Prime contractor responsibilities clarified

Photo credit: toekneemarie on Flickr

Photo credit: toekneemarie on Flickr

A new policy in BC outlines employers’ responsibility to their own employees and others on their worksites.

It’s one of four new policies – along with details on how WorkSafeBC officers issue warnings and orders and how employers pay (or appeal) penalties. Read the full details on the new policies in the July/Aug 2013 issue of WorkSafe Magazine.

The prime contractor at a worksite is responsible for the safety of all workers and people on the site.

Recently I looked at a Health and Safety Environmental Plan (HASEP) from my friend’s workplace, Golder and Associates. They specialize in consulting, design, and construction for mining, transportation, manufacturing, oil and gas, and other industries.

My friend works out of the Burnaby office and is on her safety committee – and she’s been saving me a big folder full of workplace safety forms, plans, and reports for blog post ideas.

The HASEP addresses this exact responsibility issue that is on the radar in BC.

“The site supervisor is responsible for the safety of all Golder employees, subcontractors, visitors and public on all parts of the site under Golder control,” reads the HASEP, which also outlines contractors’ responsibilities.

Contractors are required to ensure all their equipment is in safe working condition – registered/licensed, tagged/tested as required – and “potential hazards are to be controlled.”

“You will report any identified hazards to the Golder Associates field staff member,” reads the HASEP, which includes pages for people to sign that they’ve read it.

Complying with amendments to WorkSafeBC policy

“Some employers might think their responsibilities are limited to their own workers,” says Anne Burch, WorkSafeBC director of OHS Regulation and Policy, quoted in WorkSafe Magazine.

“A worksite can have many employers, each with its own workers. These employers have health and safety obligations to their own workers on the worksite, as well as to those workers who are not their own.”

The prime contracting employer “…needs to provide information to these workers about hazards on the worksite, and ensure the activities of these workers don’t hamper anyone else on site,” reads the story.

Employer responsibility is clarified in the amendment to policy D3-115-1 clarifies when and how employers are obligated to safety of all workers, under Section 115(1)(a)(ii) of the Workers Compensation Act. It was enacted in 1999, and the new policies guide employers on complying with it. Read more about it in Discussion Paper – Employer’s Obligations Towards Other Workers Consultation.

Thanks and congrats to my friend for her enthusiasm and commitment to safety at her workplace. I’m going to follow up on some of the other resources and see how they could be useful for other safety committees.


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