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.
- When penalties are considered
- Setting the penalty amount
- Review process
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, the OHS provisions of the Workers Compensation Act, or an applicable order
- Have an unsafe workplace or working conditions
Section 95 of the Act and Policy P2-95-1 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 P2-95-5.
Sometimes, besides imposing a penalty, we may collect all or a portion of the cost of a worker's claim from an employer. Policy P5-251-1 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.