The health and safety of the women and men who work in the facility should be the priority of the employer, and we have reached out to them looking for answers.” — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President
Halifax (08 Sept. 2016) — The Nova Scotia government needs to improve safety and staffing at the Waterville Youth Facility in the wake of a violent attack on youth workers, says Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE).
5 workers attacked by young offenders
On the evening of September 4, 5 youth workers were attacked by offenders at the Waterville Youth Facility and 4 of them had to be taken to hospital. When one of the workers was attacked and co-workers came to help, they were rushed and beaten by youth offenders who were able to open the doors in their rooms at the same time, in a coordinated way.
“Youth workers should not fear for their lives when they go to work,” says Jason MacLean, NSGEU President. “The health and safety of the women and men who work in the facility should be the priority of the employer, and we have reached out to them looking for answers.”
Violence escalates at youth facility, health and safety procedures lax, staffing levels drop
“What we would like to see is a thorough debriefing and consultation following this violent workplace incident, with recommendations and timelines for improving safety at the facility as soon as possible,” says MacLean. “This would include training and enhancement of the Health and Safety Committee.”
“Over the years, there has been a steady escalation of violent offenders at Waterville as well as a slow deterioration of safety procedures and a decline in the number of staff. This has to stop," says MacLean.
Workplace attacks can have long-lasting effects
“I commend the members at work on Sunday night for coming to the aid of their co-worker who was attacked, and it is upsetting to hear about the injuries sustained by our members,” says MacLean. “We are hoping for their full recovery and healing, but the reality is these violent attacks often can have lasting effects, both physical and psychological. Our members who are continuing to go to work are feeling vulnerable and understandably nervous, and we are looking for improvements to health and safety procedures going forward.”
President MacLean, along with NSGEU’s Health & Safety Officer and other staff, will be meeting with members who work at Waterville on September 8 to hear from them and offer their support. The NSGEU/NUPGE represents youth workers at Waterville Youth Facility.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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