British Columbia

WorkSafeBC has found over 300 violations of COVID-19 safety plans

The agency has conducted 12,646 scheduled and impromptu work site inspections to verify whether employers have a COVID-19 safety plan and whether it's being followed.

More than 12,000 scheduled and impromptu work site inspections have been conducted

All employers in B.C. are required to have health and safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

WorkSafeBC says it has issued more than 300 orders for health and safety violations concerning COVID-19.

The agency conducted 12,646 scheduled and impromptu work site inspections as of July 3, some of which were in response to complaints or concerns.

WorkSafeBC staff have been working to verify whether employers have a COVID-19 safety plan in place at their work sites and whether it's being followed.

All employers in B.C. are required to have health and safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The inspections affect the public and service sectors, trade, transportation and warehousing, primary resources, manufacturing and construction. 

Of the 334 orders issued for health and safety violations, nearly one-third were handed to businesses in the service sector, which includes hotels, restaurants, gyms, hospitals, schools, real estate and hair salons. 

The breakdown of violations is as follows: 

  • Construction, 60
  • Manufacturing, 82
  • Primary Resources, 18
  • Public Sector, 3
  • Service Sector, 104
  • Trade, 65
  • Transportation and Warehousing, 2

WorkSafeBC says its focus is on helping employers get an effective COVID-19 safety plan in place, but if necessary, it will issue orders for non-compliance, stop-work orders if there is a high risk of serious illness, and flagrant violations would justify fines. 

"WorkSafeBC has enforcement tools at its disposal, if needed," the agency said in a statement. "However, we have been finding during the pandemic that the vast majority of employers take this very seriously and want to be in compliance."

The organization says it's received 1,728 reports of potential violations through its prevention information line.

Vancouver bylaw compliance

Meanwhile in Vancouver, bylaw officers have conducted more than 17,000 inspections of restaurants, grocery stores, liquor sales and personal care facilities.  

Of those, 19 businesses were issued orders to correct health and safety violations, and one had its business licence suspended for three days. 

According to the city, despite multiple warnings, that business — a Tim Hortons restaurant at 108 West Pender Street — failed to limit the number of people in the restaurant or limit service to take-out and delivery. 

Beyond orders and suspended business licences, individuals and businesses who violate the city's state of emergency bylaw due to COVID-19 can be fined up to $50,000, face prosecution and injunctions. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said WorkSafeBC had issued more than 300 COVID-19 health and safety violations since July 3. In fact, the violations were issued before July 3.
    Jul 21, 2020 8:57 PM PT

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