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Northern Health hit with $355K fine for failing to do adequate safety reports

WorkSafeBC found ‘repeated violations’ following violence against a long-term care worker
WorkSafeBC issued a fine to Northern Health. (Image file.)

Northern Health has been given a hefty fine for failing to conduct adequate workplace investigations at Peace Villa in Fort St. John.

WorkSafeBC handed out a $355,244 fine after an inspection found ‘repeated violations’ following violence against a long-term care worker.

According to WorkSafeBC, they inspected this employer’s worksite, a long-term care facility, in response to an incident of violence against a worker. WorkSafeBC examined the employer’s investigation reports for this and several previous incidents and found that they all lacked key information such as underlying causes and corrective actions.

The employer failed to ensure that a report of its full incident investigation was prepared in accordance with WorkSafeBC policies.

The BC Nurses Union issued a statement that said it was concerned to learn that the Northern Health Authority is the latest health employer to be issued a substantial fine for failing to adequately complete workplace investigations related to safety.

BCNU President Aman Grewal said in the statement she has serious concerns as to whether this penalty is indicative of a systemic oversight by health employers and government on the issue of violence, health, and safety.

An email from Northern Health said the authority is committed to ensuring compliance with BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and will be assessing the penalty and continuing to provide WSBC additional information about the work they have completed between the issuing of the order and the penalty that was given.

“Northern Health has a robust reporting process to address hazards and near-misses to support a strong safety culture and environment,” the statement continued. “Northern Health’s injury rate is lower than the provincial healthcare average, and NH continues work to advance the health and safety management system.”

“In Peace Villa, our measurable rates are trending positively, such as reduced violent interactions. The Peace Villa team continues to improve investigations (including information identified by WorkSafeBC as key for the report, such as job titles and phone numbers), with additional training and on-going support from their Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee.”

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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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