Expanded Mandate for SafeCare BC Aims at Reducing Injuries for BC’s Homecare Workers

November 3, 2016 | News

An expanded mandate for SafeCare BC means frontline home care providers will be gaining access to the same tools which have proven successful in reducing workplace injuries for their counterparts in the long-term care sector.

SafeCare BC has confirmed plans to expand their mandate in 2017 to include the rapidly growing community health support services sector. SafeCare BC was established in 2013 through a partnership between BC long-term care employers and WorkSafe BC. The non-profit society is focused on addressing long-term care workplace injury rates that are over four times the provincial average.

WorkSafe BC’s 2016 High Risk Strategy has also identified the community home support sector as a top priority. Recent statistics suggest the injury rate for non-health authority owned-and-operated employers is approaching three times the provincial average.

“Over the first two years of SafeCare BC’s operation, we have started to turn the corner on the high injury rates in the long-term care sector,” said SafeCare BC Board Chair Al Jina. “We want to do the same for the increasingly important home support sector by increasing awareness of safety challenges, promoting solutions and introducing a new safety and learning culture for employers and workers.”

According to 2015 statistics released this summer by WorkSafe BC:

  • total employment in the sector has increased by approximately 34% over the past four years – to a total payroll of $997 million in 2015
  • total work days lost to injuries has increased by 25% – from 29,285 in 2012 to 36,615 in 2015
  • claims costs have gone up by 16.5% – from $6 million in 2012 to $7 million in 2015
  • total number of time loss claims has increased by 33% – from 746 in 2012 to 976 in 2015

Click here for more information regarding the sectors current injury rates.

“Home support workers care for BC’s most vulnerable citizens, but they too are vulnerable,” said SafeCare BC Executive Director, David Hurford. “That is why SafeCare BC is reaching out to employers and front line workers to identify their needs, develop responsive training programs and help create safer workplaces.”

“We wholeheartedly support SafeCare BC plans to improve workplace safety for home care employees,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BC Care Providers Association. “In an era where we are facing human resource shortages, this offers a real opportunity to ensure the existing workforce is as healthy and injury free as possible.”

To guide SafeCare BC’s expansion next year, a comprehensive needs assessment was initiated over the summer that included one-on-one interviews with sector employers, consultation with unions, a comprehensive review of best practices, environmental scan and an on-line survey that received over 1,000 responses from care providers. The results will shape SafeCare BC’s 2017 work plan and be released to the sector in the coming weeks.

For more information on SafeCare BC and the home support sector, contact www.safecarebc.ca