The Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OH&SR) are designed to protect workers by preventing workplace injury and disease. Teachers on call are entitled to the full protection of the act and the OH&SR. However, such rights are hollow unless they are fully exercised.

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your health & safety rights:

  • When you arrive at a school, ask for the name of the VSTA representative on the school’s health and safety committee. If you have any health and safety questions or concerns, speak with the representative.
  • Find out the name of the person who is the designated first aid attendant.
    Ensure that you have been provided with a copy of the school’s emergency plan, including routes for evacuation and assembly areas.
  • Ask if any of the students in the class you will be working with have a history of violence. If there is such a student, ask for and become familiar with the student’s safety plan.
  • Do not leave any food or drink unattended where it could be tampered with.
    If you suffer an injury at work, no matter how minor, advise the principal, vice principal, or first aid attendant immediately. Fill out a WorkSafeBC Form 6A [PDF] and make two copies. Keep one copy for yourself, send one to the VSTA office, and give the original to the principal or vice principal. See your doctor and be sure to tell the doctor that the injury happened at work. If you want advice about your claim, or if you receive a letter from WorkSafeBC denying your claim, immediately contact the WCB Advocate at BCTF, at 604-871-1890.
  • Report any incidents of violence or threats of violence to the principal or vice principal. If the incident of violence or threat of violence is directed at you, treat the incident the same way as you treat an injury at work.
  • Know that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you find yourself in any situation that you believe presents a risk of injury to yourself or any other person, remove students from the risk and advise the principal that you are refusing unsafe work. You should then contact the staff representative or VSTA health and safety representative for advice and support.
  • Ask the VSTA to arrange for a presentation of the BCTF workshop “Raising Health and Safety Awareness”, which can be presented at TOC meetings.