On September 1, 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation was changed. One of the changes relates to safety headgear, such as hard hats, in the workplace. Learn about what this means for workers, and employers’ roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
Keeping workers safe on the job is a key responsibility for all employers. In the past, many employers relied on hard hats as the best way to protect workers from head injury on construction sites and other worksites.
With the changed OHS Regulation, employers must now take steps to eliminate or minimize the risk of head injury from thrown or falling object. For example, you could set up safe zones on the worksite where there is no risk of objects falling from above. Or you could install safety nets to prevent falling objects from hitting anyone working below.
However, there will still be some workplaces where the employer can’t eliminate or reduce the risk to a level that protects worker safety. In those cases, hard hats are still needed.
What does this mean for workers who can’t wear a hard hat?
If a worker can’t wear a hard hat because they wear religious headwear such as a turban, you have some options.
- First, talk to your employer or supervisor to find out what they have done to eliminate or reduce risks to the lowest level practicable before relying on safety headgear to protect you from head injuries.
- If you have a worker representative or joint health and safety committee at your workplace, you can also talk to them about what your employer has done to reduce risks so that hard hats are not needed.
We’re here to help
If you have questions or concerns about the steps an employer has taken to reduce the risk, please call our Prevention Information Line at 1.888.621.7233 to talk to one of our prevention officers.
Safety headgear such as hard hats may still be needed in some workplaces if the risk of head injury can’t be reduced to the lowest level possible. If you can’t wear a hard hat because of religious or other reasons, your employer may have to offer accommodation. For more information about this, please see OHS Guideline G-P2-21(1).
- Safety headgear: Rights and responsibilities
- Media information bulletin: New WorkSafeBC rules on safety headgear take effect Sept. 1
- Overview: Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, September 2021
This page is also available in Punjabi.