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Teachers Teaching on Call and health and safety

The Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OH&SR) are designed to protect workers by preventing workplace injury and disease. Teachers on call are entitled to the full protection of the act and the OH&SR. However, such rights are hollow unless they are fully exercised.

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your health and safety rights:

  • When you arrive at a school, ask for the names of the BCTF representatives on the school’s joint health and safety committee. If you have any health and safety questions or concerns, speak with one of the representatives.
  • Find out the name of the person who is the designated first aid attendant.
  • Ensure that you have been provided with a copy of the school’s emergency plan, including routes for evacuation and assembly areas.
  • Ask if any of the students in the class you will be working with have a history of violence. If there is such a student, ask for and become familiar with the student’s safety plan.
  • Do not leave any food or drink unattended where it could be tampered with.
  • If you suffer an injury at work, no matter how minor, advise the principal, vice-principal, or first aid attendant immediately. Fill out a WorkSafeBC Form 6A and make two copies. Keep one copy for yourself, send one to the local union office, and give the original to the principal or vice-principal. See your doctor and be sure to tell the doctor that the injury happened at work. If you may miss time from work or if you need healthcare (physiotherapy, massage etc.) call TELECLAIM at 1-888-WORKERS (1-888-967-5377) and file a claim. If you want advice about your claim, or if you receive a letter from WorkSafeBC either accepting or denying your claim, immediately contact the WCB Advocate at the BCTF office.
  • Report any incidents of violence or threats of violence to the principal or vice-principal. If the incident of violence or threat of violence is directed at you, treat the incident in the same way as you treat an injury at work.
  • Know that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you find yourself in any situation that you believe presents a risk of injury to yourself or any other person, remove students from the risk and advise the principal that you are refusing unsafe work. You should then contact the staff representative or a BCTF health and safety representative for advice and support.
  • Ask your local union to arrange for a presentation of the BCTF workshop “Raising Health and Safety Awareness”, which can be presented at TTOC meetings, after school staff meetings, teacher orientation meetings, etc.

If you would like more information, please contact Karen Langenmaier, the BCTF Health and Safety Officer at 604-871-1891 or 1-800-663-9163 local 1891 or email

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