Violence Prevention - The Right to Know
8.5 Access to Information
OH&SR 4.30 requires the employer to inform all workers of the nature and the extent of the risk of violence. The duty to inform includes a duty to provide information related to the risk of violence from persons who have a history of violent behaviour and whom workers are likely to encounter in the course of their work. This information must be provided to workers prior to their exposure to the risk. The employer must also instruct workers on
- how to recognize the potential for violence
- the procedures, policies, and work environment
- arrangements which have been developed
- the appropriate responses to incidents of violence, including how to obtain assistance
- the procedures for reporting, investigating, and documenting incidents of violence
Members are often told that they cannot be informed about a student’s violent history as it would violate the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP), the School Act, or the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This is not correct. Members are entitled to know the nature and the extent of any risk of violence to which they are exposed. The Acts and OH&SR work in concert with the other legislation or parallel to it.
Section 25 of FOIPOP provides that whether or not a request for access has been made, the school board must, without delay, disclose to the public, to an affected group of people, or to an applicant, information about a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health and safety of the public or a group of people or when disclosure is for any other reason clearly in the public interest. Note that prior to releasing the information, the school board, if practicable, must notify the party to whom the information pertains and the Privacy Commissioner. Anyone who receives information under this section is bound by the same privacy laws. Additionally, Section 22(4) states that a disclosure of personal information is not an unreasonable invasion of a third person’s privacy if there are compelling circumstances affecting anyone’s health and safety.
Privacy provisions under the School Act are superseded by the provisions of FOIPOP. Section 125 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act allows the disclosure of information in court records and police records if the disclosure is necessary to ensure the safety of staff, students or other persons. Such information must be kept separate from other records of the student, must not be accessible to any person for whom the disclosure is not necessary, and must be destroyed when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it is disclosed.
There is no barrier to providing members with information that a particular student poses a safety risk. In fact, there is a duty for a school board with information about a student who poses a risk of violence to members to disclose the identity of the student, as well as the nature and extent of the risk of violence.
Members who are being denied information should involve a WorkSafeBC officer or file and application under FOIPOP for the information after seeking the advice of the local.
Compensation if injured?
If you suffer an occupational injury, report it immediately to your supervisor, usually the vice-principal in charge of health and safety, by completing a WorkSafeBC Form 6A: “WORKER’S REPORT OF INJURY OR OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE TO EMPLOYER”. The injury should also be reported to the site-based Occupational First Aid Attendant prior to leaving the workplace. The first aid book should be completed by the First attendant as per OH&S regulation 3.19. If an initial injury is not immediately reported to WorkSafeBC, the employee will lose entitlement to WCB coverage.
The forms are available at the school or can be downloaded here. On both pages of the Form 6A write the following: “The worker requests a copy of the employer’s report be sent to the Workers’ Compensation Board.” This note is necessary because many school boards, including the VSB, do not forward accident reports unless the employee takes time off work as a result of the accident. You should also make a copy of the Form 6A and forward it to the VSTA office and keep a copy for yourself. If the VSTA is not aware of the injury report, we cannot effectively advocate on your behalf if that becomes necessary.
In addition, you must also complete the WorkSafeBC Form 6: APPLICATION FOR COMPENSATION AND REPORT OF INJURY OR OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE”. Form 6 can be completed online through Teleclaim (see below).
WorkSafeBC - Teleclaim
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday
1 888 WORKERS, 1 888 967 5377
or #5377 Telus (Rogers & Bell Mobility)
WorkSafeBC has a new claim process (Teleclaim) designed to improve service for workers and employers. The Federation is advising members to use the service, if possible.
The service is now available in all areas of the province.
The Teleclaim process is designed to replace Form 6, which is a worker’s application for compensation when a worker is injured and requires time off work beyond the date of injury.
Use of the Teleclaim system is designed to expedite “action requests.” This cuts the amount of time considerably compared to receiving the form and mailing it back using regular mail.
The telephone interview takes up to an hour and the office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In many instances, if you are home from work, you would have the opportunity to take that hour to make the report. In other situations, such as hospitalization, it would not be possible.
Use of Teleclaim to report an injury does not replace the Form 6A: ”WORKER’S REPORT OF INJURY OR OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE TO EMPLOYER.” A teacher is still obliged to complete this form and give it to an employer representative. This form is available online at WorkSafeBC.com. You must complete Form 6 and 6A.
Use of the Teleclaim system avoids claim suppression on the part of employers. Some employers still allow a Form 6A report to sit on the side of a desk and not deal with it. Law states that an employer must submit a Form 7 “EMPLOYERS REPORT OF INJURY TO WCB” within 72 hours. In the event that this does not happen, the Teleclaim process alerts WorkSafeBC to the incident immediately.
For a graphic description of how WCB claims are filed for BCTF members, click here.
Reporting Indoor Air Quality Concerns
What to do when your room is too hot or too cold.
- Fill out the Hazard Reporting Form on the VSB HUB (Employee Services>Forms and Incident Reporting>Report a Hazard)
- Select your school/worksite location *Your School
- Enter the location of the hazard (e.g. boys bathroom, 2nd floor) *Your room number
- Enter your Supervisor/Administrator’s email address (Your Supervisor/Administrator will receive a copy of this report). *email@example.com
- Enter a description of the hazard. (Include as much detail as possible). *The temperature in the room; time or times it was taken
- Rate the seriousness of this hazard. (Consider the probability of a person hurting themselves due to this hazard if it is not dealt with immediately.)
- High Risk – This needs to be dealt with immediately
- Did you or anyone else get hurt due to this hazard? *Should be “No” at this point
- Report the same information to your principal and to the school health and safety rep. The hazard should be discussed at the site-based joint occupational health and safety committee (JOHSC).
- Document the response and steps taken by the principal.
- If the issue is not resolved, then a health and safety rep or a member of the site-based JOHSC can contact WorkSafeBC Prevention Information Line: 1.888.621.SAFE
- Complete the VSTA Indoor Air Quality survey: https://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/f/s.aspx?s=33e7d49e-ae4b-4536-afc6-28b6f6cba6e7
Heat Stress Sick Days
If you need to take sick days because of the classroom temperature’s impact on your health, please follow the WorkSafeBC Teleclaim procedure on this page.
Here are the acceptable temperature ranges according to WorkSafe BC’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Index.
Hierarchy of controls for heat stress
The most effective way to reduce the risk of heat stress is to eliminate the source of exposure. If that’s not possible, there are other risk controls to use.
- Elimination or substitution – Eliminating the hazard by substituting a safer process or material, where possible, is the most effective control. A question to consider:
- Can the job be done in a cooler environment?
- Engineering controls – Making physical modifications to facilities, equipment and processes can reduce exposure. Some questions to consider:
- Can ventilation be improved?
- Can hot surfaces be insulated or covered to reduce radiant heat?
- Can shields and barriers be installed to protect workers from heat?
- Can humidity be reduced?
- Administrative controls – Changing work practices and work policies, awareness tools, and training can limit the risk of heat stress. Some questions to consider:
- Can warning signs be posted in the work area?
- Can cool-down rooms be provided?
- Can workers be acclimated to heat?
- Can water be provided?
- Personal protective equipment – This is the least effective control. It must always be used in addition to at least one other control. Some questions to consider:
- Has personal protective equipment been tested to make sure it is working properly?