The Legislative Assembly recently made changes to British Columbia's Safety Standards Act. These changes will provide owners and operators of equipment covered by the Act with the opportunity to take an "alternative safety approach" in order to comply with the objectives of the Act.
The Alternative Safety Approaches Regulation was made effective April 1, 2011.
There are two options within the Alternative Safety Approaches program:
1. A Safety Management Plan, or
2. An Equivalent Standard Approach.
Both approaches provide the owners or operators of equipment with flexibility in how to manage safety. A Safety Management Plan is a broad approach and includes the safety of an entire facility, while an Equivalent Standard Approach applies to one aspect of an installation or operation. It is important to understand that these approaches are voluntary and optional.
For a brief overview on Alternative Safety Approaches, please read the Alternative Safety Approaches Backgrounder.
Reasons for the change
The Act was changed in response to stakeholder concerns regarding the prescriptive nature of many regulations. With the changes, owners and operators may now:
- Streamline the approval of new and innovative technologies;
- Use alternative approaches where prescriptive regulations are perceived to be a barrier to trade and investment; and
- Adopt and implement best practices for managing safety as established in other jurisdictions.