St. Mary’s restructures hospital security services

Plant engineers to fill gap resulting from laid-off security officers

In a sign of things to come, the recent restructuring of security services at Saint Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster provides a disturbing glimpse into how one health care facility is preparing to manage future security problems.

Security at that hospital is being handed over to the facility’s plant engineers who will be expected to respond to all codes, including code whites, as well as conduct interior and exterior patrols, and provide escorts to parking lots when needed. That’s on top of their regular job duties.

As to what happens when a security problem surfaces at the same time as a critical incident within the plant — management has told workers the plant takes precedence over security. Not only that, the engineers have not yet received any advanced crisis prevention and intervention training.

Sounds like a recipe for a lot of complaints and serious safety hazards for patients, visitors and staff.

That’s why the HEU local is advising plant engineers that they have the right to refuse to do work that is unsafe. The result of inadequate security training could be an unsafe work environment. And this training has not been provided despite the fact that the employer’s plans have been in place for some time.

The last day of work for the seven laid-off security staff — who are all HEU members — is Friday, August 22.