Three Coquitlam psych hospital workers attacked by patient

The incident took place inside the facility’s kitchen, and the attack resulted in concussions and injuries to the workers.

Three workers at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) were assaulted by a patient last month, and the incident has led to a pair of outstanding safety orders.

Two suffered concussions after they were attacked in the Coquitlam facility’s kitchen and sustained several injuries.

In a redacted copy of the incident report shared with the Tri-City News, WorkSafeBC explained it’s implementing the safety orders to ensure compliance as the agency found issues with the violence risk assessment documents involved with the specific patient.

As well, in their report, occupational hygiene officer Cris Barzan said the employer must revise the procedures and policies to minimize future risks for workers at the 190-bed hospital.

“The documents provided by the employer include instructions for the workers related to the risk of violence. However, the procedures have deficiencies which do not reduce or minimize the risk of violence,” Barzan said.

“Therefore, I determined that this employer has failed to establish procedures and policies to minimize the risk of violence to workers.”

According to Bazran, the violence risk assessment documents hadn’t been updated in over a year.

The report also stated FPH’s search policy and procedures doesn’t identify steps that have been taken to prevent patients to become violent in certain situations.

Barzan gave FPH an Aug. 7, 2022, deadline to comply with the orders.

A history of safety issues

This adds to a list of workplace safety penalties at FPH, including a provincial-record fine following two separate patient attacks that injured a total of five workers.

The facility was hit with an administrative penalty of $646,304.88, which, at the time, was the maximum fine WorkSafeBC could impose for anything.

In March 2018, two workers were injured after a patient was brought into a seclusion room without risks associated with the patient explained to the workers or the presence of a safety officer.

The second incident took place in May 2018, when three workers were injured when a remand patient with a documented history of violence was admitted without a patient chart to a ward that wasn’t a maximum security unit despite concerns raised by staff. 

WorkSafeBC reports said FPH did not ensure proper procedures to minimize the risk of violence.

“This employer has failed to ensure the health and safety of all workers present at the workplace at which this employer’s work is being carried out,” said one of the reports shared with the Tri-City News, which were published in January 2019.

As well, FPH was slapped with a $75,000 penalty in 2014 when a worker suffered serious injuries after a patient attacked them in the facility’s high-security psychiatric unit.

“The patient had been granted therapeutic privileges for which the employer had not completed a violence risk assessment. WorkSafeBC’s investigation found that the employer had failed to establish and implement policies, procedures, and work environment arrangements to minimize workers’ risk of injury from violence,” WorkSafeBC’s report reads, dated Dec. 3, 2014. 

“The employer also failed to provide workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision needed to ensure their health and safety.”

FPH’s operator was also fined $15,000 in 2016 after WorkSafeBC determined it failed to comply with orders that included the employer’s requirement to train supervisors and workers on health and safety responsibilities.

Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (70 Colony Farm Rd.) treats mentally-ill patients accused of crimes or not found criminally responsible for certain offences.

It’s located in Colony Farm Regional Park and is operated by B.C.’s Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission — a branch of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

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