Here you will find all of the SAFE Companies Updates listed chronologically. Please click on a date to jump to the Update.
The Board of Directors meets June 16th to review the new and revised audit documents.
How will my company change from SEBASE to this new small company category we’re hearing about?
The new independent small “small employer” category (ISEBASE) is designed for 2-5 person companies. This new audit type is going before the for BC Forest Safety Council Board of Directors for review and approval June 16th.
If after reviewing the new audit and considering your company activities you determine that this is the right category for you, here are two options
A new SAFE certification number will be assigned to your company reflecting the change in category.
If your company size is likely to be at the upper range of the category, you may decide to continue using the SEBASE audit.
Cranes and Hoists Definitions and Application – OHSR excerpt
(1) A crane or hoist must be permanently identified by the legible display of the manufacturer's name, model and serial number on the structure.
(2) Each major interchangeable structural component of a crane or hoist must be uniquely identified and must be legibly marked to enable confirmation that the component is compatible with the crane or hoist.
(3) If a crane or hoist was not commercially manufactured and does not have a model number or serial number, the crane or hoist must not be used unless engineering documentation signed by a professional engineer, including technical specifications and instructions for use, are available at the workplace where the crane or hoist is being used.
(4) A crane or hoist described in subsection (3) must be identified in a manner that links the engineering documentation referred to in that subsection with that crane or hoist.
Questions/Suggestions? Please contact us here.
As part of the audit protocol reworks, an administrative audit option is built into the revision for BASE 2.1. Administrative audits are not necessary for small employers, since a small employer can now successfully complete a ‘regular’ small employer audit without having worked. This approach has been reviewed and approved in principal by WorkSafeBC. The administrative audit is a review of the audit protocol documentation questions and is an interim measure until the company has an active worksite(s) to conduct a full audit. The administrative audit ensures that, besides complying with applicable laws and regulations, the specific safety management systems are in place ready for use when the company has field activities.
Once approved, the administrative audit option will be available when:
I’m expecting a site visit this summer but have not heard when or if I’m getting a visit. What do I need to do?
Council staff have made initial contact with companies selected for a site verification in 2010. If you are expecting a visit, and are wondering about the timing of our audit, please call the Council Nanaimo office (1-877-741-1060) and ask for John or Jason.
Workplace Inspections (WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation) excerpt:
3.5 General Requirement
Every employer must ensure that regular inspections are made of all workplaces, including buildings, structures, grounds, excavations, tools, equipment, machinery and work methods and practices, at intervals that will prevent the development of unsafe working conditions.
3.6 Special Inspections
A special inspection must be made when required by malfunction or accident.
3.8 Participation of the committee or representative
An inspection required by section 3.5 and a major inspection required by section 3.7 must, where feasible, include the participation of members of the joint committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable, but
(a)if there is no committee or worker health and safety representative the employer must designate an employer representative and the union must designate a worker representative, or
We continue this week with another of the technical audit modules which are included in the revised small and large company audits.
One of the technical audit modules is hot work.
If company has indoor workers who weld, cut, grind or otherwise generate sparks outside of controlled, designated areas, such as a shop or welding booth they must have a permit system for performing Hot Work.
A hot work permit system would include:
After my company was certified I received a letter which says my 2010 maintenance audit is due December 31, 2010. The letter I received with last year’s audit review states my next maintenance audit is due July 31, 2010. Which is right?
A company has until the end of the current calendar year to submit a maintenance audit. However, if the company’s next audit is due within the first 6 months of the following year, it may not be able to meet the requirement for there to be 6 months between audit submissions.
This issue was recognized and so we now recommend companies submit their maintenance audits on or near the anniversary date of their certification that way a full 12 months of documentation should be available for each audit.
The SEBASE question which requires supervisors to complete and document a review of worker competency can be challenging. A couple of ways of documenting this is through supervisor journal notes or by use of a form such as the Worker Assessment Checklist available on the Council website.
Last week’s update communicated the addition of technical audit modules in the small and large company audits.
One of the technical audit modules is lockout.
If machinery could unexpectedly activate or if the unexpected release of energy source could cause injury, the energy source must be isolated and controlled. The employer is responsible for establishing the lockout system to be implemented within the worksite. Procedures for lockout must be written. (Source: Lockout publication, WorkSafeBC)
What is the connection between the classification unit (CU) I received from WorkSafeBC and SAFE companies certification?
Your WorkSafeBC classification unit (CU) is identified by a six-digit classification unit code. Typically, each firm is assigned to the one CU that best describes its primary business activity. If a firm is engaged in two or more separate and distinct activities, it may be assigned to two or more CUs. Your classification unit determines your WSBC assessment rating.
The Certificate of Recognition (COR) rebate your company may receive from WorkSafeBC is associated with your CU. You must audit all the activities representated by your classification unit. If your CU changes or you have more than one CU, you must update your registration with the Council and audit according to these changes, or you may not receive a COR rebate.
A reminder that there must be 6 months between audit submissions. If your company is in the position where not enough time has been allotted between audits, please contact a Council safety audit advisor to discuss (1-877-741-1060).
Included in the new small and large company audit protocols are the following technical audit modules:
Lockout, Confined Space, Working at Heights, Hot Work, Respiratory Protection, Camp and Remote Accommodations, Working near Power Lines, Chemicals and Asbestos, and Manual Tree Falling. Companies with any of the activities listed above will be required to complete all applicable modules.
Question: How long do I need to keep my audit documentation?
The Council does not have specific requirements as to the length of time your audit documentation should be maintained. The audit is a sample of your documentation submitted to meet the requirements of the audit standard.
It is important to maintain records to demonstrate the functioning of your health and safety program. Some records are required to be kept by Regulation, example, first aid report records must be kept by an employer for 3 years.
Workers Compensation Act General duties of Employers 115
(1) Every employer must
(a) ensure the health and safety of
(i) all workers working for that employer, and
(ii) any other workers present at a workplace at which that employer's work is being carried out, and
(b) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), an employer must
(a) remedy any workplace conditions that are hazardous to the health or safety of the employer's workers,
(b) ensure that the employer's workers
(i) are made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health or safety hazards to which they are likely to be exposed by their work,
(ii) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders, and
(iii) are made aware of their rights and duties under this Part and the regulations,
(c) establish occupational health and safety policies and programs in accordance with the regulations,
(d) provide and maintain in good condition protective equipment, devices and clothing as required by regulation and ensure that these are used by the employer's workers,
(e) provide to the employer's workers the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of those workers in carrying out their work and to ensure the health and safety of other workers at the workplace,
(f) make a copy of this Act and the regulations readily available for review by the employer's workers and, at each workplace where workers of the employer are regularly employed, post and keep posted a notice advising where the copy is available for review,
(g) consult and cooperate with the joint committees and worker health and safety representatives for workplaces of the employer, and
(h) cooperate with the Board, officers of the Board and any other person carrying out a duty under this Part or the regulations.
For small employers, meeting the needs of an injury management/ return to work program can be challenging. There is significant benefit to both an employer and workers when a company has a well functioning return to work/stay at work initiatives. A new SEBASE injury management/return to work element has been developed and will be available with the launch of the new protocols at the end of June.
Question: My re-certification audit is due next month and I have not had any work since my last audit. What am I suppose to do?
Answer: As part of the new audit protocols to be launched June 30th, we have developed an administrative audit which will address instances when a company has had no work since the last audit. Please contact a safety audit advisor to discuss (1-877-741-1060)
Workers Compensation Act, Section 117 General duties of supervisors,
(1) Every supervisor must
(a) ensure the health and safety of all workers under the direct supervision of the supervisor,
(b) be knowledgeable about this Part and those regulations applicable to the work being supervised, and
(c) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a supervisor must
(a) ensure that the workers under his or her direct supervision
(i) are made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health or safety hazards in the area where they work, and
(ii) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders,
(b) consult and cooperate with the joint committee or worker health and safety representative for the workplace, and
(c) cooperate with the Board, officers of the Board and any other person carrying out a duty under this Part or the regulations.
Feedback during piloting of the revised audit protocols (IOO, ISEBASE, SEBASE and BASE) will be used to further refine the protocols. During the month of April, piloting methods included site visits by Council representatives and Council telephone support to guide companies through the new protocols.
Question: Why would I be interested in a site verification audit?
If you have been following these weekly updates you are aware that Council representatives have begun site verification audits. For individual owner operators and small companies, a verification audit is an opportunity for your audit to be completed in the field for the current year. In addition a Council representative can answer questions you may have about safety or the audit process including documentation requirements.
Workers Compensation Act, Section 116, General duties of workers
(1) Every worker must
(a) take reasonable care to protect the worker's health and safety and the health and safety of other persons who may be affected by the worker's acts or omissions at work, and
(b) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a worker must
(a) carry out his or her work in accordance with established safe work procedures as required by this Part and the regulations,
(b) use or wear protective equipment, devices and clothing as required by the regulations,
(c) not engage in horseplay or similar conduct that may endanger the worker or any other person,
(d) ensure that the worker's ability to work without risk to his or her health or safety, or to the health or safety of any other person, is not impaired by alcohol, drugs or other causes,
(e) report to the supervisor or employer
(i) any contravention of this Part, the regulations or an applicable order of which the worker is aware, and
(ii) the absence of or defect in any protective equipment, device or clothing, or the existence of any other hazard, that the worker considers is likely to endanger the worker or any other person,
(f) cooperate with the joint committee or worker health and safety representative for the workplace
WorkSafeBC has approved that SEBASE and IOO Site Verification audits conducted by Council representatives will fulfill an employer’s requirements for either maintenance or recertification audits. Previously we announced that site verification audits would fulfill maintenance requirements only. BASE site verification audits approved to fulfill maintenance requirements only.
Question: When would I expect a call from Council if my company is going to be visited for a site verification audit?
We have begun to call those who have volunteered to participate in verification audits and those who have been randomly selected to participate. If you wish to be part of a verification audit please contact a Council safety audit advisor at 1-877-741-1060.
Reference WorkSafeBC Heath and Safety Management publication
As noted last week, all audit protocols are awaiting final approval from the WorkSafeBC COR Partners program and are being piloted in the month of April.
The purpose of the pilot audits are to test drive them to ensure that they are practical and functional.
Piloting audits will be conducted 4 ways;
Independent with no support
Face to Face support and coaching
Teleconference support and coaching
Pilot audits will include:
Certification (New Certs)
Once the pilots are complete, the results will be incorporated into the final design.
Question: When will the new audit tools be ready for me to use?
June 30th , 2010
An effective Safety Management System will help to ensure that processes, procedures and systems are integrated into your whole business structure which will help to reduce overall injuries in the workplace. The two main key points to an effective system are Leadership and Employee Engagement. This does not mean however that a company will not have any compliance issues, as workers, supervisors and managers must ensure that the systems are being followed.
All audit protocols have been re-written, reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), and are awaiting final approval from the WorkSafeBC COR Partners program.
We are now in the process of piloting the protocols in the “real world”.
I’m a small company and did not submit a 2009 maintenance audit. I’m off the SAFE certified list. It looks like I could have work next month. What should I do?
To get back on the SAFE certified list you need to submit a successful SEBASE audit to the Council.
Or, if you had no work in 2009 (zero assessable payroll), a “No Work Activity Form” must be submitted to the Council.
Please contact Council staff to discuss. Toll free 1-877-741-1060.
Audits are an “at point in time” measurement of your Safety System and are largely compliance based. The audit questions look for verification that you have a Safety System and are meeting the overall intent of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR). Verification includes checking for documents such as Safe Work Procedures, Emergency Response Plans, Safety Meeting Minutes, and more.
Averaging to determine SAFE companies designation.
The average size of the company in its operating* months for the year is 20 or more.
The peak size of a company for any month of the year is 25 or more.
The average size of a company in its operating months for the year is less than 20.
The peak size of a company for any month of the year is less than 24.
*an operating month is any month that the company is at least 25% of its peak size.
What is the relation between WorkSafeBC and the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC)?
The BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) is a Health and Safety Association that is also recognized by WorkSafeBC as a Certifying Partner in their Certificate of Recognition Program (COR). Employers that have or implement a safety management system can be eligible for a COR rebate providing that they meet a set of audit standards.
Dependent Contractors – Definition: In the context of a SAFE companies audit document (and not in the legal meaning), a dependent contractor is a business entity that conducts 100% of its work for only one company on a continual basis. Its workers are treated “same as employees” concerning the parent company’s health and safety program. Dependent contractors must be included in the company’s numbers for determining the appropriate audit instrument.
As announced last week, effective April 1st, 2010, SAFE Companies verification audits can be accepted as a company’s maintenance audit. The focus will be on smaller sized companies with less than 20 people. This includes both small employers (SEBASE) and individual owner operators (IOO).
A 2010 verification audit (by Council representatives) will count as a company’s 2010 maintenance audit. Company’s requiring certification or re-certification will need to submit an audit to the Council for review.
Verification audits must be scheduled through the Council. Please contact us at 1-877-741-1060 and ask for a safety audit advisor to schedule or for more information.
When is the Council going to come out and do my company’s maintenance audit?
The Council will conduct onsite verification audits for a number of companies. Companies will be selected by the Council. Companies are also welcome to request an onsite verification audit.
If you are not visited by Council representatives you are required to submit an annual maintenance audit, as in previous years.
Industry Safety Alerts
Letting others in the industry know about incidents, their causes and fixes, can be of immeasurable value. You may prevent an injury by issuing an industry safety alert.
Alerts can be sent to the Council for posting on our website (email email@example.com or fax 250-741-1068) An alert template is available on the Council website: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/files/files/Forms%20and%20Templates/alerts-06-08-10-template.doc
Effective April 1st 2010, SAFE Companies verification audits can be accepted as an employer’s maintenance audit.
What this means is that when a BCFSC representative conducts a verification audit, the company will not have to compile and send in a maintenance audit for that year.
Question: It’s been more than 4 weeks and my audit has not been returned? Where is it?
Answer: Please contact the Council office if it has been 4 weeks since sending in your audit. It could be that we are missing documentation or information and need to speak with you. Please ask for a safety audit advisor at: 1-877-741-1060
New or young workers – orientation.
The Council provides a “Safety Orientation Checklist” which may be used to cover the topics needed to orient new or young workers and which meets WorkSafeBC OHSR 3.22 to 3.25.
Another format is available from the WorkSafeBC website under Publications – Title “Young Worker Orientation”.
Your company may prefer to use its own format, and that’s alright as long as the required topics are covered.
This week the audit reworks are being presented to the technical advisory committee (TAC).
Question. I'm a SEBASE company, and I just got used to the old audit. Do I have to change to the new (proposed) audit protocol?
Answer. No, you will not have to change to the new (proposed) audit protocol. Completing your next audit using the same format (or protocol) as your last audit, will allow your company to be successfully evaluated under the new protocol. We believe the new protocol will eliminate the redundancy found in the current protocol and is a familiar format, so you may want to give it a try.
Occupational First Aid Assessments
Reference: WorkSafeBC Regulation, Occupational First Aid 3.15 – 3.21
Part of pre-work assessments (SEBASE question B1) is the completion of a First Aid Assessment. An employer must conduct an assessment of the circumstances of the workplace which could impact prompt response to a worker’s injury including: the nature and extent of the risks and hazards in the workplace; barriers to first aid being provided to an injured worker; and the number of workers who may require first aid at any time.
The employer must review the assessment within 12 months after the previous assessment or review, and whenever a significant change (such as a change in work location) affecting the assessment occurs in the employer's operations.
Link to WorkSafeBC, First Aid Assessment tool:
The QA team with industry assistance is re-building audit protocols. Included is: removal of redundant questions; add-in of industry or task specific sections; and the addition of the applicable health and safety legislation for each audit question.
Question (Reference SEBASE and BASE contractor selection criteria). I do business with non-forestry related contractors. Why do they need to be SAFE certified?
Answer: The question wording is being changed to clarify that SAFE-certification (in Elements G and H) applies only to a company’s direct forestry contractors and sub-contractors. If the company does not have direct forestry contractors or sub-contractors, then those questions will be ‘Not Applicable’. All the other requirements of selecting and managing contractors (other than the requirement for SAFE-certification) are being re-worded to make them applicable to all contractors in any area, since companies are responsible for providing safety information and structure to all their contractors and sub-contractors in any industry in the province. A company is still free to set any contractual requirement for SAFE-certification outside of direct forestry contractors.
New worker orientation. One of the topics required in the orientation of workers is violence in the workplace. This is not violence between employees, but rather violence from others. The definition of violence is provided below. Reference WorkSafeBC Regulation Violence in the Workplace 4.27-4.31.
"violence" means the attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force so as to cause injury to a worker, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury.
Link to BCFSC Orientation Form: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/files/files/safety_info/Safety_Orientation_Checklist%20V1_2.pdf