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Angélique Prince, WorkSafeBC, Manager, Industry & Labour Services, Small Business

“I have so much to do, and so many things to know…some days, health and safety slips down my list of priorities.”

Sound familiar? Small business owners wear many hats, and are often required to be experts in everything from payroll to purchasing. Sorting out your registration and insurance with WorkSafeBC, as well as understanding your workplace health and safety requirements, are important aspects of your business. Here are some answers to questions many small business owners have.

Do all small businesses need to register for WorkSafeBC insurance?

Generally, you need to register if you:

  • Employ and pay workers on a regular, casual, or contract basis
  • As a homeowner, hire an individual to work in or around your home for a certain period of time (e.g., child care, lawn services, etc.)
  • Come from another province or country to work in B.C.
  • Work in the commercial fishing or trucking industries

Most B.C. workers are automatically covered for workers’ compensation. However, proprietors and their spouses, as well as partners in a partnership, are not considered workers unless they have been granted optional coverage. If you’re a proprietor or partner and would like to be covered for workers’ compensation, you must apply for Personal Optional Protection (POP).

What does WorkSafeBC do for me?

WorkSafeBC provides no-fault insurance for workers and employers. All workers are covered by WorkSafeBC in the event of a workplace injury, work-related disease or fatality. Employers registered with WorkSafeBC pay premiums that fund the system, and in return, cannot be sued for the cost of a work-related injury, disease, or fatality.

How can I reduce the chance of workplace injuries?

Your first step in protecting workers is to identify potential hazards in your workplace. Over half of the claims received at WorkSafeBC are for injuries due to slips, trips and falls; being struck by an object; or for sprains, strains, or pulled muscles or ligaments. Ask yourself, what is it about the activities or processes that could injure your workers or harm their health?

Workplace hazards are generally found in:

  • The physical work environment
  • Equipment, materials, and substances used at the workplace
  • Work tasks and how they are performed

Talk to your workers about health and safety issues they encounter in their work. Keep lines of communication open with your workers, as they can help to identify risks.

Improving health and safety doesn’t have to be costly, but the potential return on investment is huge.

Do you know your responsibilities as an employer?

WorkSafeBC offers resources especially for small businesses

Small business owners have unique concerns and questions. WorkSafeBC offers online resources, downloadable forms, and guides to help you find the right answers quickly.

You can also contact us at smallbiz@worksafebc.com or see www.worksafebc.com/en/contact-us.