Section 13.0.13 (Members Guide to the BCTF)

That a safety plan for working alone as required by the OH&S Regulation 4.21 be provided by the employer for all BCTF members who work alone, including but not limited to the following situations:

    • one-room schools;
    • portables;
    • hospital/homebound;
    • storefront;
    • remote wings of schools;
    • morning/weekend, single evening classes;
    • individual work at school outside of regular hours;
    • voluntary;
    • outdoor schools;
    • home visitations;
    • alternate education programs off site; and
    • remote or isolated areas, including teacherage issues
      itinerant teachers.

13.D.35 The BCTF supports the right of teachers and students to a working environment that is free from violence, threats of violence, intimidation -or harassment of any kind -physical, verbal or emotional.

When is Working Alone Not Working Alone

Recently, WorkSafeBC updated its guideline to the Working Alone provisions found in sections 4.20.1 to 4.23 of the OHS Regulation. Specifically, WorkSafeBC sought to define the phrase “assigned to work alone or in isolation”.

Assigned to Work Alone or In Isolation

In its updated guideline, WorkSafeBC stresses that the requirements of the working alone regulation apply only when a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation.

WorkSafeBC has defined “assigned to work alone or in isolation” to mean:
Where the worker is directed or expected to work during a scheduled or predetermined period of time, such as a specified work shift or a specified portion of a work shift. During that time it is anticipated or expected that the worker will be working alone or in isolation. Workers who work alone or in isolation for short or intermittent periods of time without being directed to do so are not considered to have been “assigned” to work alone.

The updated guideline also includes the following example:
“A worker in most office and similar work settings, where other workers are normally present during their work hours, is not considered to be assigned to work alone or in isolation if, for example, the worker decides to come in early, work late, or come in on a day off. While a worker in such a setting may choose to work alone and this is permitted by the employer, the worker is not considered to have been assigned to work alone. Accordingly, the provisions of sections 4.20.1 to 4.23 would not apply.”

So what does that all mean?
In a situation where a worker decides to come into school early, work late or come in on a weekend or day off, working alone procedures do not need to be implemented. However, it is important to note that the worker will likely still be considered to be working by WorkSafeBC.