WorksafeBCWorkSafeBC's Board of Directors recently approved the 2020 amendments to British Columbia's Occupational Health and Safety Regulation at its April 2021 meeting. These amendments will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2021.

Portions of OHS Part 16 are of particular significance to AEM members since they deal with mobile equipment. Members of AEM Safety and Product Leadership committees have been monitoring this regulatory update and participating with WorkSafeBC regulators over the past three years.

“AEM is pleased to have participated in the consultation process and sincerely appreciates the opportunities that WorkSafeBC provided to comment as the regulations were reviewed,” said AEM Senior Director of Safety and Product Leadership Mike Pankonin.

In particular, members of the AEM Forestry Equipment Council met with WorkSafeBC multiple times by phone conferences and in a face-to-face meeting held in July of 2019. Summaries of those meetings and the development of common industry positions were discussed in Ad Hoc and regularly scheduled committee meetings. As the consultations proceeded, other AEM Safety & Product Leadership committees were apprised of the process and submitted comments.

The requirement for a three-point minimum seat restraint was particularly problematic for many types of machines. AEM’s position was that this provision would potentially create unintended safety hazards and drive significant unneeded changes to some machines.

Throughout the process, AEM reached out to other U.S.- and Canadian-based associations to compare and discuss appropriate industry positions to maintain or improve product safety while preserving global market access.

“We are very pleased that the three-point minimum seat restraint provisions have been removed in the final version of the regulation,” said Pankonin.

“This provision would have been unique to many types of machines in the global marketplace and would have decreased operator comfort, bystander safety and overall equipment usability,” he continued. “Through AEM committee participation, AEM members were able to improve a proposed regulation without compromising safety.”

The AEM Safety and Product Leadership committees continue to work to:

  • Promote the discipline and best practices concerning safe product design and use
  • Maintain market access and remove trade barriers
  • Allow for a common product suitable for multiple markets (a common platform)
  • Leave the industry “better than we found it”

For more information on AEM Safety and Product Leadership committees, please contact AEM’s Mike Pankonin at mpankonin@aem.org.

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