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OHSR Amendments – 2002/01/16 – Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Government Amended OHSR

The provincial government announced revised ETS regulations for hospitality establishments on January 16th, 2002. The government made this change under the authority of B.C.'s Workers Compensation Act. Under the Act, the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council has the authority to create and/or amend health and safety regulations made by the Workers' Compensation Board.
Revised health and safety regulations to manage workers' exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) in B.C.'s hospitality industry became effective May 1st, 2002. This means that all hospitality establishments in B.C. were required to manage their workers' exposure to ETS through one of the following options:

  • Prohibiting smoking at the worksite
  • Restricting smoking to a designated smoking area such as a safe outdoor location, or a designated smoking room that is structurally separate from other areas

Under the revised regulations, workers in the hospitality industry have the right to choose whether to enter a designated smoking room and may not be discriminated against for choosing not to enter a designated smoking room. Where workers do choose to enter a designated smoking room, the regulations require there be only intermittent exposure – not to exceed 20 percent of their work period.

The revised regulations do not override municipal bylaws that prohibit smoking in various municipalities.

To comply with the revised ETS regulations, operators may also wish to check for the implications of the Liquor Control Act of B.C. and any applicable municipal bylaws.

Workers in all other B.C. workplaces continue to be provided the standard of protection outlined in Section 4.81 of the WCB's Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.