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Helmets now mandatory for Whistler Blackcomb workers and volunteers

WorkSafeBC implements new rules effective immediately
Photo by Paul Morrison courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb

All Whistler Blackcomb employees are now required to wear helmets when skiing or riding, following a new WorkSafeBC requirement.

The rules go into effect immediately and Whistler Blackcomb will begin its enforcement on May 4. Employees were informed of the change this week.

"We got the direction and we're taking it really seriously," said Joel Chevalier, director of Employee Experience.

It's not clear what prompted the change he said.

Whistler Blackcomb and WorkSafeBC had been in discussions for the past year working towards "an amicable solution."

Then, last week following a visit from WorkSafeBC representatives, Whistler Blackcomb was informed it was not in compliance with the legislation.

The rules come from Section 8.11 of the Workers Compensations Act:

"Safety Headgear must be worn by a worker in any work area where there is a danger of head injury from falling, flying or thrown objects, or harmful contacts."

This section, however, has been in the legislation for many years and had never applied to workers on a ski hill.

"We really don't know what sparked this sudden change of opinion from them," said Chevalier. "We're definitely keen to find out."

The most recent helmet survey from 18 months ago shows that 62 per cent of WB employees working on skis and snowboards wear helmets.

Affected employees must provide their own certified helmets. There will be a helmet-lending plan for employees for the rest of this season.

More to come.