Working in Extreme Temperatures

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If you have to work outside

Some MoveUP members have jobs that require them to work outside, occasionally in extreme temperatures.

Under your collective agreements and British Columbia’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, you have a right to refuse unsafe work without fear of discipline. OHSR Section 3.12 (1) states:

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.

If this occurs, you must immediately report the unsafe situation to your supervisor. Please also make sure you contact your union immediately (information at right) to make sure your rights are protected.

Next steps

Your employer is required to investigate the situation and insure any unsafe situation is remedied immediately. If they fail to resolve the situation to your satisfaction, they must investigate again, in the presence of a union member of your workplace health and safety committee, or another worker selected by the union to work with you.

If the problem continues

If an investigation does not resolve the matter and you continue to refuse to carry out the work process or use the prescribed equipment because you still believe it is unsafe, both the employer and the worker must immediately notify WCB. A WCB officer must investigate the matter without undue delay and issue whatever orders are deemed necessary.

Employer responsibilities

Under provincial regulations, if your employer requires you to work in extreme temperatures they must:

  • Conduct a cold stress assessment and develop and implement a cold exposure plan
  • Implement engineering controls to reduce the exposure to the hazard or if not able, provide controls or personal protective equipment as a last option
  • Provide a heated shelter if the temperature drops below -7 degrees Celsius
  • Workers exposed to temperatures below -7 degrees Celsius must wear adequate insulated clothing and personal protective equipment
  • Workers showing signs of exposure must be removed from the hazardous environment and treated by first aid or physician

Who to contact

If you find yourself in a situation where you are forced to refuse unsafe work, immediately notify:

Steve Milne
MoveUP Occupational Health and Safety Director,
smilne@moveuptogether.ca
604-299-0378
 

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