Security lapsing for guards

NANAIMO – Re: Police arrest suspect in break and enter string, April 9.

To the Editor,

Re: Police arrest suspect in break and enter string, April 9.

This incident is generating a fair bit of discussion in both Canada and the U.S. because the safety of the people providing security for clients/employers is often a last thought.

The usual lament on the part of employers is training is too expensive and if they start delivering safety training it will increase the billing rate, make them  less competitive and clients will go to a cheaper (low-ball) security company.

Unfortunately, it’s a lament with some accuracy.

It is true, all too often those that purchase security services, particularly when “security guards” are involved go for the cheapest, but this is a whole other story.

Security companies and clients forget the Workers Compensation Act and Regulations  require workers receive safety training and employers must be compliant with the law.  Due diligence must be met.

So I ask; who’s protecting the protectors? If not employers, then who?

I’ve asked WorksafeB.C. on more occasions than I can count why they are not directing more enforcement and education at the private security industry.

Simply, security flies under the proverbial radar. I don’t think WorksafeB.C. will react until they are faced with another Grant DePatie incident – which this incident could have been.

WorksafeB.C. stats show, consistently, security guards are ranked fourth highest when it comes to exposure to workplace violence – higher than police officers.

And the security industry in B.C. is above the provincial average when it comes to injured workers requiring time-off.

The litany of examples of unsafe work conditions is endless and the risks are well known to employers, clients and the government, yet, nothing has been done or is even contemplated.

At least, not until another security officer is killed on the job and maybe not even then.

When this kind of activity is known to be taking place and has the potential to increase risks to security officers working alone, some kind of information must be passed on to security companies to heighten the awareness of their security workers.

It can be done without compromising an investigation.

Let’s call this a ‘near miss’ that requires an OHS incident investigation. Unfortunately, it will just be yet another security officer endangerment incident that gets swept under the carpet.

Jim Foston

Nanaimo