COVID-19 – Occupational Health and Safety Policy: Do you have one?

Worksafe BC requires that those employers whose employees are working from home due to COVID-19 should ensure they have a basic Health and Safety Policy.

The Health and Safety Policy should contain an acknowledgment from the employee that he or she understands their role, duties, and responsibilities and that they agree to abide by the Health and Safety Policy.

The employer would also sign an acknowledgment that they acknowledge and are aware of the contents of the Health and Safety Policy.

The Health and Safety Policy should require employees to conduct an assessment of their workplace and report any possible or actual hazards to their manager or supervisor.

If any such hazards are discovered, there should be a plan made by both the employer and employee to ensure the safety of the employee.

The Health and Safety Policy should also specifically refer to the following:

  • The procedure for the employee to evacuate from the home or temporary workplace to a safe location in case of emergency; this can only be done by the employee as the employer should not access the home at this time due to COVID-19.
  • The manner in which the employee is to contact the employer in case of an emergency; identify the contact person of the employer, their office, and cell number and e-mail.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee that the employee working at home should use the same safe workplace practices that are expected from them at work.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee describing the procedure for how an employee should report a work-related incident or injury to their employer; identify the contact person of the employer, their office and cell phone numbers, and e-mail.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee that the employee should be as cognisant at home as they are at work about ergonomics; that the employee should take steps to mitigate the risk of developing a musculoskeletal injury.
  • A statement from the employer that the physical risk factors associated with an employee developing musculoskeletal injury by working at home include without limitation repetition and work posture.
  • A statement by the employer that the employee can learn more about musculoskeletal injury, assess the risk in their home, and actively take steps to reduce the risk by reading the following: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/hazards-exposures/ergonomics

 

Heath Law LLP provides a full range of services to employers in British Columbia. If you require assistance contact Heath Law LLP by phone or email.

Whether it is a result of a slip and fall, an assault, a motor vehicle accident, or another type of accident, many people suffer injuries while working. If a person in British Columbia is injured while working, the worker should be able to recover some of their losses related to the injury. If the injured worker dies, the worker’s dependents may be able to recover losses on behalf of the deceased.

When a worker is injured, the primary question that will determine the type of compensation that can be claimed is whether the party that caused the injury or death was working at the time.

Types of Claims

In British Columbia, a person who is working at the time of the injury cannot make a claim against another individual working at the time of the accident or his or her employer. Instead, the injured person must claim through WorkSafeBC to recover any losses that he or she suffered.

However, if a person is injured while working and the other party involved is not working at the time of the accident, the injured party may be able to choose to recover any losses through WorkSafeBC or through a personal injury claim (i.e. a Court action).

A WorkSafeBC claim will compensate you for part of your wage loss or future income loss while a personal injury claim provides compensation to the full extent of all provable losses. In addition, a personal injury claim allows you to make a claim for pain and suffering, which is not compensated under WorkSafeBC.

Making the Choice

If the option is available to you to make a claim either with WorkSafeBC or to proceed with a personal injury claim, a lawyer can help you determine the best option. You must make this choice within 90 days of when the injury occurred. However, if you choose to proceed with a personal injury claim, you can also preserve your right to compensation through WorkSafeBC by filing the appropriate materials within one year of your injury. You may want to preserve your right to compensation in case your lawsuit is unsuccessful or you receive less money than you would have received through WorkSafeBC.

 

For any further questions regarding work-related injuries or to schedule an appointment with a litigation lawyer click here.