Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2017)
An attack on a staff member at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) in Coquitlam, British Columbia on June 13, 2017 was evidence of inadequate staff protection at the facility, a statement from the B.C. government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) claims.
A patient who had just been released from Long-term seclusion assaulted an employee. Colleagues could not restrain the assailant immediately because locked doors blocked their access to the area. The worker’s injury was severe enough to prompt a report to WorkSafeBC.
The union criticizes the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), which runs the FPH, for failing to equip staff with sufficient resources and protection against violence. The hospital houses mentally ill patients who have been deemed not criminally responsible for their past actions and/or not fit for trial.
“We have been urging the PHSA to provide suitable protections for staff on par with similar hospitals across Canada, such as body armour, locking pads and meal pass-through doors for those in seclusion,” BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says. “It is unacceptable to continue allowing healthcare workers to be exposed to potentially violent patients without such protections.”
Dangerous conditions at the FPH lead $171,000 fine last fall. According to the BCGEU, WorkSafeBC issued 54 safety orders to the hospital and filed hundred and two inspection reports over the past five years.
Violence in the workplace is becoming a primary problem in most workplaces, not just in healthcare. Hazard assessments MUST be completed and acted upon to ensure worker safety or fines like the one listed above will continue to be issued.
There is no need for government businesses to disregard the evidence and can place a more permanent corrective action plan in place to ensure worker safety.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.