Memorial Ceremony 2023 to Honour Farmworkers

Memorial Ceremony 2023 to Honour Farmworkers

Kerry Hall No Comments


On March 7, 2007 Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sukhvinder Kaur Punia, and Sarabjit Kaur Sidhu were killed while being transported to their worksite as farmworkers in an overloaded passenger van alongside 11 fellow workers. An annual ceremony will be held this Sunday, March 5, 2023 at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. The ceremony, attended by the families of the three workers, will honour their lives, and the lives and labour of all farmworkers in recognition of their ongoing efforts for dignity and safety at work.

The event program will end with a moment of silence and a candlelit procession to the Golden Tree memorial. All are welcome to attend.


Sunday, March 5, 2023 - 12:30 to 14:00


Matsqui Centennial Auditorium
32315 South Fraser Way

Webinar – Impacts of Mental Health Since COVID: Reflect, Rally and Respond

Kerry Hall No Comments

Did you know that October is Mental Health Awareness month?

Come join us for our mental health webinar!  In 2020, our first webinar explored self-care during COVID.  In this webinar, we’ll explore the impacts of mental health in the workplace, since COVID.

Description: Each year in Canada, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem. Over a lifetime that number increases to a staggering 1 in 3. The impact on our economy is a cost of more than $51 billion.

The objective of this webinar is to look at

  • some psychosocial risk factors and how they impact the workplace
  • warning signs of a psychologically unsafe workplace
  • tools to help support workers individually and collectively

When: Monday October 31, 2022, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Pacific (One hour webinar followed by 30 minute Q&A)

Cost: Free with mandatory pre-registration

Platform: Zoom.  We recommend downloading the Zoom app or the Zoom client here.  If you’re unfamiliar with Zoom webinar functions, please review the Attending Webinars section here.

Registration Link:

Changes coming to the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work for Provincially regulated jurisdictions

Kerry Hall No Comments

Changes are coming in August to the right to refuse unsafe work

Workers have the right to refuse work that would “create an undue hazard to the health and safety of any person”. When a worker exercises this right it helps identify hazards and keep workplaces safer for all.

Starting August 22, 2022, WorkSafeBC will be implementing amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety regulations that create an entire new section (3.12.1). This section makes important changes to the process, including what employers can and can’t do after a refusal takes place.

Starting August employers must ensure a subsequent worker is advised in writing (an email or text, for example) of any unresolved work refusal made in relation to assigned work.

Reassignment of refused work (Entire section is new)

3.12.1 (1) If a worker refuses work under section 3.12, the employer must not require or permit another worker to do the refused work unless

(a) the matter has been resolved under section 3.12 (3), (4) or (5), or

(b) the employer has, in writing, advised the other worker and a person referred to in section 3.12 (4)(a), (b) or (c) of all of the following:

(i) the refusal;

(ii) the unsafe condition reported under section 3.12 (2);

(iii) the reasons why the task would not create an undue hazard to the health and safety of the other worker or any other person;

(iv) the right of the other worker under section 3.12 to refuse unsafe work.




Webinar – Women’s Health & Safety in the Workplace 

Kerry Hall No Comments

This International Women’s Day (March 8, 2022) the BCFED Health & Safety Centre is bringing together an action-focused webinar to share knowledge, skills and tools for addressing women’s health and safety in the workplace.

Join us on International Women’s Day and build your capacity to identify and address gender-based inequities in health and safety and learn how they impact women at work.

When: Tuesday, March 8th 12-1:30 PST (One hour webinar followed by 30 minute Q&A)

Cost: Free with mandatory pre-registration

Description: All workers face health and safety issues at work - injuries, workplace hazards, diseases, and stress. Many of these issues have a gender dimension and affect women in particular ways. This webinar will give an overview of the challenges women face in the workplace and ways to take action that address ongoing inequities.

  • Understand gender-based inequities in health & safety and how they impact women
  • Discuss workplace hazards that put women at risk to their physical and psychological health and safety
  • Explore actions that webinar participants can take to address inequities

Registration Link:

COVID-19 Resource Bulletin

Ingrid Ericson No Comments

These are turbulent times yet one unwavering constant is a worker’s right to a safe workplace. We’ve compiled a  Resource Bulletin for those who want to know how their health & safety rights continue to protect workers in British Columbia. Please share widely and contact the BCFED Health and Safety Centre if you have any concerns.

New Sections to the WCB Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Three new sections to the WCB Occupational Health and Safety Regulation went into effect April 3, 2017:

Section 3.26: Requires an annual evaluation to measure the effectiveness of joint committees.

Section 3.27: Establishes the mandatory minimum training and education for joint committee members and worker health and safety representatives. (*This is in addition to the annual eight-hour education entitlement for OHS Committee members in Section 135 of the Workers Compensation Act)

Section 3.28: Clarifies the meaning of “participation” in section 174 of the Workers Compensation Act by providing three additional examples of participation by worker and employer representatives in a workplace incident investigation.

The BCFED Health & Safety Centre has revised our current suite of OHS Committee education courses to reflect and comply with these important changes.


OHS Committee Part 1 (Fundamentals) - Complies with mandatory training outcomes in section 3.27, sub-section 4) (a-f)

OHS Committee Part 2 – Hazard Identification, Assessment & Control Principles, Understanding OH&S Legislation & OH&S Programs

Improving Committee Effectiveness – Assisting workplace parties with performing the mandatory written evaluation as per 3.26

Incident Investigations - Provides the skills for workplace parties to effectively participate in Investigations as per 3.28

As part of our new Building Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Programming, this year we are offering a new eight-hour course:

Mental Health and the CSA Health Standard

BCFED Health & Safety Centre is available to help your workplace comply with these new amendments. We are the largest training provider of Joint Occupational Health & Safety education in BC. Since 2001 the Centre has developed training by utilizing adult-oriented learning techniques aimed at preparing workplace parties to play a proactive role in the prevention of injuries and diseases.

With over 350 scheduled courses in 37 locations all across BC, our training should be available at a time and place convenient for you.  However, with a minimum guarantee of 10 participants, we can also provide in-house courses just for your workplace.

Please contact us for more information.

Download our flyer:


Occupational Health & Safety for Federally Regulated Workplaces

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

In the coming months, the BCFED Health & Safety Centre will be offering many of our most popular eight-hour Health & Safety Education courses developed specifically for federally regulated workplaces throughout BC.

Al Bieksa Speaks at the Vancouver Island Safety Conference

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Al Bieksa from the BCFED Health & Safety Centre spoke about the importance of building psychologically healthy workplaces at this year's Vancouver Island Safety Conference.

To see the full story, see page 5 of the Vancouver Island Safety Conference Summary:


Farmworkers Candlelight Vigil

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Farmworkers Candlelight Vigil Sunday, March 5, 2017 1:30 pm Matsqui Centennial Auditorium 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford



Westray Mine Explosion 25th Anniversary – Listen to the CBC Radio Interview from 2012

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Listen to the CBC radio interview with USW Health & Safety activists Andy King and Nancy Hutchison which was aired on May 6, 2012 on the ‘Sunday Edition’ with Michael Enright.


CBC News Reports: Full asbestos ban, changed codes and regulations expected by 2018

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Government to prohibit asbestos in new construction and renovations, ban it in imports such as brake pads

By 2018, the federal government hopes to ban asbestos in Canada and change rules and regulations about the deadly material, which contaminates tens of thousands homes and buildings across the country and kills thousands every year.

Asbestos, a known carcinogen, has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in some 50 countries around the world.

With this announcement, Canada is committing to its own comprehensive ban — which is supposed to be fulfilled by 2018 — of a product that many Canadians believe was outlawed years ago.

"Today I am pleased to announce our government is taking the first step to ban asbestos," Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said at a news conference at the Ottawa Hospital's General campus on Thursday morning.

"We are taking action that is long overdue, and we are doing it in the best possible way," said Health Minister Jane Philpott, referring to the action being taken as a "cross-government approach."


CBC NEWS Reports: Transit union says gun pulled on striking Kelowna bus driver

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

The union representing striking transit workers in the Central Okanagan says a man pulled a gun on a striking bus driver outside Kelowna's Orchard Park Mall on Monday morning. It's not clear if the weapon was real or fake.

The incident was reported to have happened just before 11 a.m. PT Monday as transit workers picketed at a mall bus stop.

Bus drivers said the man screamed at the picketers to get back to work. He then allegedly pulled out the weapon, pointed it at a driver and sped away on a bike. No one was injured.

"It's unbelievable. I'm still processing this," said Scott Lovell, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1722.

"We are exercising our rights as Canadians to picket in a public place and to have someone come by and pull a weapon on one of our picketers? This is Canada, right?"




Fine a slap on the wrist for employer whose negligence caused death of young worker

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Vancouver - A recent court ruling in a case of criminal negligence in the tragic workplace death of a young Mission-area worker is a slap on the wrist for the employer whose failure to provide basic safety training caused the tragedy.

Kelsey Ann Kristian died after working just two days at a quarry in Stave Lake. On her second day on-the-job, she was allowed to operate a 31,000 kg heavy duty truck to haul rocks with no training or supervision. She was crushed when the truck rolled downhill and flipped. Kristian hadn’t been trained in proper braking procedures.

(Read Full Article)


Retired B.C. firefighter shares his battle with PTSD

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Excellent article in the Penticton Western News on PTSD and mental injury in the workplace. Legislative changes cannot happen soon enough:

Patrick Hampson could only stare death in the face so many times along the “killer highway” before it left him as twisted inside as the wreckage in front of him.

The former mayor of Oliver struggled as he recalled the vivid memory of a single-vehicle rollover on the Sea to Sky Highway that occurred while he was the fire chief in Squamish

“Just as I was taking his pulse … he died. After that I felt guilty for what I had thought, which was ‘thank God it’s not my daughter, it’s some other poor bastard,’” he said. “That’s when I started to realize I was having some trouble with this thing.”




BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

According to the Prince George Now -  RCMP are investigating an accident which claimed the life of a traffic control worker in the Hart.

A female traffic controller with the Guardian Angels Traffic Service was struck and killed by a CN Rail Truck at the intersection of Austin Road and Highway 97. The construction site was a City of Prince George project with multiple contractors on site.


Witness and traffic controller on a nearby site, Della Maier says it happened at about 6:20 this morning, “and we would like to extend our condolences to her family either in or outside Prince George.”

Maier adds these are the consequences when people don’t care enough to slow down.

Scott McCloy with WorkSafeBC says RCMP remains in charge of the investigation.

“We at WorkSafeBC standby ready to assume responsibility at the time the RCMP concludes its investigation, which is really up to them.”

McCloy says this is the second traffic control person to be killed in five years. There have been 56 injuries in BC.

Workers on site have been offered counselling services.


Proposed Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Regarding Joint Committees – Your input is needed.

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

On July 28th BC WCB announced Public Hearings for changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Regulation including proposed changes regarding Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees.

These changes stem from the Coroner's recommendations following the Lakeland & Burns Lake tragedies that injured over 40 workers and took the lives of Glenn Roche and Alan Little (2012 Prince George mill explosion) and Carl Charlie and Robert Luggi (2012 Burns Lake mill explosion)GCL_2700_adjust 2

In June of this year the OH&S Centre sent out an email urging you to consider taking part in a BC WCB online questionnaire on this topic.  These upcoming public hearings are the second phase of this process that will hopefully result in these proposed regulation changes taking effect. 

These are extremely important improvements for Joint Committees.  It is likely that some groups will be lobbying against them or trying to water them down.   

Your perspective as a member of a Joint Committee is extremely valuable in this process.  

The Sections of most impact are as follows:
As the largest provider of OH&S Committee education in British Columbia, the BCFED Health & Safety Centre believes the above changes are positive.  While they are not perfect, they will assist workplace parties in improving occupational health and safety.

Please consider making a written or oral submission at these upcoming hearings and be part of the changes that can contribute to preventing these needless tragedies that have necessitated them.  

You can make a submission online or in person.

Online submission deadline is 4:30 pm on Friday, October 7, 2016.

If wanting to provide a submission in person you must register for one of the sessions below by calling 604.232.7744 or toll free in BC at 1.866.614.7744.  Hearings are scheduled for September and October 2016.

Schedule for hearings:

September 21, 2016 Victoria Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina - 146 Kingston Street

September 27, 2016 Kelowna Best Western Hotel - 2402 Highway 97 North

September 27, 2016 Cranbrook -  Via video conference - Community Futures - 110A Slater Road NW

October 4, 2016 Prince George - Ramada Prince George - 444 George Street

October 6, 2016 Richmond - Executive Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre - 7311 Westminster Highway

Session Times: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

If wanting to provide a submission in person you must register for one of the sessions below by calling 604.232.7744 or toll free in BC at 1.866.614.7744.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Gord Lechner

Director - BCFED Health & Safety Centre


CBC Reports: East Vancouver film set crash sends cameraman to hospital

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

According to CBC News:  A camera operator is in hospital after being struck by an SUV on a film set in East Vancouver early Wednesday morning.

The crash happened around 12:30 a.m. near East Broadway and Guelph Street, on the set of a TV series code-named 'Opus,' according to a crew member on set.

The crew member told CBC News that a stunt driver in an SUV collided with a camera operator in the middle of filming a scene.

Paramedics were called in, and filming was cancelled for the evening.

In a statement, Vancouver Police Const. Brian Montague said the 55-year-old man was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Vancouver Police collision analysts and Worksafe B.C. personnel are currently investigating the crash.



These workers claimed their workplace was unsafe. Then their employer fired them.

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

According to Bob Barnetson's Rabble Blog, in 2014, there were over 50,000 serious injuries in British Columbia. Yet very few workers refuse unsafe work. The experiences of Julio Serrano and David Britton help us understand why workers are reluctant to exercise their safety rights.

Serrano was a crane operator working on the tunnel portion of Evergreen Line tunnel in Port Moody, B.C. The limit switch on his crane -- a safety device that activated the crane's brakes in certain circumstances -- had been acting up for months. Instead of fixing it, the employer removed the safety device, thereby endangering the operator and workers on the ground.

On December 2, 2014, Serrano flagged the missing limit switch as a serious hazard and violation of B.C. health and safety laws. The employer directed Serrano to operate the crane. Serrano refused and called WorkSafeBC. Serrano had previously survived a potentially fatal injury on the same job site caused by poor maintenance of equipment.

The resulting inspection saw the crane put out of operation until the limit switch was replaced. Shortly after the crane was fixed, an additional operator was hired and Serrano was laid off. Serrano asserts the layoff was in retaliation for making numerous health and safety complaints. The employer (SNC-Lavalin) asserts the layoff was due to lack of work.



Young Worker killed in tragic lawnmower incident in Surrey

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

Our condolences to all friends and family.

The Surrey North Delta Leader Reports a 20-year-old man was killed while cutting grass last Friday in Glenwood Park.

At about 8:30 a.m. on July 29, the maintenance worker, who was cutting the grass in the Fraser Heights park, became trapped beneath the commercial lawnmower he was riding after it rolled into a pond.

RCMP have released few details, however witnesses say a co-worker and bystander helped lift the mower off the victim and performed CPR until emergency responders arrived.

It is unclear how long the man was trapped in the water or what caused the accident.

The victim died in hospital.


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Surrey OH&S Committee, Supervisor & Return to Work October 4th – 14th

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments


11 Courses offered over 10 days – October 4th to 14th

at St. John Ambulance - 8911 152 Street, Surrey, BC.

(Click any course for more info)

Occupational Health & Safety Part 1 - Tuesday, October 4th

Occupational Health & Safety Part 2 - Wednesday, October 5th

Preventing Workplace Stress - Wednesday, October 5th

Improving Committee Effectiveness - Thursday, October 6th

Incident Investigations - Thursday, October 6th

Strains, Aches & Pains (Ergonomics) - Friday, October 7th

Improving Return to Work Outcomes - Wednesday, October 12th

Supervisor OH&S Responsibilities Part 1 - Wednesday, October 12th

Supervisor OH&S Responsibilities Part 2 - Thursday, October 13th

Understanding & Conducting Risk Assessments - Thursday, October 13th

Workplace Bullying & Harassment - Friday, October 14th

For more information contact the BCFED Health & Safety Centre





Worker seriously injured because of lack of Safe Work Procedure and insufficient supervision:

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

The Prince George Citizen reports: "Chipper still moving when worker injured, WorkSafeBC finds"

A Brink Forest Products Ltd. employee who was seriously injured while preparing to change the knife assemblies on a wood waste chipper was carrying out the work while the machine was still moving, according to a WorkSafeBC incident investigation report.

The report, which stems from a November 2014 incident, said the worker was on the day shift but was part of the crew that reported to work earlier in order to change the blades, which is done prior to every shift.

According to evidence deduced by the WorkSafeBC investigator, he turned off the chipper disconnect and entered the chipper room while the machine's disc was still rotating.

To reach the knife assemblies, secured on a 48-inch disc that turns on a shaft supported by external bearings located on both sides of the chipper frame, he removed the two bolts fastening the protective shroud to the machine frame.

"The metal hinge securing the bottom of the shroud to the chipper frame was able to move from side to side about 1.27 centimetres," the report said. "Once the two bolts were removed, the vibration of the chipper caused the shroud to move sideways, enough for the knife assemblies and then the fins to contact the rotating disc. The transfer of energy from the rotating disc to the shroud caused the shroud to open with considerable force and a loud bang [striking and seriously injuring the worker.]"




BCFED Health & Safety Centre Migrant Worker Program

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

It is estimated that there is now 70,000 people working under the Temporary Foreign Worker program here in British Columbia with an additional estimated 6,000 labouring under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. Many of these workers experience exploitative conditions and exposures to a great number of occupational hazards without proper education or training in dealing with them. As such, the BCFED Health and Safety Centre have a designated program to try and empower and protect these most marginalized of workers in our province.

Through the delivery of customized workshops and educational sessions in the workers first language, Migrant Worker participants learn about their legal protections, rights and responsibilities, hazard identification and the workers compensation system. As with all of the Health and Safety Centre’s materials, the workshops are based on the principles of popular education that encourages their participation and taking into account that many participants have likely been out of the formal education system for a longtime and may have literacy barriers in their first languages as well.

The BCFED Health and Safety Centre is proud to deliver these workshops and educational opportunities to hundreds of Migrant Workers every year, but unfortunately we are only scratching the surface of the potential number of workers that we need to be talking to. These workers are often doing very dangerous and dirty work to put food onto our tables, provide services for our families and support our provincial economy in many untold ways. These workers need a stronger voice in health and safety, we all need to work harder to make sure these Migrant Workers are heard and protected on the job. We believe as an organization if you are good enough to work here, you are good enough to live here. And as such all the same laws and protections afforded to Canadian workers need to apply to those ‘guest’ workers.

If you would like to learn more about this program or volunteer to participate please contact the BCFED Health and Safety Centre.



Continental Pipeline fined $150,000 by WorkSafeBC after dozer accident

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

According to EnergeticCity Fort St. John, a now-defunct Continental Pipeline and Facility has been served with a $150,000 fine by WorksafeBC after an incident that the board called a “high-risk violation.”

The incident in question happened on December 1st last year at a job site approximately 50 kilometres near of Pink Mountain off the Jedney Road when a Continental employee was pinned between the tracks and frame of bulldozer. While guiding a tanker-trailer combo down a 20 percent grade hill with a bulldozer, the worker attempted to exit the dozer, at which point he became trapped.


Migrant Worker Health Fair a Resounding Success!

BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

On Sunday July 17th 2016 The BCFED Health and Safety Centre had the privilege of participating in the Migrant Worker Health Fair held in Ladner at the Ladner Baptist Church.  Well over 100 Migrant Farm Workers from surrounding farms and greenhouses attended and participated in the events in collaboration with WATARI, Agricultural Workers Alliance and various other groups and organizations.  Participants received health and safety presentations, haircuts, message, acupuncture, food, music as well as workshops on bicycle repair.  Thank you to all the volunteers and organizations that made this event such a resounding success.

Brian Campbell, BCFED Health & Safety Centre



BCFED Health and Safety Centre No Comments

A Prince George Now articles states:

The provincial government says it’s making progress toward ensuring a disaster like the Mt. Polley tailings pond breach never happens in BC again.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines announced changes to the Mining Code, based on seven recommendations made by an expert panel in the wake of the Mount Polley tailings pond breach.

Minister of Mines Bill Bennett says the new standards put BC at the top of the heap for safety when it comes to tailings storage facilities (TSF).

“These changes ensure that the mining code now includes design standards for TSFs that are tailored to the particular conditions that are encountered in BC. The changes for TSFs and dam safety emphasize the protection of the public and the environment.”




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