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Health Care and Social Services High Risk Strategy

The Health Care and Social Services High Risk Strategy (HRS) focuses WorkSafeBC resources on high-risk work activities within health care and community social services worksites. Workers in the health care and social services subsector represent approximately 11 percent of B.C.’s workforce. From 2016 to 2020, there were 48,719 time-loss claims — 39.7 percent of these were related to overexertion injuries. Claims related to violence in this subsector accounted for approximately 59 percent of B.C.’s total number of violence-related claims. The 2020 injury rates within health care and community social services reached a high of 10, well above the provincial injury rate of 2.1

Point-of-care interactions between workers and patients or other individuals pose the greatest risk of injury to workers, including serious injuries due to acts of violence. The initiatives in our 2021–2023 HRS strategy focus on work areas and occupations where interactions between the worker and the patient or other individuals can be observed.

Our goals

The goals of the 2021–2023 HRS are to:

  • Reduce the risk of workplace violence and related injuries to health care and community social services workers
  • Reduce health care and community social services workers’ risk of overexertion or musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) due to patient or individual lifting and patient or individual mobility limitations

Our focus

2022 inspectional approach

For 2022 inspections, prevention officers will take a risk-based approach to ensure that the most significant risks are effectively managed. This approach involves workers and employers identifying hazards, evaluating risks, and implementing the appropriate controls specific to the on-site activities. In addition, it focuses on employers ensuring these efforts are effectively communicated to workers and monitored through foundational occupational health and safety systems such as orientations, training, supervision, incident investigations, worksite inspections, and (where applicable) joint health and safety committees that are robust and well supported.

Our focus in 2021–2023 is to:

  • Apply point-of-care inspectional protocols focusing on violence and MSI prevention in the following health care classification units (CUs):
    • Acute care (766001)
    • Alcohol or drug treatment centre (766002)
    • Community health support services (766006)
    • Counseling or social services (766007)
    • Long term care (766011)
  • Enhance the violence prevention focus in residential social services facilities (CU766017) to include the client/resident intake process, worker de-escalation training, communication methods, and workplace planning and design
  • Continue to focus on employer communicable disease prevention activities in 2022
  • Educate employers, workers, supervisors, and joint health and safety committees; build relationships; and encourage safe work practices focusing on violence prevention and MSI prevention

What you can do

The following resources will help you better understand and address some of the health and safety issues we’ll be focusing on with our inspections and initiatives. For more resources and information, please visit our Health Care & Social Services pages.