Representatives of the BCGEU and Adult Custody Division (ACD) have produced a Provincial COVID-19 Officer Safety risk assessment that lays out recommended steps to ensure officer safety in the pandemic environment.
Many thanks to Local 104 Chair Brandon Cox, Local 105 Chair Krissie Hayes and BCGEU Staff Representative Brian Campbell for their many long days of hard work on this critical project.
This risk assessment is the product of a joint effort with management and it is the Union's expectation that all local joint OH&S committees will work together to implement all of the recommendations in each centre.
We recommend all members read the document, which can be found on the BCGEU - Component 1 COVID-19 web page at: Provincial Risk Assessment Regarding Officer Safety
Highlights of the Provincial risk assessment include the following recommendations:
- Surgical masks, eye protection and gloves should be readily available for unit officers for code responses/emergencies;
- Each centre is to provide appropriately located disposal or laundry stations for PPE;
- Where physical distancing cannot be maintained, appropriate PPE (mask and eye protection) will be worn;
- Plexiglass barriers for officers' desks should be adopted if there is not a better alternative protective solution available;
- Physical distancing boundaries around officers' desks must be clearly marked;
- Centres are required to establish specific response code protocols to address the elevated risk of exposure (PPE requirements and accessibility, unit staffing model, designated and equipped supervisor and responders posted within proximity of the unit);
- Each centre's JOHS committee will review overall centre code response to ensure minimal staff exposure while maintaining operational safety and control; and,
- Escort staff are to be limited to identified operational requirements to maintain control of an inmate.
We expect the employer will abide by these recommendations because you have the right to work in a safe work environment. As always, you retain the right to refuse unsafe work (click for details).
COVID-19 case at North Fraser Pretrial CentreOne of our BCGEU members at NFPC has tested positive for COVID-19. Corrections healthcare has been contact tracing and round table information sessions with members and management at NFPC have been held.
WorkSafeBC ClaimsThe BCGEU recommends that members should file WorkSafeBC claims while if they believe they were exposed to COVID-19 at work, if they are waiting for COVID-19 testing results and, of course, if they were infected with COVID-19 at work. Please be aware that WorkSafeBC holds claims filed due to exposure for 14 days or until a worker becomes ill before adjudicating them.
The BCGEU has joined the B.C. Federation of Labour in calling for the recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease amongst all essential workers on the frontline.
For more information on filing a claim check out the WorkSafeBC website
Pandemic Response Premium and 100% pay for COVID-19 related absencesThe BCGEU has and will continue to advocate for fair compensation for all essential workersexposed to heightened risk on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. And your Union has an will continue to fight for 100% pay for all COVID-19 related absences from work.
As first responders Corrections Officers and Sheriffs work in the same kind of close and dangerous environments as healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, for the same reasons that frontline healthcare workers such as nurses are receiving a premium for their brave response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so to should Corrections Officers and Sheriffs be fairly compensated for their unwavering willingness to go into work each day and expose themselves, and their families, to the same dangers. Corrections Officers and Sheriffs are both entitled to receive a pandemic response premium, and the BCGEU will continue to fight for this principle.
Please see the BCGEU's letter to the government in this regard
Priority Testing for CorrectionsThe Centre for Disease Control gave corrections the same designation as health care workers where we now get priority testing for COVID-19 and receive the results back within 24 to 48 hours.
Sheriff redeployment opportunity
In an effort to boost its response to COVID-19, the on April 7, 2020 the Government announced an opportunity for Public Service workers to redeploy to YVR as Processing Officers and Supervisors, and as Quarantine Officers.
We are advocating Sheriffs new opportunities including working at the borders and delivering PPE to Hospitals, and enforcing physical distancing rules in public.
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President
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