Nurses rally at the B.C. legislature, calling for safer working conditions, 2015. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. nurses, emergency dispatchers get help for work-related trauma

WorkSafeBC changes also extend to publicly funded care aides

Treatment for work-related post-traumatic stress disorder is being extended to emergency dispatchers, nurses and care aides in B.C.

Labour Minister Harry Bains announced that post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental conditions are being extended to those job categories in workers compensation regulations, effective Tuesday. The regulation already covers police, paramedics, sheriffs, correctional officers and firefighters.

The changes “are about fairness and support for workers who receive higher-than-average mental harm due to the jobs they do on behalf of British Columbians,” Bains said.

B.C. Nurses Union president Christine Sorensen said the change is a welcome result after years of the union’s campaign to highlight violence against nurses and other health care workers.

READ MORE: Two nurses attacked at B.C. psychiatric hospital

Jennifer Whiteside, secretary-business manager for the Hospital Employees Union, said care aides respond to unexpected deaths, including suicides, as well as threats and intimidation.

Oliver Gruter-Andrew, CEO of E-Comm, the largest 9-1-1 call centre in B.C., said dispatchers “are the first contact for people experiencing trauma and that’s often traumatic for them as well.”

The regulation change means employees in designated jobs are presumed to be covered if they are diagnosed with the stress-related condition and medical evidence shows it is work related.

A similar change was announced last week for cancer, heart disease and mental-health disorders for wildfire fighters, fire investigators and firefighters working for Indigenous organizations.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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