The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital recently received an administrative penalty of $171,000 due to their disregard for worker safety (currently under appeal by the employer).
We have just learned that personal protective alarm systems (Pens) at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital have not been functioning since Sunday, November 20th. These alarms are in place to alert other workers if they are in need of immediate assistance usually due to violence. It is disconcerting to learn that all workers were not notified of this until Tuesday, November 22nd. This brings into question how diligent this employer is about protecting worker’s health and safety.
The law is clear. As per the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation section 3.12, if you have reasonable cause to believe a work process would create an undue hazard to your health and safety, you must not carry out the process and you must immediately report the circumstances to your employer. The employer must remedy the situation and if they do not, WCB must be notified to investigate the situation.
In this case, the employer applied interim measures but workers should still report this incident to the call centre as a near miss. This near miss will then be investigated so corrective measures can be implemented in order to prevent this system fail from occurring again and to ensure effective procedures are in place going forward.
Contact your union steward, OHS representative, BCGEU Occupational Health and Safety Officer or Staff Representative if you need more information. To learn more about the refusal of unsafe work process and upcoming changes to health and safety legislation, the BCGEU will be in attendance at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital on December 14th from 12-2 pm in room A1707.
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