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B.C. announces new organization to improve safety for healthcare workers

Last Updated Dec 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm PDT

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Summary

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced $8.5 million in funding for the independent organization on Sunday

Workplace injuries are on the rise in the health care and social service sectors

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The provincial government is launching an agency to improve safety and reduce on-the-job injuries for health care workers.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced $8.5 million in funding for the independent organization on Sunday.

A news release says workplace injuries are on the rise in the health care and social services sectors, noting injury claim costs rose to more than $107 million in 2018– an increase of about $11 million from the previous year.

“Health-care providers are there for us when we need them most – they deserve safe and healthy workplaces,” Dix says. “That’s why we are bringing employee and employer groups together and creating a dedicated and independent organization with a strong mandate to address the challenges they face. This new organization represents a significant consensus by all stakeholders that we must do more to protect the health and safety of the skilled health-care workers that all British Columbians depend on.”

The organization will be overseen by representatives from all health sector unions, health employers, and the provincial government.

“Our government has listened to the needs of workers in the health-care sector and is taking action to improve health and safety in the workplace,” says Minister of Labour Harry Bains.

Agreement to launch the new agency was part of the most recent round of labour negotiations with health care workers.

The move is welcomed by the BC Nurses Union.

“We look forward to working with all partner unions and the Ministry of Health to develop a consistent approach to the way health and safety standards are implemented, maintained and adhered to province-wide. We have identified 22 high-risk worksites around the province and look forward to working together with the new organization to properly protect nurses and their patients by increasing safety in our places of work,” says union president Christine Sorensen.