The wildfire season is now before us and many auxiliary employees have been, or are, in the process of being recalled for this fire season and there are also many new hires that are, or will be, coming on board.
With this, many of you have contacted your union with questions and concerns with how things are going to work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The questions in general are about ensuring the work is safe and what happens if someone can't work due to the pandemic.
These are exceptionally unusual times and your union is committed to ensuring members have the correct information and can get their questions answered in a timely fashion. To that end, the BC Wildfire Service has just released a FAQ that provides answers to many of the questions that have come forward. While it is BC Wildfire's FAQ, the BCWS and the BCGEU worked in conjunction, both to canvass members for the questions important to them, and to provide the most up-to-date answers to those questions.
Your union is also providing members with quick access to a wealth of information on the COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts members at their worksites. You can find this at our microsite at: https://www.bcgeu.ca/covid
Some of the pertinent documents on the COVID-19 microsite include:
The importance of your JOHS Committee: https://www.bcgeu.ca/johs_committees_must_continue_meeting_during_covid-19_pandemic
Guidance on the use of PPE: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/bcgeu/pages/11629/attachments/original/1587481138/Personal_Protective_Equipment_%28PPE%29__Guidance_for_BCGEU_members_interacting_with_the_public_during_COVID-19.pdf?1587481138
Information on exposure control plans for members (a longer version for OHS committee members is also posted): https://www.bcgeu.ca/exposure_control_plans_general
In addition to the above, your union recognizes that this situation is dynamic and there are going to be situations specific to BC Wildfire that will bring forward more questions. We plan to address those as quick as possible.
We have an active sub-committee of the Article 29 committee that is specific to BC Wildfire and we are meeting regularly with the employer's side of that committee. We have a staff member of our OHS Department assigned to BC Wildfire to assist with our specific issues as they arise.
Your union is planning a video conference call in the near future with our BC Wildfire Stewards and OHS Committee members. We are going to make available short training sessions on OHS matters for the OHS committees to ensure they have the tools and confidence to support the members where they work.
Your union is working hard to ensure that we hear about all the pertinent issues from across the province.
Finally, if you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed, you can contact myself or the co-chair for the Article 29 sub-committee, Gary Horsman. You can also email your OHS issue directly to OHS@bcgeu.ca.
The work you do is essential to all British Columbians and we are proud of that work and want to ensure that you feel safe in carrying it out. We are in this together.
Vice President, Environmental, Technical and Operational Component
Do you like this post?