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WorkSafeBC has issued OHS Guideline G1.1(1), which provides details on the extent and nature of health and safety obligations on resource roads. The Guideline was issued following a government amendment to the OHS Regulation, which exempts resource roads from the definition of “workplace” in the OHS Regulation. The amendment is intended to clarify the status of resource roads while a new Natural Resource Roads Act is developed. That legislation is intended to harmonize 11 separate pieces of legislation that now govern resource roads and will establish a uniform set of regulations for all resource roads in B.C.
The Guideline explains 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 and OHS Regulation. Similarly, smaller workplaces that happen to exist on or overlap with resource roads will also continue to be considered workplaces.
The Guideline also confirms that users of resource roads will continue to be required to use resource roads safely, and to plan their activities so that workers remain safe. Employers using resource roads will also continue to be required to adequately train, instruct and supervise workers who use resource roads.
For more information on 2012 OHS Guideline updates, see Changes to OHS Regulation.