Your Occupational Health and Safety Committee is in place to help protect the Members of CUPE 1767. The Health and Safety of our Members is a top priority. Every Member in our Local has the right to a safe workplace. We must protect this right.
A safe workplace means different things to different people and people have different perceptions as to what a safe workplace is. To some it may mean breathing clean air, having a comfortable and ergonomically correct workstation, having the snow removed from the office parking lot, having enough field workers to do the job, not having to put up with any verbal abuse from an untrusting, unprofessional/incompetent manager, and the list can go on and on. Each of the above items are all serious concerns, plus the lists could expand to hundreds more, and each are Health and Safety concerns that must be dealt with and will not be tolerated by this Committee or this Local.
Over the years, CUPE has helped strengthen the Health & Safety laws in BC. We have all heard about the degradation of government services over the past several years, however, most of us have not experienced these unnecessary service cuts. Not until you experience some of these barbaric cuts, or have a family member needing services that are no longer available or are only available at horrendous cost, will you really know what has happened to your services over the past several years. It is a sad state of affairs. We must speak out and against any government, including the BC Liberals, regarding any threats of changes to WCB Regulations and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and any other cuts to our workforces or services. We must all protect the gains we have made in creating a healthier and safer workplace for now and for the future.
The OH&S Committee is also part of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. There are two CUPE 1767 Representatives on this Committee along with two non-union representatives from the employer. The union representatives for 2004-2005 are Wendy Hayer from the Vancouver office and Stan Brost from the Nelson/Trail office. (Robert Low from the Peace River office replaced Wendy Hayer after the 2006 AGM, and Wendy Hayer returned, as Chair, after Stan became Vice-President in March 2007.) Members of the JOH&S Committee are always available to discuss any health and/or safety concern from any employee of BC Assessment Authority. This Committee is required by law and meets several times throughout the year. Besides face-to-face meetings, this Committee communicates by various electronic means in order to deal with issues expediently and cost-effectively.
As stated in Section 9 of our Collective Agreement, “The Authority and its employees acknowledges the mutual benefit to be derived from joint consultation and its value in maintaining and improving service to the public and agree therefore to consult and act on matters of the common interest, as appropriate, when requested by either party.”
Local Office Safety Committees
Along with the OH&S Committee and the JOH&S Committee, there are Local Office Safety Committees in each office. These front line committees consist of one Union Representative (usually the Area Rep) and one manager from the non-union ranks. This Committee is required to meet monthly as dictated by law in Division 4 of the WCB Regulations. WCB has allowed our employer a variation in the number of members required on the Local Office Safety Committee. WCB Regulations states that, for offices over 20 people, a 4 person Committee is required. Due to the active involvement of the JOH&S Committee, a variation has been given requiring only 2 people on the Local Office Safety Committee providing that all offices participate. Offices that do not participate in holding monthly meetings and posting the Local Office Safety Meetings Minutes may require WCB to re-examine and remove their variation given to BC Assessment. The minutes from these meetings are reviewed by the JOH&S Committee.
The JOH&S Committee is proud of their accomplishments over the years that have lead the employer in establishing a Non-Smoking Workplace (one of the first in the Province), Flu Shot Program (funded by the employer), Evacuation Procedures, Ergonomic training (Handheld and Workstation), Violence Prevention training, Violent Prevention Policy, First Aid Policy, employer purchase of health and safety videos, and on-going risk assessment (just to name a few).
Originals of the following articles (copied with permission) may be viewed on the BC Assessment Employee Portal:
Items of concerns from the Membership are usually fed back to this Committee by completing the appropriate form. There is a form for reporting any health and safety concern called the Local Safety Return and another for reporting any and all violent incidents called the Violent Incident Report. These forms are located in the Forms section of this website or the BC Assessment Employee Portal and are also available from your Area Rep.
The Local Safety Return is the means of communicating a concern to the JOH&S Committee. Steps to completing this form:
The Area Rep, Alt Rep or the member with the concern fills out the form to the heading Action Taken by Manager. Be as detailed and factual as possible. Date and sign the form. Attach a written sheet if more details are required. Make a copy for your records.
After you have completed the top part of the form it is given to your manager for them to complete. Time may be given to the manager to check into corrective action. One or two days at the most should be sufficient for most concerns. Note: you can fax or contact a member of the JOH&S Committee at any time to discuss or inform us of the concern.
When you get the form back from the manager or if a couple of days have passed and no appropriate action is being taken, fax a copy of the form to either Wendy Hayer in the Vancouver office orStan Brost in the Nelson/Trail office or Robert Low in the Peace River office.
The Local Safety Return becomes a valuable tool to the JOH&S Committee as to the memberships concerns. Even if the issue is resolved at the local level, it informs the Committee as to a concern and may help in eliminating other similar concerns.
The Violent Incident Report Form is completed after any incident in which a member’s safety has been threatened by someone other than a fellow employee. Follow the following steps:
Part A is to be completed by the employee. Make a copy and give it to your Local Safety Officer (usually the Area or Alt Rep).
Within 24 hours of the incident give Part A along with Part B to your Manager to complete and to take action.
The form then goes to the Local Safety Officer (Area or Alt Rep) for the completion of Part C. If the action taken by the manager is acceptable to the employee who initiated the concern then this would be stated in this section.
Parts B & C must be completed and sent to the Area Assessor or HO Director, JOH&S Committee and the employee who is reporting the incident within 72 hours.
Lauralee Epps - Chair
Tina Dhami - Member