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

Most categories of crime held steady from year to year in Cumberland. File photo
Cumberland crime numbers hold steady year to year

A few categories had notable changes but many were similar to 2019

The colourful Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.
Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project releases more caterpillars on Hornby Island

Chris Junck Special to Black Press The number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies… Continue reading

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read