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COVID-19 prompts hundreds of WorkSafeBC action requests

Russell Hixson
COVID-19 prompts hundreds of WorkSafeBC action requests

Hundreds of requests for action are coming from WorkSafeBC’s prevention line regarding COVID-19 safety on construction job sites, new data shows.

“As of April 7, 2020, there have been over 1,000 initiating inspections related to COVID-19,” read a statement from the agency. “Of these inspections, 511 were related to the construction industry. There were 40 orders created as a result of those inspections. To date, 712 action requests have been initiated due to COVID-19 in the construction industry.”   

Officials at WorkSafeBC explained that an action request is first initiated from an inquiry to WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Line.

“Depending on the nature of the action request, a prevention officer may initiate a site inspection,” said a spokesperson. “The common themes for action requests are safety questions about a worksite, reporting an incident and potential violations.”

WorkSafeBC added that proactive inspections are also being conducted in addition to those initiated by an action request.

Officials explained that a prevention officer may initiate a site inspection after reviewing an action request. An inspection report is provided afterwards and an order may be issued if a violation has been found. When an order is issued, this will result in a follow-up inspection to confirm compliance.

While many other businesses have shut their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continues as the province of B.C. has determined construction to be an essential service.

Last month WorkSafeBC also announced an “inspectional initiative” focused on construction job sites to ensure workers were being protected.

WorkSafeBC officials said the inspections would focus on physical distancing, hygiene supplies, washrooms and handwashing stations. Officials noted that enforcement measures are also a possibility if companies aren’t complying with new COVID-19 regulations.

 

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