You are here

Avalanche

Under 4.1 of the Regulation a workplace must be planned, constructed, used, and maintained to protect any person at that workplace from danger. Workplace means any place that a worker conducts work, including resource roads and mobile equipment. In terms of winter field employees in areas where avalanches may occur it is the responsibility of the BCCF to ensure all reasonable steps have been taken to confirm those employees are safe and aware of present hazards. This means that prior to any employee entering into the field where there is risk of an avalanche BCCF will complete a written avalanche risk assessment and where there is risk of avalanche, a written avalanche safety plan (Regulation 4.1.1 (2)).  Avalanche Risk Assessment must be completed by a qualified individual and include all hazards and risks associated with:

  • Topography and vegetation at the workplace,
  • Snow conditions at the workplace,
  • History of avalanches in the area,
  • Nature and duration of fieldwork to be completed at the workplace,
  • Extent that work activities will or could affect topography, vegetation and snow condition, and
  • Nature of workplace and any associated structures of buildings.

The corresponding Avalanche Safety Plan must also be completed by a qualified individual and include all measures to eliminate or control risks identified in the Avalanche Risk Assessment. This includes an Avalanche Safety Program that contains:

  • Regular monitoring of weather, snow and avalanche conditions in the area,
  • A means to notify all associated staff when conditions or hazards related to avalanche change,
  • When to implement closures, and
  • Safe work procedures for employees to follow at the workplace.

BCCF will make copies of these documents readily available to each person involved in the implementation or enforcement of them in addition to all employees that must follow the plans and procedures outlined in them.

Important Note: The above does not apply to those evaluating risk nor does it apply to work that is intermittent, moves through the workplace without stopping for any significant span of time and has limited potential to trigger an avalanche (Regulation 4.1.2). BCCF must still ensure that safe work practices created by a qualified individual are in place for minimizing risk of avalanche to employee and that said employee understands the risk of avalanche in their workplace and is trained to work in these areas. As per 4.1.2 (4) of the regulation BCCF’s SWP for Avalanche work will include:

  • Qualification and training requirements employees must have prior to working at workplace with risk of avalanche,
  • Procedures for employees to follow to identify, weigh, and address risks related to avalanche, and
  • Requirements and procedures for use of equipment related to assessment.