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Serious Injury Prevention Initiative

The Serious Injury Prevention Initiative is a three-year plan to prevent serious injuries from occurring in those sectors and subsectors not covered by existing strategies and initiatives. A serious injury is defined by severity (e.g., fractures of major bones) or potential severity, and/or a long recovery period.

This initiative was developed after examining claims and assessment data and applying a predictive model to identify the industries, workplaces, and work activities with the highest potential for serious injury. Based on existing data:

  • Approximately 50 percent of serious injuries occurred in industries not covered by existing WorkSafeBC high risk strategies or industry initiatives
  • Many serious injuries (66 percent) occurred at locations that did not have a serious injury in the previous three years
  • Most serious injuries occurred at employer locations that had not been inspected within the previous three years (65 percent) or ever (45 percent)


The goals of the 2018–2020 Serious Injury Prevention Initiative are to: 

  • Conduct inspection activities within industry sectors and at employer locations that are outside the other high risk strategies and industry initiatives to prevent serious injuries from occurring
  • Widely communicate this strategy to employers and industry representatives to inform them of risks and work with them to prevent serious injuries


  • Inspect workplaces to ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
  • While inspections can take place at any time, this initiative will primarily occur in the first half of 2019 during regular business hours. Follow-up inspections will take place, as necessary, and may occur at any time after the initial inspection. Inspections may also take place across shifts and can include evenings and weekends.

Inspections will focus on three elements:

  • Identifying top risks in workplaces and ensuring those risks are managed; this includes consulting with and educating employers and workers about those risks
  • Ensuring key health and safety requirements are in place, including those related to health and safety programs, workplace inspections, and incident investigation
  • Confirming that worker orientation and training is in place so that workers and supervisors are aware of hazards they are exposed to and the means to control those hazards, and their health and safety rights and responsibilities

WorkSafeBC officers will provide an inspection report documenting workplace inspection findings. The report may include orders directing the employer to comply with minimum requirements set out in the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

In addition to workplace inspections, a direct mail campaign will focus on employers whose workers are often exposed to fall hazards. The letters will emphasize the importance of selecting, implementing, and using appropriate fall protection systems to prevent injuries due to falls.


2019 additional focus


When we developed the 2018–2020 initiative, we recognized that within the three-year time frame we would need to retain the flexibility to add additional focus areas. In 2019, we will focus on a few specific industries or classification units, in order to create new partnerships with industry.

Deliverables and timelines

Activities Details
Focused inspections
Q1–Q4 2019

Primary focus: Serious injury prevention

Assess whether employers are managing workers’ risks of a serious injury:

  • Conduct initial inspections
  • Educate employers about risks in their workplaces and classification units
  • Assess workers’ exposure to, and employers’ management of, risks in their workplaces
  • Consult with employers about risks in the workplace
  • Issue corrective orders aligned with unmanaged risks where warranted

Secondary focus: Key OHS elements

Assess compliance with regulatory requirements related to specific health and safety components, including informal/formal health and safety programs, new/young worker training and orientation, first aid, and health and safety committees.


We will also ensure key OHS elements and bullying and harassment policies are in place.

Creating new partnerships with industry
Q1–Q4 2019
Engage with industry associations and labour to support outreach efforts
Fall protection information campaign
Q1–Q4 2019

During commercial asbestos initiative inspections, officers will provide employers and others representing multi-tenant commercial buildings with information that:

  • Identifies fall protection issues
  • Outlines owner and other employers’ duties under the Workers Compensation Act and describes due diligence

  • Promotes the use of elevating work platforms (e.g., efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety, quality, lower risk of property damage) where possible

  • Educates employers about the fall protection hierarchy

Fall protection direct mail campaign
Q1–Q2 2019

We will mail fall protection information to employers who are often contracted by owners of multi-tenant commercial buildings to carry out maintenance work, often at height.

Updates and results

As part of our strategic initiative to develop measures to assess the effectiveness of prevention activities, we are providing updates of our High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives.

Note: To save space in bulleted lists, our update documents may refer to occupational health and safety as OHS. All references to the Act, refer to Part Three of the Workers Compensation Act. Penalties and warning letters reported in updates may have been initiated by inspections in a previous quarter.

Related resources

Fact Sheets