Nearly 400 COVID-19 safety rule violations found through WorkSafeBC inspections
Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The doctor overseeing Canada's COVID-19 antibody research says we should get the first glimpse of how many Canadians may already have had COVID-19 by the middle of this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER -- After conducting thousands of inspections, WorkSafeBC says it has issued nearly 400 COVID-19 health and safety violation orders.
The agency says orders are issued as a result of an inspection or can be part of a follow-up activity when a prevention officer sees health and safety violations.
Of the 399 orders issued, 134 were in the service sector, which includes businesses like hotels, restaurants, gyms, hospitals, schools, real estate and hair salons.
Ninety-one were issued in manufacturing, which WorkSafe says includes meat processing facilities, breweries, sawmills and pharmaceutical businesses.
There were 80 orders issued for the construction industry, and 68 were issued in the trade sector, which includes supermarkets, retail and wholesale operators, and service stations.
Eighteen were issued in the primary resources industry which includes oil and gas, fishing and agriculture.
Five were issued in transportation and warehousing, and three were in the public sector, which includes government and law enforcement.
The agency says it received 2,342 reports of potential violations and conducted more than 14,000 workplace inspections related to the coronavirus as of July 24.
"We are finding that the vast majority of employers in B.C. take occupational health and safety very seriously and want to be in compliance," Craig Fitzsimmons with WorkSafeBC said in a statement Friday, adding that enforcement measures will be used "when necessary."
WorkSafeBC says the focus of its inspections has been to ensure businesses have a coronavirus safety plan that assesses the risks to workers. It must also implement measures to prevent workplace spread of the virus.
Of the 14,146 inspections conducted, more than 3,000 were done in the trade sector, and more than 5,000 were done in the service industry.
WorkSafeBC has also conducted more than 2,000 COVID-related consultations with employers.
In May, the agency released its pandemic operating guidelines, which businesses have used as a roadmap to reopening.
Some of the rules included reducing or eliminating shared tools and workspaces, mandating masks in some situations, limiting the number of employees or patrons in a workplace.