December 2019                                                          FRANÇAIS  |  ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ
WorkING During the Holiday Season

For many, December is a time to celebrate with family and friends. However, this month can also bring about many health and safety challenges. It is the darkest month, often bringing some of the coldest temperatures of the year.  Many employees take time off, and coworkers who are left to manage the workload may also end up working alone. The extremes of the season makes it important to remind employees how to work safely in these conditions and to make sure they fully understand the safe work procedures necessary to do their jobs safely. The goal is to have every employee arrive home safe at the end of the day. 

safety reminders

Cold Stress: December regularly sees temperatures dancing around -30°C, and whether they are dashing out to a meeting, grabbing a quick coffee, or if they are working outside, employees must dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Prevention Information: Temperatures around -30°C can cause skin damage in only a matter of minutes. Remind employees to layer up (even for that dash across the street), drink warm high-calorie drinks and food. When working outside, ensure they have access to a warm area for breaks, and limit the time they are outside. See our Thermal Conditions Code of Practice for more information.
Impairment: With celebrations happening regularly, and the pressures of getting ready for the holidays, there is a potential for your employees to arrive to work fatigued, or possibly under the influence of alcohol or legal drugs. Employees need to be able to do their jobs safely, and being impaired - for any reason - can affect how safely we work.
  • Prevention Information: Impairment can come from many different causes: fatigue, stress, alcohol or legal drug use (including recreational cannabis and over the counter or prescription drugs). Visit our website for safety bulletins on a variety of forms of impairment, or read our Code of Practice on cannabis  for more detailed information.
  • Know the signs of impairment, and remind your employees that they have the responsibility to come to the job alert and ready to work. Impairment endangers your safety and the safety of those around you. Have workers ask themselves "Am I fit to work?"
Working Alone: With many employees taking holidays, the coworkers who work through the season can find themselves working alone. Make sure employees have the supports in place to identify and manage the hazards and increased risks that extreme conditions can potentially bring.
  • Prevention Information: Establish a communication system that enables employees to check in and out. A formal risk assessment checklist before they start their work can ensure that workers don't engage in work they shouldn't do alone. 
    • Include ergonomics, equipment, electrical safety, security, fire protection, emergency procedures, and have a clearly defined schedule for work.
  • Supervisors must know when their employees are arriving and departing from work safely every shift.
Harassment and Violence : The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, particularly for those working in the service industry. The stress of getting ready for the holidays, longer line ups, and many holiday parties and events can lead to an increased risk of harassment and violence.
  • Prevention Information: Review our Toolbox Talk on Harassment and Violence with your employees, and remind them of what harassment and violence can look like. Emphasize that your employees have the right to a safe and harassment and violence free workspace, and work with them to develop techniques to de-escalate situations, including having an escape plan if they will need it. Review your company policy surrounding harassment and violence with them so they are prepared to handle situations if they arise. Make sure employees report any incidents that do occur.
Visibility: The darker days means that workers need to work a lot harder to be seen. Grey, dark blue and black winter parkas, snowy conditions, and icy or foggy windshields make it hard for drivers to see.
  • Prevention Information: Remind your employees to wear high visibility clothing and reflective accessories or lights so drivers can clearly see them.  If employees are working in dark conditions, it is your duty to provide them with appropriate lighting and PPE to ensure they are visible while working.
Check in with your employees to make them aware of all of the hazards in your workplace while working in December. Have daily Toolbox Talks that review all of the information above. Help your employees adjust their approach to safety in your workplace with the added risks that are present this time of year. 
Due on DECEMBER 31, 2019

If you are a business owner, partner, registered director, or self-employed, you do not automatically receive WSCC coverage through your employment. To receive WSCC coverage, you need to purchase Personal Optional Coverage, which provides you with the same benefits as other workers in case of workplace disease and injury.

You can apply for coverage for as little as one month and up to one full year at any time during the year. You need to renew your coverage each year. To ensure there is no break in annual coverage, please have your 2020 Personal Optional Coverage submitted to the WSCC by December 31, 2019.

To view and fill out the Personal Optional Coverage form, please click here. Send it to either office at:

Northwest Territories
Fax: 867-873-4596
Toll-Free Fax: 1-866-277-3677

Fax: 867-979-8501
Toll-Free Fax: 1-866-979-8501

Start submitting as early as JANUARY  1st, 2020

By now, employers should have received information on submitting the Annual Payroll Report through WSCC Connect. The deadline for submitting is February 28, 2020, but you can submit as early as January 1, 2020. Remember, you must submit an APR even if you are reporting zero (0) payroll. The penalty for late submission is 15% of your previous year's employer payroll assessment.

helpful tips:
  1. Research your OHS answers before you begin: WSCC Connect users should consult with the person who manages OHS in their company (or the company they are filing for) to provide Yes/No answers to the OHS questions.
  2. Use our step-by-step guide: the complete set of questions with explanations of what to look for is in Section 4 of the Guide to Completing Annual Payroll Reporting.
  3. Let us help: our OHS team can guide you through the questions if you are still unsure. Call us at 1-800-661-0792 and ask to speak with our OHS team in Prevention Services.
If you need technical support with WSCC Connect, see the WSCC Connect Help page or contact the Help Desk toll-free at 1-844-238-5008.

The Governance Council reviewed and approved the following policies and GC directives at its December 2019 meeting:
  • Policy 00.08, Decision Making
  • Policy 07.04, Personal Information Privacy Protection
  • Policy 10.01, Doubtful Accounts
Please refer to the WSCC Policy Manual to view all WSCC policies or the Governance Council Directives to view all governance directives.

WSCC's offices are closed for the holidays beginning at 5:00 PM Friday December 20th, 2019 through till January 1st, 2020. The offices will re-open on Thursday January 2nd at 8:30 AM.

To report a serious workplace injury or incident, call 1-800-661-0792.

To report unsafe work, use our Report Unsafe Work service on WSCC Connect.   /  1.800.661.0792   *  /  1.877.404.4407