Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

‘We don’t want to shut people down’ for COVID-19, John Horgan says

WorkSafeBC targets inspections to higher-risk Metro businesses

WorkSafeBC is increasing inspections in Metro Vancouver and getting more public employees to help, as it focuses its efforts on workplaces with the highest risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Workplaces where it is difficult to maintain physical distance, workers interact with large numbers of people or come into frequent contact with shared surfaces, tools and equipment are the top priority for extra inspections, says Al Johnson, head of prevention services for the B.C. government’s workplace regulator. That includes employer screening of workers for symptoms, and following plans “to the letter.”

“The focus of our inspections is to ensure employers are effectively implementing measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, including health screenings,” Johnson said Nov. 10. “We are urging employers to stay vigilant, including revisiting their existing COVID-19 safety plan and updating it as conditions change.”

Premier John Horgan announced this week that more public service staff are being transferred to help beef up inspections, particularly in Metro Vancouver where most of B.C.’s spike in COVID-19 infections is concentrated. He emphasized that B.C.’s approach is to help employers, not impose penalties on them, after WorkSafeBC completed 18,000 inspections, more than 3,000 COVID-19 consultations and issued 667 orders for health and safety violations up to Oct. 30.

“We don’t want to shut people down,” Horgan said Nov. 9. “We don’t want to issue tickets. We want people to act responsibly.”

RELATED: Legion, veterans’ groups get federal assistance

RELATED: TransLink tests antimicrobial coating for buses

The additional inspectors come from liquor enforcement and other provincial agencies, along with municipal bylaw officers.

“We need to make sure we are transferring more inspectors to public health and we will do that,” Horgan said. “We need to make sure that WorkSafe is focussed not just on employee safety, but patron safety as well. And we need to create ways to ensure we are reducing risky behaviour, reducing work places that have risky behaviour and we do that through, I believe, helping for compliance rather than rigorous enforcement.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

The TNRD is undertaking a Master Trails Plan for the community of Blue River. (Darcy Lawrey / Pexels Photo)
TNRD to develop trails plan for Blue River

A survey is available for public input on the TNRD website.

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
District of Clearwater council approves tax rate increases for 2021

The 2021 tax rate bylaw will see adoption May 6.

Ian and Roger Nadeau are shown in front of one of their Thompson Valley Charters coaches. (TVC photo)
Hwy 5 Kamloops to Edmonton bus run delayed until May 20

Thompson Valley Charters delays start of new route to abide by BC Health travel advisory

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read