B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is welcoming report from provinces' Workers' Compensation Board on health and safety concerns at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.
Vancouver (18 Dec. 2013) - The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is welcoming a report from the province's Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) following an inspection of the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (VIRCC). The inspection, carried out by three senior WCB inspectors between November 26-28, has resulted in three orders being written.
VIRCC found in non-compliance
The inspectors found the VIRCC in non-compliance with health and safety regulations in a number of crucial areas including:
- Failure to implement a complete exposure control plan including risk assessment, spill clean up procedures, and instruction and training. The WCB has ordered the employer to revise the exposure control plan to address these deficiencies;
- An outdated risk assessment (conducted in 2004) that places officers at risk of injury from inmate violence due to changes to living units. The WCB has ordered the employer to conduct a risk assessment that includes consideration of the layout of the current configuration of the stainless steel work stations/officer desks as they do not prevent an unexpected act of inmate violence against a Correctional Officer, and safe refuge/egress in the gym and living units, and
- Incident/accident investigations that did not identify all unsafe, conditions, acts or procedures that contributed to the incidents and/or unsafe conditions. This is in contravention to WCB regulations that say investigations must determine the cause or causes an incident, identify any unsafe conditions, acts or procedures that contributed in any manner, and, if unsafe conditions, acts or procedures are identified, recommend corrective action to prevent similar incidents. The WCB has ordered the employer to provide copies of Incident Investigations from December 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014 for review.
BCGEU/NUPGE meets with WCB about problems at jail
Staff representatives from the BCGEU/NUPGE and members from the Component 1 executive have met with WCB representatives to discuss violence inside B.C.’s nine provincial jails. The WCB inspections came about because of these meetings. Concerns raised by BCGEU/NUPGE include but are not limited to:
- Direct supervision model and officer/inmate ratios as risk factors in the violence prevention risk assessments;
- Single Corrections Officer hospital escorts;
- OC spray as personal protection equipment;
- Egress routes and Living Unit Officer Stations, and
- The formation of a tripartite committee (the union, the employer, the WCB) to examine health and safety issues in corrections.
The union will be following up with the WCB to ensure compliance with all orders written as a result of this enforcement strategy in corrections.
Meanwhile, BCGEU/NUPGE is waiting on the WCB report on the recent inspection of the Nanaimo Correctional Centre.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE