Health and Safety Committee

 Chairperson: Danielle Durant

  Day of Mourning

Karin Bernauer and Darren Tereposky attended the April 28th Day of Mourning ceremony
for workers who died on the job or of work-related illness. This wreath was dedicated on
behalf of VESTA members.








    Right to Know

    You have the right to know about dangers in your workplace. This includes work being done, such as carpet cleaning or painting, as well as a new student or parent who has the potential of violent behaviour.

    Right to Participate

    You have the right to participate in worksite health and safety activities through the joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee. You have the right to have worker representation at worksite inspections and investigations of incidents.

    Right to Refuse

    You have the right to refuse unsafe work.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are the proposed changes to the WCB rules going to hurt me?
    A: WCB cuts hurt.

     When should the site H&S Committee do inspections?
    3.5 General requirement: Every employer must ensure that regular inspections are made of all workplaces, including buildings, structures, grounds, excavations, tools, equipment, machinery and work methods and practices, at intervals that will prevent the development of unsafe working conditions.

     I was almost hurt in an incident. Does it have to be investigated?
    173 Incidents that must be investigated
    (1) An employer must immediately undertake an investigation into the cause of any accident or other incident that (b) resulted in injury to a worker requiring medical treatment,
    (c) did not involve injury to a worker, or involved only minor injury not requiring medical treatment, but had a potential for causing serious injury to a worker…

     Should I refuse to work when I think that I am not going to be safe?
    3.12 Procedure for refusal
    (1) A person must not carry out or cause to be carried out any work process or operate or cause to be operated any tool, appliance or equipment if that person has reasonable cause to believe that to do so would create an undue hazard to the health and safety of any person.

     Why do I have to sign a book when I want to work late?
    4.21 Procedures
    (1) The employer must develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation under conditions which present a risk of disabling injury, if the worker might not be able to secure assistance in the event of injury or other misfortune.

     Is it violence when someone just yells at me?
    Section 4.27 applies to all persons committing violence except where a worker of the same employer is the victim. Workers of the same employer are covered by section 4.25. Verbal abuse or harassing behaviour is not included in the definition of violence for the purpose of section 4.27 unless it includes threats or behaviour which give the worker reasonable cause to believe that the worker is at risk of injury.

     What if my family is threatened?
    A threat against a worker’s family that is a result of the worker’s employment is considered a threat against the worker for the purpose of section 4.27.

     When do I report an incident that I thought was violent?
    4.31 Response to incidents
    (1) Incidents of violence must be reported and investigated as required by Part 3 (Rights and Responsibilities).

     Does the VSB have to investigate when my school complains about air quality?
    4.79 Investigation
    (1) The employer must ensure that the indoor air quality is investigated when:
    (a) complaints are reported,
    (b) occupancy in the space changes substantially, or
    (c) renovations involving significant changes to the ventilation system occur.


     How hot or cold can my classroom be?
    4.80 Temperature and humidity
    The employer must ensure that temperature and humidity levels within the indoor work environment are maintained within acceptable comfort ranges, as far as is practicable.
    The WCB Draft Operating Instructions provides the following as advice:

     Can I bring my own furniture into my classroom?
    The current response from VBE Health & Safety is they are not responsible for cleaning, maintaining or moving personal items (i.e., couches, large chairs or rugs)

     Can the staff lunchroom be used as a regular teaching space?
    4.89 General requirements
    A lunchroom must be a self-contained room and be equipped in conformance with the Occupational Environment Requirements.
    (4) A lunchroom must not contain an exit leading into a washroom.
    (12) The storage of clothing and other articles in a lunchroom is not permitted.

     Can a student be sent home from school if s/he has lice?
    No. The student is to be sent home at the end of the school day with treatment information. The school’s administrative office assistant should have this information in the school’s files for distribution. It is also helpful to have the information in multiple languages. Inform all other staff members working with that situation.

     What do I do if a student arrives at school with bed bugs in their belongings?
    Call the parents/guardians to inform them. Send home information sheet from Vancouver Coastal Health or other source. Report to your administrative officer who will call VBE pest control to come out and monitor. If warranted, VBE will spray after hours. 

    I am allergic to dogs and a colleague brings one to school.
    Animals in the School – VSB Policy ING
    The Board of School Trustees (the “Board”) acknowledges that students can benefit from the introduction of an animal to the classroom to enhance the curriculum, to provide a therapeutic measure, or to assist students with particular disabilities. However, if the animal may place the safety of children or staff in jeopardy or is a health hazard for students/staff or is an impediment to learning, the administrator will ensure that the animal is removed from the classroom or that other appropriate arrangements are made.

     Animals in the School – VSB Regulation ING-R
    A common sense approach should be used when admitting animals to the classroom for educational purposes for any length off time: 

    • animals shall not be allowed to roam freely within the school setting,
    • animals shall not be left in schools during holiday periods,
    • teachers will be responsible for ensuring that all animal enclosures are kept in acceptable sanitary conditions, and
    • all refuse or waste pertaining to classroom animals shall be removed using gloves, double-bagged in plastic, and placed in the appropriate receptacle. The employer and the union have a “duty to accommodate”. The accommodation in this case should be a school policy that you are not exposed to anything that will make you ill. The dog stays home!