B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains (Black Press Media)

VIDEO: WorkSafe BC increases inspections by 50% as businesses reopen

Random inspections are to ensure businesses follow COVID-19 guidelines, requirements from health officials

WorkSafe BC will focus on random inspections to ensure businesses follow health guidelines and requirements as the province enters Phase Two in its COVID-19 reopening plan.

According to Labour Minister Harry Bains, the work safety organization completed 8,719 inspections from March 22 to April 16 to ensure businesses that were open prior to May long weekend were following protocols ordered by health officials. That’s compared to roughly 4,000 during the same time a year prior.

Since the province initiated its multi-phase reopening plan, businesses from restaurants to gyms to salons have been scurrying to welcoming back customers and clients. WorkSafe BC released a handful of sector-specific guidelines on Friday (May 15).

“This is to make sure businesses have the best safety measures in place and consumers can place their trust when stepping inside of them,” Bains said during a news conference on Thursday (May 21).

Inspectors will be visiting businesses at random to ensure the guidelines, as well as requirements from the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, are being met, Bains added, calling it a “review and inspection regime.”

Employers and business owners with questions can call WorkSafe BC at 1-888-621-7233, he continued.

British Columbians have been eagerly awaiting for social contact restrictions to be eased in order to return to a sliver of normalcy from before the novel coronavirus touched down in the province.

Businesses have been dealt the heavy task of finding a balance between keeping staff and customers safe while also recouping steep financial losses due to the pandemic

Bains said that the province’s website saw 524,000 page views since the guidelines were made public, a 440 per cent increase from previous weeks.

But while these sector-specific guidelines have answered some questions, the information has sparked others.

“The guidelines were never intended as a silver bullet, one size fits all solution,” Bains said. “We expect the same entrepreneurial spirit shown through the epidemic – like the distilleries that pivoted to making sanitizer – to still shine bright as we restart to recover.”

Bains spent much of the Thursday announcement answering inquiries from face mask rules to three-day work weeks.

More to come.

READ MORE: B.C. restaurants can host dine-in guests again, but what will that look like?

COVID-19: Here’s a phase-by-phase look at how B.C. hopes to reopen parts of society


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