(s).

What is Personal Optional Protection (POP)?

Personal Optional Protection (POP) is optional workplace disability insurance for individuals who are not automatically covered under the Workers Compensation Act.  Some contractors may be eligible as it includes people who are self-employed, as well as partners, proprietors and proprietor spouses in a non-limited company. It protects against wage loss and may provide medical and rehabilitation services if injured on the job.  Contractors can find out if they are eligible for POP by applying for POP and answering a series of interactive questions. It is recommended  that contractors contact the Employers’ Advisers Office (a free service) to discuss their situation prior to apply for POP.  

What Information must government give Contractors?

Before work commences, the government must give its contractors any known information that is necessary to identify and eliminate or control hazards at the workplace.  This would be reasonably foreseeable hazards, not an exhaustive list of all possible hazards. Given such information, it is the contractor’s duty to create a safety program to help protect themselves or their workers.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

Will the contractor be working on-site at a government building or property?  OHS regulations contain legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC.  Read the OHS Regulation & Related Materials which includes policies, guidelines and Workers Compensation Board (WCB) standards.

Is this a Multiple Employer Worksite?

Multiple employer workplaces are created when the workers of two or more employers are working at the same location on the same project.  It generally applies to construction services. They do not both have to be working all of the time. If they are both at the workplace and the activities of either employer can affect the health and safety of workers of the other employer, then the workplace becomes a multiple employer workplace. Multiple employer worksites require the designation of a Prime Contractor, which carries multiple safety duties including overall coordination of safety at the workplace.   Due to the complexities of the multiple employer workplaces and prime contractor duties, contact a BCPSA safety specialist via MyHr when considering creating a multiple employer workplace, or if it is possible that the ministry has already become part of a multiple employer workplace.