BCGEU/NUPGE members and staff have been meeting with provincial representatives and WCB representatives over the conditions of B.C. jails. This review has come about because of that pressure.
Vancouver (07 Oct. 2013) - A Workers Compensation Board (WCB) inspection of the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (KRCC) has resulted in six orders being written. The inspection was carried out by three senior WCB inspectors between September 23-26.
WCB inspection reveals a number of health and safety concerns at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre
The inspectors issued six orders and found the KRCC in non-compliance with health and safety regulations in a number of crucial areas including:
- regular inspections are not being conducted, including work methods and practices, at intervals that would prevent the development of unsafe working conditions (inspectors cited inadequate sight lines in intake rooms and inadequate admissions and discharge area layout)
- the employer has not ensured that unsafe or harmful conditions found in the course of an inspection are being remedied without delay, or that adequate interim measures have been implemented (inspectors cited a lack of corrective actions identified in 2008 risk assessment, not all work had been completed on work station configuration, noise abatement and feeding slots in cell doors)
- work areas have not been arranged to allow the safe movement of people, equipment and materials (inspectors cited work areas with inadequate sight lines to monitor safety and a lack of safe egress routes and slam lock function on doors in visitor area)
- the employer has failed to conduct a current risk assessment in which a risk of injury to workers from violence arising from their employment may now be present (inspectors cited a violent attack 18 months ago, the lack of a risk assessment on the reclassified Living Unit B, impact devices for first responders are inconsistent with other correctional centres and inadequate monitoring of perimeter fence)
- the exposure control plan does not consider some tasks and activities conducted at this facility, and is lacking written instructions for all housekeeping tasks where exposure to biological agents may occur (inspectors cited lack of written procedures, inconsistencies around disinfection times, lack of instructions for supervision of janitorial inmate crews, failure to identify need for specialized clean up contractor, and that only 50% of staff had received ECP training) and,
- respirators which requires an effective seal with the face for proper functioning were issued to workers without performing a fit test (inspectors cited employer records showing that not all workers who could be required to use respirators had been fit tested).
BCGEU/NUPGE have raised concerns over conditions at the province's nine jails
Members and staff of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) have had ongoing meetings with the WCB representatives to discuss violence inside BC’s nine provincial jails. The WCB inspections came about because of these meetings. Concerns raised by your union 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 WCB inspectors are conducting a detailed examination of occupational health and safety documents at each correctional centre. They are also meeting with corrections officers at each facility.
It is crucial that corrections officers who meet with the WCB inspectors provide detailed, specific examples of violations and unsafe working conditions. This has been very beneficial during the inspections that have been carried out and exposed a number of safety violations. The WCB wants to hear from as many officers as possible and encourage all staff to speak to them about the realities that corrections officers must face.
BCGEU/NUPGE is pleased with the WCB inspection and the orders issued at KRCC. It is hoped that the WCB ensures compliance with all orders written as a result of this enforcement strategy in corrections.
The remaining three correctional centres will be inspected in the next few months. The BCGEU/NUPGE will be notified in advance and will keep members informed.
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