OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. town calls WorkSafeBC inspection ‘uncommonly gruelling’ and ‘onerous’


August 22, 2022
By The Canadian Press

Compliance & Enforcement Health & Safety british columbia inspection Muncipalities WorkSafeBC

By Kaitlyn Bailey, Prince Rupert Northern View

A report that WorkSafeBC dinged Port Clements with 16 notices of non-compliance orders was presented to the Port Clements council earlier this month.

Officers made an unscheduled and “uncommonly gruelling” inspection of the village’s infrastructure on July 6, Marjorie Dobson, the chief administrative officer stated the report, which she said her staff received July 14.

“The resulting requirements for reporting and gaining compliance with this order are, in public works opinion, a complete priority and onerous, and will have a definite effect on production in other areas of operations,” stated Dobson’s report to council.

Number of potential dangers

In a redacted copy of the Worksafe write-up, the inspector noted a number of potential dangers on village property.

These included freestanding fire extinguishers and propane bottles that weren’t properly secured from falling or rolling during storage, bleach that was poured into a new container without a proper label and a portable bottle eye wash station that was half-full and expired.

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Other order requirements were more focused on procedures, such as the need to host and record monthly safety meetings and create and carry out a program for staff entering confined spaces. The inspector listed some of the village’s confined spaces as the water treatment room, bulk community water tanks and sewer lift stations.

Replacing data sheets that were more than three years old and providing workers with a fit test for respirators were also orders.

Bullying and harassment issues

The final two notices were related to bullying and harassment.

The inspector wrote that the village did not have adequate procedures for workers to report bullying and harassment or for employers to deal with the complaints. According to the report, they also did not provide evidence they had taken reasonable steps to protect workers from bullying and harassment by training staff how to recognize and respond to this behaviour.

Dobson said that some of the orders could be implemented using in-house resources, but others will require external help.

Staff are currently preparing an assessment of costs and time requirements to complete the orders, she said Aug. 5. Therefore, at that time she could not provide an estimate of how much it would cost the village.

Worksafe required notice of compliance reports for each of the 16 orders by Aug. 12, in which they had to outline what detail had been done to comply or a plan of what they will be doing to comply.

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