October 24, 2012
Beating draws attention to construction security guard safety
WorkSafeBC officers are assessing the operations and safety procedures for security guards who work at Canuck Security Services, after an employee was attacked and brutally beaten at a school construction site in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
“We are conducting an investigation on part of the regulations that deal with working alone or in isolation,” said WorkSafeBC Spokesperson Ally Skinner-Reynolds.
“A risk assessment is being undertaken to make sure the employer has precautions in place to minimize risk to workers when they are alone.”
Hoshiyar Bajwa, who is a security guard with Canuck Security Services, was on shift in the early hours of Oct. 14 at the site of new building under construction at the Pitt River Community Middle School in Port Coquitlam.
Bajwa, 65, was distracted by a man, who gained entry into the site by jumping the fence.
While he spoke to the man, two more men approached him from behind. Bajwa was attacked by all three men and beaten with a metal rod. They fled the scene without stealing anything, leaving Bajwa for dead.
The injured man was able to call for help and was taken to hospital.
He is recovering from a serious eye injury, as well as cuts to his head that required between fifty and 100 stitches.
The incident raises a number of serious issues about the occupational risks associated with security work at construction sites.
A licensed security guard provides a guard patrol or watch of property, which involves monitoring and responding to security alarms installed on the property and preventing the loss of property.
This security service is often performed by older employees, who are working alone and at night.
As part of the Basic Security Training offered by organizations like the Justice Institute or Canuck Security, guards learn to be a witness to any situation.
They are not permitted under any circumstances to confront or get involved with anybody physically.
The training on personal safety includes learning the elements of a safe interview stance and the different positions that could be used in an encounter.
As a result, security guards are trained to always have an escape route in mind. If a situation arises that threatens their personal safety, the security guard is trained to leave the site, get away from danger and call 911.
Security guards at construction sites are protected by a fence and their main tool is a cell phone.
They are not allowed to carry any sort of weapon including a gun, night stick, stun gun, pepper spray or large flashlights.
To protect their safety, security guards must stay alert, continuously assessing their situation and use tactical communication strategies.
For this reason, security guards are often confronted with very difficult or dangerous situations, with a limited set of tools.
Occupation Health and Regulation states that a worker is considered to be working alone or in isolation when he or she does not have assistance that is readily available in case of emergency, injury or ill health.
In this situation, the employer is responsible for developing and implementing a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker, as these working conditions present a risk of disabling injury, if the worker is not able to secure assistance.
The procedure that must be followed by a security firm to check a worker’s well-being includes the designation of a person, probably the dispatcher, to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals, for example every hour.
In addition to checks at regular intervals, a check at the end of the work shift must be done. The results must be recorded.
The interval check must have a procedure to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted.
If this happens, the dispatcher will contact a supervisor, who is responsible for supporting and ensuring the safety of the guards in the field.
In Bajwa’s case, he was able to get up from the beating, go to his car and call the dispatch and 911 at 3:50 a.m. to let them know he was injured, according to Gurjeet (Greg) Lidder, cofounder and owner of Canuck Security Services.
Bajwa’s supervisor Rupinder Sagoo called him back at 3:51 a.m.
As a result of this action, the supervisor, police, fire department and ambulance all arrived on the scene within 15-30 minutes.
The RCMP are investigating the incident and searching for the three men who brutally attacked Bajwa.
The first suspect who approached Bajwa is a white male, about 5’-7’’ tall, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with a stripe.
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