Regulatory amendments to high visibility apparel, mobile equipment, and safety headgear
In April 2021, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation, which took effect on September 1, 2021. Included in these changes are amendments to the following sections:
Section 8.24: High Visibility Apparel
This section has been amended to maintain worker safety when exposed to vehicles or mobile equipment. The purpose of the amendments is to maintain worker safety by removing the reference to the WorkSafeBC standard and adopting the requirements of CSA Standard Z96-15, High-Visibility Safety Apparel for workers exposed to vehicles or mobile equipment. The amendments also incorporate permitted design modifications for certain emergency response workers.
To ensure compliance with the amended OHS Regulation, employers must confirm that the high visibility apparel they provide to workers meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z96-15.
The purpose of the amendments is to improve safety for those who operate and work around mobile equipment, and to improve clarity of the requirements for all stakeholders. All of Part 16 has been reorganized and streamlined for better flow and access to information. The provisions of Part 16 have also been modernized to meet current practices and standards.
In total, there are 63 key changes, of which 19 are new requirements. All employers who use mobile equipment need to review the revised regulatory requirements to ensure their equipment and work practices are compliant.
Section 8.11(1): Safety Headgear
These revisions were made to improve occupational health and safety requiring employers to follow the hierarchy of controls to eliminate or reduce risks. The hierarchy of controls ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection to the lowest. Under the amended requirements, employers must take measures to eliminate the risk of head injury first. If the risk cannot be eliminated, engineering controls and administrative controls must be applied before relying on safety headgear. Workers must wear safety headgear if it is not practicable to eliminate the risk of head injury, or if engineering and/or administrative controls are not adequate to reduce the risk of head injury to the lowest level.
A new OHS guideline has also been developed to provide information on identifying and controlling the risk of head injury from overhead hazards by following the hierarchy of controls. The acceptable standards for safety headgear have not changed with this amendment.
If workers cannot wear a hard hat because of religious or other reasons, employers may have to offer accommodation.