Central Interior Logging Association
Changes were made to the Occupational Health and Safety regulations recently, clarifying WorkSafeBC’s definition of resource roads, as NOT being deemed to be a multiple-employer workplace.
This distinction paves the way for the introduction and implementation of the Natural Resource Road Act, which is currently in draft form, awaiting passing of the enabling legislative framework. The Natural Resource Road Act will include road safety management, engineering, construction and enforcement components that will apply to all road users.
CILA has been working on this legislation and dealing with WorkSafe’s campaign to declare Resource Roads a workplace, and thereby impose a set of onerous regulations that would be impossible to comply to, for several years, along with all the other logging associations, and other natural resource sector associations, through the Industry Working Group.
The resource sector and other commercial users of resource roads (eg: tourism, guide-outfitting, ranchers, etc) have been working together for going on two years to find a consistent, cross-sector approach to managing resource roads. The priority issue is, of course, safety, so the OHS change does not at all reflect a lessening of the duty of care or diligence for employers using resource roads. Rather, it clarifies authority and responsibility, and for the first time, eliminates some of the confusion and cross-jursidictional issues.
The Ministry of Forests release is very clear:
“An amendment to the occupational health and safety regulation under the Workers’ Compensation Act stipulates that resource roads are not classed as a workplace, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
“The amendment clarifies that while resource roads themselves are not considered a workplace, any portion under construction, maintenance or repair is deemed a workplace and governed by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Industrial or commercial vehicles travelling on resource roads are also governed by the act, but the road itself is not considered a workplace.
“Resource roads typically are constructed, maintained and used by logging companies and other industrial users. They are also used by the public travelling to remote communities, as well as recreational and backcountry destinations.
“Safety on resource roads is everyone’s responsibility. companies are expected to supervise and monitor their workers.”