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WorkSafeBC’s healthcare and social services planned inspection initiative focuses on high-risk activities in the workplace that lead to serious injuries and time-loss claims.
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WorkSafeBC is releasing a discussion paper with proposed amendments to the Current Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual that guide wage rate decisions related to short-term and long-term disability compensation. Recommended amendments include: These changes may affect your claims costs. Click here to view the proposed changes and offer feedback to WorkSafeBC – The deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, […]
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Prepare for wildfire season with these resources

Hot summer weather brings increased potential for wildfires, resulting in poor air quality. Poor air quality impacts all British Columbians but can be particularly difficult for seniors, those that need to work in smoky conditions, and those with underlying health conditions, including COVID-19.

Good preparation is all the more critical in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Finding cleaner air is the best way to protect your health from wildfire smoke. However, this may not always be possible, so care operators must prepare for wildfire season by reviewing their emergency safety plans and procedures.

Heat and smoke may also increase the likelihood that personal protective equipment, particularly masks and respirators, becomes damp or soiled. If you must wear a mask at work, follow guidelines and change your cover if needed. Learn more about the limitations and risks of mask use and wildfire smoke. WorkSafeBC also provides wildfire FAQs.

Emergencies such as wildfires or floods may also require the temporary evacuation of staff and residents. Evacuations can be stressful and often happen quickly when a threat is incoming. It is essential to prepare everyone for these situations to follow safe work practices such as safe handling and infection prevention and control during these particularly challenging circumstances.

Proactive safety considerations for managers may include:

  • Assess your written safety plans and procedures, including evacuation requirements for workers, residents/clients, visitors, and other compounding safety protocols (infection prevention and control and safe handling). Check out WorkSafeBC’s emergency planning checklist for more information on evacuations.
  • Monitor provincial dashboards for active wildfires and air quality in your area.
  • Review the maintenance of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure they are in good working order. Find resources on ventilation for respiratory protection on our website.
  • Temporary use of portable air cleaners with HEPA filtration that are the appropriate size for the space. Reschedule outdoor activities. See guidance around portable air filtration devices. The BC Centre for Disease Control has information on portable air cleaners for wildfire smoke.
  • Increased monitoring for heat-related illness and the ill effects of smoke inhalation. Hydration and cooling-off strategies are recommended. Check out our hot weather safety poster.
  • Increased availability and monitoring of personal protective equipment stockpiles, particularly masks and respirators that may require more frequent changing.

If you would like support with emergency preparedness planning, please reach out to our health and safety consultant, Jennifer: jderksen@safecarebc.ca

Prepare for wildfire season with these resources

Additional Resources

One in three Canadian adults has experienced a major weather-related disaster or emergency (Government of Canada, 2023). The Government of Canada (2023) reports that we live “in a period of rapid climate change,” and high-risk weather is becoming severe, longer, and more frequent across Canada.  
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Provincial wildfires map
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The best way to protect your health from wildfire smoke is to seek cleaner air. Use a portable air cleaner at home, find an indoor environment with filtered air, or relocate to an area with less smoke. If you cannot access cleaner air, some face masks can provide protection from wildfire smoke
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This publication outlines responses to frequently asked questions from employers during the wildfire season. This information is provided to help you understand the hazards associated with exposure to smoke, and to outline some measures you can implement to minimize worker exposures.
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One in three Canadian adults has experienced a major weather-related disaster or emergency (Government of Canada, 2023). The Government of Canada (2023) reports that we live “in a period of rapid climate change,” and high-risk weather is becoming severe, longer, and more frequent across Canada.  
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We strive to empower those working in the continuing care sector to create safer, healthier workplaces by fostering a culture of safety through evidence-based education, leadership, and collaboration.
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