Return to Work

Safety Alert Type: 
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

This bulletin provides information and tools for companies and workers who are returning to worksites that have been idle due to recent labour stoppages. The information in this bulletin can also be used at any site where work has stopped for an extended period of time.

Even if you are returning to a site you have worked on before, it is important to remember that conditions and hazards may have changed, equipment may have been affected, and workers’ skills may be rusty.

Whether you are a company owner, a supervisor, an equipment operator or any other worker – take the time to make sure safety is taken care of.

Section 3.22 of the WCB Occupational Health and Safety deals with this situation:
"new worker" means any worker who is
(a)new to the workplace,
(b)returning to a workplace where the hazards in that workplace have changed during the worker's absence,
(c)affected by a change in the hazards of a workplace, or
(d)relocated to a new workplace if the hazards in that workplace are different from the hazards in the worker's previous workplace;

All owners, prime contractors, employers, supervisors, and workers have a responsibility to follow accepted safe work procedures as required by the Workers Compensation Act, the Regulation and good safety practices.

For sites that have been inactive, Supervisors have a special responsibility during a return to work period. Remember, your responsibility is to:
1.Identify hazards and evaluate the situation
2.Train the worker in safe work procedures
3.Evaluate the worker to ensure they’re qualified
4.Keep records of the orientation

For people who have been involved in BC Forest Safety Council activities, the importance of safety orientations is very familiar:
−The Safety Tool kit that all SAFE Companies registrants receive discusses conducting a safety orientation process in Chapter 8, and provides various sample forms to use.
−The SAFE Companies audit addresses safety orientations and requires all workers who have been off work for more than 6 weeks to be reoriented before starting up again.
−People who have taken the Council’s Basic Forest Supervisor training received training in initial worksite orientation needs.

WorkSafeBC has also developed a sample worker orientation checklist that you can download as a Word document and modify to suit your needs.

If workers require licensing or certification to perform their jobs (i.e. drivers, fallers, blasters etc) make sure their credentials are still in good standing and up to date.
Remember, all workers must have the knowledge, training, and experience to recognize and control all hazards. Whether workers are returning to their job or starting a new one, take the time to assess their work and make sure they’re qualified for the job they’re doing.
After a long stoppage, people may have a tough time getting back into good work habits. They may have “off site” issues on their minds. It’s critical to make sure everyone is focused on the task at hand, aware of hazards and ready to apply controls once they arrive back at work.

Even if you’re returning to a familiar location, the worksite needs to be assessed for hazards. If your company has a site inspection or hazard identification checklist, use it. If you do not have a current site inspection form, please click here to view a sample form created by the Council.
Each worker should assess hazards in their work area, evaluate the risks they present, report them to their supervisor and/or, and take steps to control them.

Equipment can also suffer from a long period of inactivity. Before beginning to use equipment each piece should be inspected.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding restarting after an inactive period. To view a sample Mobile Equipment Operator Checklist, please click here.
Each worker should also check their personal protective equipment especially carefully after a long period off. If protective equipment has not been stored correctly, it may be ineffective or malfunction when it’s needed the most

Documentation of all safety activities specific to your worksite should be accurate and meaningful.
Remember, we are collectively and individually responsible for the safety of all workers and all worksites.
The Council has a variety of forms and checklists to assist with safety at the workplace.

File attachments
2007-10-16 Return to Work.pdf
Careers | Contact Us | Top | Privacy Statement | Terms and Conditions |   YouTube  twitter  facebook
Copyright © 2006-2018 BC Forest Safety Council. All rights reserved.