First aid forms an integral part of a robust workplace health and safety program. WorkSafeBC is requesting feedback on proposed amendments to Part 3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, which sets out the minimum occupational first aid requirements for workplaces in British Columbia. Since the current requirements were introduced, there have been improvements in both first aid training and equipment, as well as the release of two Standards by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). These Standards provide national guidance on first aid training programs and first aid supplies. As such, the purpose of the proposed amendments is to review and update the first aid requirements, with an emphasis on high risk, remote industries, and to harmonize the Regulation with the first aid training and first aid provision national framework, set out by the CSA.
We have summarized the key information and changes put forward in the proposed amendments, below:
- The hazard rating for a workplace is low, moderate or high, according to the official WorkSafeBC classification. Your hazard rating determines the minimum first aid requirements and if you don’t know what your hazard rating is, you can find it here.
- The basic requirements for first aid have been revised to require employers to complete a written assessment of the specific circumstances in the workplace to determine the appropriate level of first aid equipment, supplies, facilities, first aid attendants and services. Employers are required to review and update the written assessment within 12 months and whenever a significant change occurs, which affects the assessment. In addition to the requirement for the first aid assessment to be documented, the following information must also be considered:
- the location of workers at any time; and
- the methods of transportation available.
- A new section requires employers to provide emergency transportation for an injured worker from a workplace to a qualifying hospital, if an ambulance cannot safely reach the workplace within 30 minutes in the following situations:
- a shift of 20 or more workers if the workplace has a low hazard rating;
- a shift of 10 or more workers if the workplace has a moderate hazard rating; and
- a shift of 6 or more workers if the workplace has a high hazard rating.
- The emergency transportation provided must meet several specific requirements and examples of emergency transportation include an emergency transportation vehicle (ETV), industrial ambulance, mobile treatment centre (MTC), helicopter and other forms of water or air transportation.
- Proposed changes to the minimum first aid attendants and facilities required for a workplace, based on the number of workers per shift and the hazard rating of the workplace can be found in Table 3-1 and Table 3-2.
- The required certification for first aid attendants has been updated from a level 1, 2 and 3 certificate to a basic, intermediate and advanced certificate to match the terminology of the CSA. During the transition, if the amendments are approved, existing level 1, 2 or 3 certificates would be viewed as corresponding basic, intermediate or advanced certificates, respectively, until their expiry date.
- Employers are required to maintain up to date written procedures for providing first aid in the workplace. Under the proposed amendments, the written procedures will be expanded to include the following information:
- how an injured worker will be accessed and moved; and
- if emergency transportation is required, the location and method of emergency transportation.
- A further proposed section will require employers to ensure that first aid drills are conducted at least annually and whenever there is a change to the written procedures. The drill is intended to test the written procedures and ensure workers, first aid attendants and any other person authorized to call for the transportation of injured workers are capable of fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.
The consultation phase, which ends on October 8, provides stakeholders with an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes before they are finalized and taken to public hearing.