Staff at Breton Ability Centre express concerns about workplace safety
Some of the workers at a support and training centre for people with disabilities are worried about their own safety.
Their union says violence Inside Sydney River's Breton Ability Centre has resulted in injuries so severe, the workers may never return to their jobs.
On Wednesday, many workers were holding signs and armed with a megaphone to make sure their message is heard loud and clear.
“What they want to do is bring attention to the increase in violence that they're experiencing in their work place,” said Nan McFadgen, the president of CUPE Nova Scotia.
The provincially run centre offers care for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Resident care workers say they have to look after more violent clients recently.
“We have several people off now,” said employee Karen MacMullen. “Some of them will probably never return to work due to their injuries.”
Some of those injuries include sprains, bites, and back problems. The union says more than 40 incidents of aggressive behaviour by clients are reported each week.
The manager of Breton Ability Centre told CTV News they take these concerns very seriously and have met with staff on several occasions. In an email CEO Millie Colbourne says:
“Some of the suggestions that have come forth will be implemented immediately; others may take some time with further discussion, and others we feel may violate the rights of our residents, which we cannot support.”
Colbourne says with the help of the Department of Community Services, some patients have already been relocated and more will continued to be moved to ensure they have the best life they can in the community.
“I think overall, we are looking for a reduction in the number of complex residents that are living together,” MacMullen said. “When they are living together in one small area it kind of has a domino effect.”
The centre has a work environment the union says needs to be improved to protect their workers and the clients they care for.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.