International Longshore and Warehouse Union

This case involved 3 grievances brought by Local 500 and, over the course of 28 days of hearing that included evidence from competing expert witnesses, the Union succeeded in all aspects of its case requiring the employers to implement new safe work procedures using guardrails when shipping grain in inclement weather.  The parties consolidated 3 matters referred to industry arbitrator Kate Young involving work refusals arising from Local 500’s and employees’ concerns over inadequate training, the lack of proper safety equipment and procedures, and the BCMEA’s failure to follow the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (MOSH) that called for the installation of guardrails.  The arbitrator upheld all of the Union’s grievances finding: guardrails must be installed when workers are deployed to work on hatch covers in inclement weather and those hatch covers have a drop of more than 1.2 meters; the BCMEA failed to establish the use of guardrails was not reasonably practicable; the fall protection system employed by BCMEA is not as prescribed by the MOSH regulations; and any employees working in the conditions in issue must be provided with the information, training, instruction and supervision necessary to safely use all the fall protection equipment prescribed by the regulations.  Consequently, BCMEA cannot utilize existing safe work procedures for loading of grain and must adopt an SOP that includes the use of guardrails if it wishes to continue to deploy workers to hatch covers in inclement weather.