VICTORIA – An amendment to the occupational health and safety regulation under the Workers’ Compensation Act stipulates that resource roads are not classed as a workplace, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced last week.
The amendment clarifies that, while resource roads themselves are not considered a workplace, any portion under construction, maintenance or repair is deemed a workplace and governed by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Industrial or commercial vehicles travelling on resource roads are also governed by the act, but the road itself is not considered a workplace.
Resource roads typically are constructed, maintained and used by logging companies and other industrial users. They are also used by the public travelling to remote communities, as well as recreational and backcountry destinations.
The new policy is intended to clarify the status of resource roads until a new Natural Resource Roads Act is introduced. The new act will consolidate 11 separate pieces of legislation that now govern resource roads and will establish a uniform set of regulations for all resource roads in B.C.
Safety on resource roads is everyone’s responsibility. Users are encouraged to report unsafe behaviour, while companies are expected to supervise and monitor their workers.