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BC Sessional Papers

FIRST REPORT OF THE PROVINCIAL SANITARY INSPECTOR. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1912

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 FIRST REPORT
OF   THE
PROVINCIAL SANITARY INSPECTOR
To the Honourable the Provincial Secretary,
Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit the first Annual Report on the Provincial Sanitary
Inspector's office, being for the six months ending Slst December, 1911.
In assuming my duties as Provincial Sanitary Inspector, the first consideration was the
organization of my office and preparation of rules and other matter relating to the sanitation
of camps.
In addition to the regular routine work of this office, I have, under your direction, made
four trips to the following places upon official duty:—
1. Blubber Bay, Texada Island, investigating a case of small-pox.
2. Investigation of the buildings and sanitary conditions at the farm colony at Coquitlam.
3. Inspection of railroad-construction camps in the vicinity of Savona, and investigating
a reported outbreak of typhoid.
4. Inspection of mining, logging, and other camps in the Crow's Nest, Kootenay, Boundary,
and Okanagan districts. During this latter trip the weather was so bad that it was not possible
for me to extend my investigation to far-outlying camps.
Judging from my limited experience during the past few months, it appears that the
sanitary conditions in railroad, logging, mining, and other camps throughout the Province
are not, upon the whole, satisfactory. I have found a number of cases where proper attention
has not been paid to ventilation, disposal of garbage, etc., although in every case the person
responsible for the camp has at once rectified the matter on my suggestion. In this connection,
I should like to state that in every instance I have met with nothing but kindness and courtesy
from those responsible for the operation of the various camps.
The rules which have been made relative to the sanitation of camps have been printed
and distributed among the camps throughout the Province, and advertised in newspapers
throughout the Province. A form containing questions relative to the conditions existing in
individual camps has also been distributed.    Copies of both these papers are annexed hereto.
From the reports received from the outside camps, as well as my personal experience,
I find that, with very few exceptions, the water-supply is first-rate, the water being plentiful
and good. In a number of what may be called permanent camps there have usually been erected
a number of cottages which have been built and are occupied by the men themselves. These
buildings are usually well built, complete, and fairly sanitary.
Except in a few cases, the stables have been located with due regard to sanitary conditions.
The usual method of disposing of refuse and garbage is by burial, but in several instances
the garbage is burnt, while in a number of cases hogs are kept and fed upon the refuse from
the kitchen. The latrines are usually of the open-earth type, but in a number of instances
I have found the arrangements in this connection far from sanitary. In some instances closets
have been built over running water, but this practice has been stopped wherever I have heard
of it.
The question of the ventilation of bunk-houses is a somewhat difficult one. The usual
method is by leaving a space in the roof or gables, but during wet and stormy weather the
ventilation of the smaller bunk-houses presents a serious problem. Clothes are frequently dried
in the same room as that in which the men sleep, and unless the windows and doors are kept
open, which is impossible in bad weather, the atmosphere becomes very close. This Department proposes to enforce the rules and regulations referred to above in every
respect. While it is not intended to bring about any necessary changes in such a manner that
hardship will be entailed, yet the Department believes that the health of the men is the first
consideration. I propose to make it clearly understood that no wanton breach of the departmental rules and regulations will be permitted.
Contractors are, generally speaking, far too careless about the treatment of an injured
man. The Department does not believe that there is any reason why an injured man should
be kept for hours without medical attendance. The larger contractors are perfectly able to
pay for the services of physicians, and there seems to be considerable laxity in this regard.
It is clearly impossible for one medical man to properly attend to the men in half a dozen
camps situated several miles apart.
I have now under consideration the question of formulating a regulation which will make
it compulsory for all camps to keep on hand a complete first-aid equipment, with simple
directions for its use.
A considerable number of inquiries have reached me in connection with this newly formed
Department, and in addition to this there has been a considerable amount of general correspondence.
Now that this branch of the Service has been organized, it will, I hope, be possible in
the future to maintain a better supervision over camps and to ameliorate the conditions under
which a large and important body of workers live.
Victoria, B.C., 3rd January, 1912.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient servant,
L. T. DAVIS, M.D.
VICTORIA,  B.C. :
Printed by William H.  Cdllin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1912.

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