As a provincial agency, WorkSafeBC has the authority to impose administrative penalties - monetary fines - against employers who commit health and safety violations under the Workers Compensation Act or the Occupational Health & Safety Regulation. Currently, there are two levels of fines that WorkSafeBC will consider depending on the nature of the violation.
Lower Maximum - $1,000
The lower maximum amount is issued as a "citation" against an employer for lower risk violations only. Each year, this $1,000 base amount is adjusted to keep up with cost of living and is currently at $1,010.33. WorkSafeBC will levy a fine of 50% of this amount for first-time offenses. A warning letter is sent to the employer prior to the citation being issued. If the employer re-offends with the same or similar violation over the next three years, WorkSafeBC will impose the full maximum amount.
Upper Maximum - $628,034.57
At WorkSafeBC's discretion, an upper maximum level fine can be assessed for any violation. The minimum amount at this level is $1,250. The base amount is calculated by multiplying the employer's annual assessable payroll by 0.5%.
More serious violations will increase the multiplier that WorkSafeBC uses to calculate the fine. A multiplier of 2 is used for any one of the below cases:
•violations that are considered high risk or are knowingly committed
•interfering with a WorkSafeBC officer's ability to perform their duties
•interfering with a worker seeking to report an injury, illness or dangerous conditions at a workplace
•violating a stop work order
WorkSafeBC will apply a multiplier of 4 for high risk violations where the employer also attempts to prevent a worker from reporting an incident. If the employer commits the same or similar offence within three years of the first one, the fine doubles for the second violation. Any subsequent violations thereafter will cause the fine to continue doubling.
For more information and resources on insurance and risk-related matters in the workplace, please contact a CapriCMW Risk Advisor.
Source: "What you need to know about Administrative Penalties from WorkSafeBC" by Terry Thomas, CRSP at the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.