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

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read