Employers who commit health and safety violations may receive administrative penalties — monetary fines. Fines help motivate employers to meet health and safety requirements in the workplace so everyone can stay safe.
Summaries of penalties are published in WorkSafe Magazine. Publishing penalties highlights the importance of making workplaces safe. For up-to-date penalty information, search the penalties database.
Penalties help make workplaces safer, but they never make up for workers' work-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths.
When penalties are considered
We may impose penalties on employers that do one or more of the following:
- Fail to take sufficient precautions to prevent work-related injury or illness
- Do not comply with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation, Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act, or an applicable order
- Have an unsafe workplace or working conditions
Section 196 of the Act and Policy D12-196-1 outline when WorkSafeBC can impose a penalty. A penalty must not be imposed if the employer establishes that it exercised due diligence — in other words, that it took all reasonable care to prevent the violation.
Setting the penalty amount
The amount of a penalty is based on the nature of the violation, a company's history of violations, and the size of the company's payroll. Penalties can be greater if certain specific factors are present, such as for high-risk or intentional violations, or if the company has received a prior penalty for substantially the same violation in the past three years. More details are available in Policy D12-196-6.
Sometimes, besides imposing a penalty, we may collect all or a portion of the cost of a worker's claim from an employer. Policy D24-73-1 identifies when this is possible, as well as the maximum amount an employer may be required to pay.
In most cases, employers have the right to request a review of the decisions we make and to appeal decisions made from those reviews. Requests for a review of health and safety enforcement decisions must be submitted to us within 45 days after the decision. Learn more about the review and appeal process.