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Union pleased with WorkSafeBC's response to reports of violence

Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – It’s a national day of mourning for people killed or injured on the job.

Also today, the union representing correctional officers at a Burnaby centre is pleased after a meeting with WorkSafeBC; they talked about the violence a lot of officers experience at the Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre.

Dean Purdy with the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union says WorkSafe is assigning a board officer to look at the violence. He’s hoping the officer will work with occupational health and safety committees to try to reduce violence against employees.

“They will go into the jail unannounced and look at what they’ve been doing, make sure they’re in compliance with regulations and WorkSafe BC policy,” explains Purdy.

He says the officer will look at things like risk assessments — whether one has been done in the past, and whether violence is being dealt with adequately and according to WorkSafe regulations.

“Well it’s a start to have one board officer assigned to one centre; one facility is definitely a step in the right direction,” he tells us.

Last month, we heard from a former correctional officer who says her injuries included a dislocated shoulder, broken fingers, and an ash tray of pencil shavings thrown in her face during her 24 years at the facility.

Purdy says there were 20 assaults at the centre last year, not including threats and near-misses that happen daily.