BC’s relaxed hard hat rules aim to include more turban-wearing workers on construction sites – Coast Mountain News
Labor Minister Harry Bains said British Columbia’s new hard hat rules make workplaces more inclusive, especially for those who wear turbans or other religious headgear, but some construction companies and workers fear that safety may be endangered.
Effective September 1, employers will be required to examine each area of a job site to determine if a person should wear a hard hat in that area.
On Wednesday, June 2, Bains, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Surrey-Newton, announced the hard hat changes WorkSafeBC is making to British Columbia’s occupational health and safety regulations.
Employers will determine, through a risk assessment, what safety precautions could be taken to prevent head injuries and whether a hard hat is required.
“Creating more inclusive workplaces is a priority for our government, and we have long advocated for changes in hard hat regulations,” Bains said. “We are building an economy that works for everyone, which includes ensuring that safe workplaces are inclusive for people, regardless of their faith.
The Sikh community has expressed concerns over its inability to fully participate in the labor market due to the approach of some employers to the requirement to wear a hard hat, a government press release notes.
WorkSafeBC has held public and stakeholder consultations on the issue in 2020 and early 2021, and WorkSafeBC’s board of directors subsequently approved a regulatory change regarding hard hats.
Using a hard hat as personal protective equipment is the least effective compared to other security checks, according to Baltej Dhillon, retired RCMP officer and WorkSafeBC board member.
Dhillon was the first gendarme to wear a turban on duty.
“This change will also allow members of the Sikh community who wear a turban to engage in dialogue with their employers to deal with workplace hazards, which in turn can eliminate the need for a hard hat. safety in certain scenarios, ”Dhillon said in government news. Release. “This change supports worker safety and will allow more Sikhs to come to work without having to compromise their religious beliefs.”
Balpreet Singh Boparai, Legal Adviser of the Sikh World Organization of Canada, also spoke.
“These regulatory changes support occupational health and safety and benefit not only Sikhs, but all workers in British Columbia,” said Boparai. “This step makes British Columbia a leader in the adaptation of the turban, and I have no doubts that government, employers and workers will work together to make this new regulation a success.
Last fall, the BC Council of Construction Associations created a video showing the importance of construction safety headgear and interviewed two turbaned Sikhs at the King George Hub construction site in Surrey. Both endorsed the use of hard hats for Sikhs and suggested shortened turbans as a way for them to adapt better.
Said an article on cocabc.ca in September: “Labor Minister Harry Bains has proposed changes to the hard hat regulations in response to concerns expressed by some members of the Sikh community, but COCA maintains that the changes are simply not practical and would put workers at risk. themselves as well as their counterparts on site.
COCA President Dave Baspaly said that despite the best methods of safety, engineering and mitigation, objects continue to fall from heights and ultimately a hard hat is the last line of action. defense.
“In our world we can have a coexistence of religious freedom and security and, when done correctly, when everyone is educated, no one is disenfranchised and everyone returns home healthy and except, ”Baspaly said in a COCA website article on a Journal of Commerce article.