Public safety violations continue to climb in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as WorkSafe BC has logged over a staggering 1,700 COVID-19 related complaints since the start of the year.
To assist in its education and consultation efforts, WorkSafe BC has created industry-specific resources and guidance to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The Prevention Information Line is often the first point of contact for workers and employers enquiring about health and safety in the workplace.
Specifically, the prevention line may be used to:
- Report a fatality, serious incident or major chemical release
- Report unsafe work conditions (see also Refusing unsafe work)
- Report any other urgent health and safety concern
As of July 3, WorkSafe BC received 11,572 calls to the line, of which 9,823 have been questions and 1,728 are reports of potential violations. The remaining 21 were workplace incidents.
Where a prevention officer observes a health and safety violation, the officer will ordinarily issue an order to the responsible workplace party. As of July 3, WorkSafe BC has issued 334 of such COVID-19-related orders.
The Service Sector (e.g. hotels, restaurants, gyms, hospitals, schools, real estate, and hair salons) represents the lion's share of the orders, with a whopping 104 COVID-19-related orders issued this year. Following it, the Manufacturing sector (e.g. meat processing, breweries, sawmills, and pharmaceuticals) had 82.
The Trade sector (e.g. retail and wholesale operations, supermarkets, and service stations) had the third highest number of orders issued, with 65. The construction sector (e.g. commercial and residential construction, roofing, and mechanical installation) follows in fourth with 60.
The Primary Resources sector (e.g. forestry, oil and gas, fishing, and agriculture) had 18 orders issued, while the Public Sector (e.g. government and law enforcement) had three.
The Transportation and Warehousing sector (e.g. taxis and ride hailing, movers, transit, ferries, recycling depots, warehouses) had two.
The Service Sector
WorkSafe BC issued the highest number of orders in the Service Sector in the Accommodation, Food, and Leisure Services, with 52. Following it, 24 orders were issued to "Unspecified Services."
There were 16 orders issues in Health Care and Social Services, while WorkSafe BC issued seven in Education. There were also three orders issued in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, and two in Business Services.
Today, Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that there are now 3,300 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. after health officials identified 102 new cases over the weekend.
As the province reaches its final phase of the Restart Plan, WorkSafeBC officers will focus on verifying that employers have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their worksite and implements measures to keep their workers safe.