In early 2017, the BCMSA joined a working group to provide feedback on the key issues the water sector faces in complying with Part 9 of the WorkSafeBC (WSBC) regulations regarding confined spaces. The group was comprised of a wide cross-section of the water sector, including representatives from the BC Water and Wastewater Association (BCWWA), municipalities, consulting firms, contractors, and the federal government.
The working group unanimously agrees that worker safety is a primary concern in their respective organizations and should remain the primary focus of safety regulations for confined spaces. In fact, many organizations in the water sector have been proactive in creating robust safety programs and incorporating safety into the design of their infrastructure.
In a workshop hosted by Metro Vancouver in October 2017, the working group documented the common issues and impacts the current WSBC confined spaces regulations have on the sector. Following the workshop, the results of the consultation were presented at industry conferences for feedback, and a portion of the working group reviewed the resulting document into late 2018. In spring 2019, the Issues document was finalized and contained the following three key findings:
- Part 9 of the current WSBC regulations presents a considerable burden to the water sector and does not improve worker safety in many situations.
- A risk-based approach to future regulation would provide workers with the structure to make good safety-focused decisions and address many of the compliance issues identified by the water sector.
- The water sector is a large and unique stakeholder group that would benefit from specific consideration within Part 9 of the WSBC regulations.
WorkSafeBC is has now entered the pre-consultation phase of the regulation update, when information is being gathered help put together draft changes. This is the time when individuals and organizations can provide their personal experiences to WorkSafeBC as a means to inform those changes. BCWWA, on behalf of the working group, has submitted the Issues document to WorkSafeBC for consideration during the pre-consultation phase.
How you can be involved
Contributions from organizations and individuals working in the industry hold weight. If you are interested in contributing information to the pre-consultation phase, you can do so by emailing the task force directly: firstname.lastname@example.org (use ‘Attention: Josephine Rekart’ in the body of the submission).
The Issues document was intended to be used as a tool by others in the industry as they formulate their own feedback on the regulation. Please feel free to pull content directly from the Issues document and enhance with your own organization’s examples and experience.
Public Consultation Phase
Public consultation phase occurs once the Prevention Practices & Quality Division of WorkSafeBC has crafted a draft document. This is another important time for individuals and organizations to provide feedback, however the focus is more on HOW the regulation is written as opposed to WHAT the regulation will focus on.
How you can be involved
Once again, contributions from organizations and individual hold weight. Watch for more information coming soon from WorkSafeBC about the public consultation process and opportunities to participate. The BCWWA will also do our best to provide regular updates on the process to our members through email, web, and social media. Let’s not miss this opportunity to help shape future regulation that will directly impact our industry and the safety of those who work within it.
Questions? Email us at email@example.com.