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Hundreds of protection officers being hired for B.C health-care facilities


Hundreds of protection officers will be hired through provincial funding in an effort to improve workplace safety in health-care facilities, B.C.'s health minister announced Monday.

Adrian Dix announced the new security model during a morning news conference, saying 320 officers and 14 violence-prevention leads will be hired. Those officers and leads will work across 26 sites that were identified by officials as having the most significant incidents reported.

"We know that most health-care employees have experienced or witnessed violence in their workplaces. And we know workplace violence significantly affects their physical and mental health, requiring health-care employees to take time off work, or worse, leave the health-care field entirely," Dix said.

"This is not a situation we can afford or justify and certainly it's not one we can endure."

Aman Grewal, president of the BC Nurse's Union, shared more during Monday's news conference on what nurses face on the job.

"Nurses are exposed to real violence in the workplace. Our members get punched, kicked, grabbed, spat on, as well as being verbally and sexually harassed," she said. "Our work is dangerous and we know that this danger is underreported and understudied across the health-care system."

Grewal said injury rates among nurses are "on par with if not higher than" rates reported by other first responders.

"We need a health-care system that is safe. One where violence, threatening behaviours, harassment (are) no longer tolerated and normalized," she said.

Dix said workplace safety is one of the "key actions" identified in the province's health human resources plan, which was announced late last month.

Along with the new jobs, the province will also provide $2 million to SWITCH B.C. The organization is leading the province's violence-prevention curriculum that ensures health-care workers receive standard training in violence mitigation and de-escalation.

"This will be a significant addition and change and it will be extremely good news for everyone who visits our hospitals and everyone who works in our hospitals and other health-care facilities," Dix said.

Dix didn't give a timeline on when the officers will be hired, but said "the work is starting," adding there will be action "in this fiscal year." Top Stories

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