OPSEU video reveals security equipment challenges at Waypoint
Publication DateFriday, July 22, 2016 - 1:00pm
Penetanguishene – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is releasing a new video today that highlights the multitude of problems with security equipment at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.
Waypoint is home to some patients who have been found not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial by the courts. Workers say patient-on-staff attacks are becoming more frequent and more severe since the move to a new building in May of 2014. The security equipment that is supposed to protect caregivers often malfunctions, and staff are not confident they will receive the help they need in the event of an attack.
In the third installment of OPSEU’s video series Through the shadows, a worker describes the current security situation at Waypoint. “The technology that was supposed to make things simpler fails quite often, which results in lockdowns, which results in patients getting agitated, which in the long run makes things more dangerous.”
Adding to the already dangerous situation for workers at Waypoint is a lack of metal detectors in key areas of the maximum security facility. In April of this year, a patient was able to take a screwdriver from a job training program, bring it back to the ward, and use it to stab a nurse in the back. Since then, there have been at least three more incidents of patients attacking caregivers.
“We are continuing to put pressure on Waypoint and the Ontario government to take a good look at what’s happening at this workplace and take concrete steps to improve worker health and safety ,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, who has worked in the mental health field for most of his adult life.
“I encourage everyone to watch these videos and to understand the bravery and the desperation of these workers. They are telling their stories because they fear someone is going to get killed at work. How much more blood needs to be spilled before they are heard?”
For more information: Pete Sheehan, 705-209-9050