Archive for the 'Health & Safety' Category
via BC Federation of Labour
Please note that the screening of the film “Breathtaking” originally scheduled for June 1st has been postponed.
We felt that this event was too important to be left to compete with the Canucks hockey schedule. We are seeking a new date for this event, possibly June 16, 2011. Please stay tuned for confirmation of a new date and time.
As many of you know, we have been working hard to organize some events to recognize our first Injured Workers’ Day on June 1st in BC. The B.C. Federation of Labour will be sending a delegation to Victoria on May 31st to lobby on OHS and compensation issues, as well as to talk about the importance of recognizing Injured Workers’ Day in BC. In addition, we have planned the following event on the evening of June 1st (stay tuned for more activities).
Please find attached a copy of our notice for the screening of the Canadian documentary Breathtaking, directed by Kathleen Mullen.
This film is her personal journey into the asbestos industry in Canada, following the death of her father, Richard, from mesothelioma. The film will be followed by an expert resource panel, question and answer period.
- DATE: June 1, 2011 – Injured Workers’ Day
- TIME: 7:00 pm
- PLACE: Fifth Avenue Cinemas, 2110 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC
For more information about the film visit www.kathleenmullen.com
On April 28, 2011, PSAC members are participating in the National Day of Mourning activities to remember those killed or injured in the workplace.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the official recognition of the Day of Mourning.
Unfortunately, having the Day of Mourning officially recognized by governments has not helped with the ongoing tragedy taking place in Canadian workplaces. The statistics on workplace fatalities have stayed high over the last two decades. According to the most recent information available, in 2007 there were 1,055 workplace fatalities in Canada, in 2008 there were 1,038 workplace fatalities, and in 2009 there were 939 workplace fatalities in Canada.
Even more distressing is the fact that these numbers are terribly inaccurate, as many fatalities and injuries that are caused by diseases contracted in the workplace are not recognized.
Despite these horrific statistics, governments in Canada are systematically weakening health and safety laws and failing to enforce those health and safety laws in place for the protection of workers.
Because of this, employers fail to place a high priority on health and safety, and when they do address health and safety issues, workers are blamed for the accidents and injuries that take place in the workplace through the establishment of behavioural based safety programs and the aggressive challenging of workers’ compensation claims.
The PSAC is continuing to push the federal government to make compliance and enforcement of legislated health and safety protections a reality.
PSAC is demanding that provincial and territorial governments act to save the lives of workers, by establishing special prosecutors in their jurisdictions to enforce the law and launch criminal prosecutions against employers whose violations of health and safety laws and regulations leads to workplace deaths and injuries.
Day of Mourning Activities
Locals should ensure that on April 28th a minute of silence is observed at 11:00 a.m. in all work locations and that the Canadian flag is lowered to half mast at all federal buildings and establishments.
Members in all Locals should be encouraged to participate in the Day of Mourning observances organized by the Local or Local Labour Council. As well, Locals should ensure that the PSAC is well represented at their District Labour Council’s Day of Mourning events.
Let us collectively ensure that this year’s Day of Mourning observances and our actions afterwards make certain that never again will any day be the day that any worker dies at work.
The National Day of Mourning was established in Canada at the urging of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984, and is now recognized in over 80 countries around the world. The 28th of April is the day that workers and unions mourn for the dead and fight for the living. On this day, we find inspiration to redouble our efforts to keep workers both safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, the annual observance of this day has not made Canada safer for workers. Over the past decades, successive governments have pledged their support to workers and their unions. They have announced new workplace health and safety laws and regulations — some of the best in the world. Regrettably, the resources needed to enforce those laws have not always been provided.
Canada’s workplaces have been claiming a growing number of lives every year because our health and safety laws have not been enforced. The number of fatalities is staggering, but there is opportunity for action. Special prosecutors have been appointed in Nova Scotia and in Manitoba, while in Ontario and Québec, criminal charges have been laid, hopefully putting an end to reckless employers carrying on without consequences. We need more prosecutions to send a message.
The B.C. Federation of Labour and the Vancouver District Labour Council invite you to pay tribute to workers who have been injured or killed on the job or died of an occupational disease.
- Day of Mourning
- April 28, 2011, 8:00 am – 9:00 am
- Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC
Bring your own union banners and invite co-workers, friends and family members to attend with you.
Events around the Province …
- Kamloops & District Labour Council – St. Andrews, Seymour Street, Kamloops, BC (6:00 pm)
- Peace River District Labour Council – Walk from City Hall to Centennial Park, Fort St. John, BC (12:00 pm)
- North Central Labour Council – Workers’ Memorial Statue (at Patricia Blvd. & Queensway), Prince George, BC (12:00 pm)
- South Cariboo Labour Council – Ceremonies at the City Hall Cenotaph, Williams Lake, BC (11:00 am)
- Quesnel & District Labour Council – Monument on Anderson Drive (next to the Firehall on the West Side), Quesnel, BC (5:30 pm)
- North Okanagan Labour Council – Ben Lee Park (near Leathead Rd. & Holly Rd.), Kelowna, BC (12:30 pm)
- New Westminster & District Labour Council – Burnaby City Hall, Burnaby, BC (12:00 pm)
- Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council and United Steelworkers – Lake Cowichan Woodworkers Memorial (near Kaatza Museum), Lake Cowichan, BC(10:00 am)
- Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council – Pioneer Plaza (intersection of Front & Bastion Streets), Nanaimo, BC (1:30 pm)
- Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council – City Hall, Parksville, BC (4:30 pm)
- March 9-10, 2011
- Vancouver Airport Domestic Terminal – Room 4185, 4th Floor
- To Register visit www.healthandsafetybc.ca
- Registration Deadline: February 23, 2011
- Course Cost: $125.00 per person
This program aims to prepare workers and other workplace parties in the Federal jurisdiction to play an active and confident role on joint committees. Participants will discuss and develop strategies to improve working conditions through the joint committee structure. They will review relevant legislation, principles of control along with processes and strategies for inspections and investigations. The legal requirements for the development and implementation of hazard prevention programs in workplaces under federal jurisdiction is also reviewed.
In order to reserve your seat your course fees must be received 7 days prior to the course date. The minimum course size is 10 participants. Courses will be cancelled prior to course date if the minimum number is not registered. Refunds will be issued with 7 days cancellation notice only.
In Attendance: Susan Yaciw UTE 20003, Martha Johnson UVAE 20035, Kelly Megyesi CEIU 20915, Annette Hale USGE 20153, Roberta Gourlie CEIU 20915, Darrell-Lee McKenzie AGR 20043, Linda Woods NAT 20140,
Joy Harrison APSAR, Regina Brennan PSAC Reg’l Rep
The meeting was called to order at 4:30pm with Kelly Megyesi in the chair.
Minutes: Minutes from June 26, 2010 were reviewed and accepted m/s/c
Treasurer’s Report: m/s/c
Kelly to email to Martha for inclusion in minutes
1) Kelly – Road trip
Discussion: wherever possible we must try to anticipate costs and budget for them
Reimbursement to Kelly of $119.24 costs incurred as result of road trip.
Motioned: Kelly, Seconded: Martha No objections: Motion Carried
Discussion: upcoming events covered in Area Council Meeting
** Need for young workers
Some Day International
Kelly motioned that the Women’s Committee donate $100.00; Seconded by Darrel-Lee; no
objections: motion carried
Web link: http://www.somedayisnowinternational.org
Promotional Pens – provider ended up having to pay for pens & has offered to committee for
purchase at ½ price (approximately $0.60 each)
Susan motioned to purchase; Seconded by Annette; No objections: motion carried.
Have a Clue – concept – propose set up 1 day program (ie – mini conference) for women on
May 1st & our Committee Host Penticton & Vernon Areas. Location – possibly Naramata.
− Minimal charge per person to include meals
− possible avenues for funding from PSAC to be explored
Adjourned at 6.30 pm
In Attendance: Susan Yaciw UTE 20003, Martha Johnson UVAE 20035, Kelly Megyesi CEIU 20915, Annette Hale USGE 20153,Roberta Gourlie CEIU 20915, Darrell-Lee McKenzie AGR 20043, Linda Woods NAT 20140,
Joy Harrison APSAR,Regina Brennan PSAC Reg’l Rep
The meeting was called to order at 4:30pm with Susan Yaciw in the chair.
Minutes: Minutes from June 26, 2010 were reviewed and accepted m/s/c
-UVAE 20035 Dues cheque received
Kelly to contact Kelowna CEIU re: outstanding dues
Roberta to follow up with Penticton CEIU
1) Kootenay Road Trip went well and high number of attendees were helpful
2) Regina completed report & will forward for attachment w/ minutes
3) Darrell-Lee and Martha commented on face to face meeting with Stockwell Day.
Written reports to follow with minutes.
Reports to be forwarded to Alex Atamanenko
1) Regional Council Update:
- BC Fed Convention November 29 – December 3/10
- Regional Convention call-out: November 2010
- PSAC National Women’s Conference – October 21 – 24 – Ottawa
Darrell-Lee motioned to sponser observer to National Women’s Conference to max of $500.00
Roberta seconded. Motion carried
- The BC Regional Convention is May 13 – 15, 2011 in Vancouver
- Roberta and Susan – BC Reg’l elections to follow
Patrick will be having banners made for each Area Council featuring new logo & colours
2) Regional Office Update:
- Catherine Kirkwood – ½ time administration
- Patrick – FT communications
- Seth Sazant – transfer from Ottawa – negotiator for next year
- Erica Yang – new youth rep
** anyone needing business cards please ask Regina
Union School November 5 – 7 – application deadline Oct 4/10
September 25 & 26 – DTA – Penticton
Adjourned at 5.25pm
A Publication of the Workers Health & Safety Centre – December 20, 2010
Canadian researchers are creating a database profiling approximately 170 substances they’ve determined to be high, possibly high and moderate priority occupational carcinogens.
These researchers, working collectively as CAREX Canada and funded by Health Canada believe “This database will be an important resource not only for the CAREX project, but for all involved in workplace exposure prevention and research.”
With just 33 profiles completed to date (December, 2010) estimates for Canadians exposed to carcinogens at work already exceed 7,000,000. The most common exposure is 2,800,000 Canadians who work shifts with potential for circadian disruption. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies shift work as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). Other examples include more than 800,000 Canadians exposed to diesel engine exhaust, 42,000 to formaldehyde and 17,000 to antineoplastic drugs.
Additional exposure information being entered into the database for each profiled carcinogen includes carcinogenic evidence, common uses, regulatory information and potential sources for both worker and environmental exposures. According to CAREX Canada, the database allows for further breakdown of worker exposure estimates by province or territory as well as industries and occupations.
In their preliminary priority report published April 1, 2009, CAREX Canada noted the major limitation for prioritizing which carcinogens to target first is that similar data were not available for all substances considered. Also of note was their decision to not include workplace environmental tobacco smoke and occupational sun exposure as high priority carcinogens (even though they explained both would deserve this prioritization). They explained “Both sun and tobacco have well-established prevention programs in Canada supported by strong networks and institutions. The same cannot be said for most other exposures considered in this prioritization.”
Workers and the general public continue to pay the price for this lack of preventive action when it comes to workplace and environmental carcinogens. Many researchers believe between eight and 16 per cent of all cancer deaths are work-related. Based on these estimates and statistics provided by Canadian Cancer Society, between 6096 and 12,192 Canadians will die in 2010 from work-related cancer.
Other researchers though caution against the attempt to attribute percentages of exposures to a single type of carcinogen. “Due to advances in molecular biology, researchers now know that cancer develops from a complex multi-factorial web of causes,” writes renowned cancer researcher, Richard W. Clapp and his associates in their 2007 follow up review of environmental and occupational causes of cancer (Their first review was published in 2005.). They conclude though, this complexity should not stop us from taking action, quite the contrary:
In the 1970s there were approximately a dozen substances or exposures that were considered “established” human carcinogens by international agencies. That number now approaches 100, with many more considered “likely” to cause cancer in humans. As we noted in our previous review, incidence rates for many types of cancer in the U.S. continue to rise, although we welcome the apparent decline in lung cancer in males and soon in females. The cancer burden, defined as the number of people living with cancer, with the attendant economic and human costs, will inevitably continue to grow. This justifies urgent action to limit exposures to avoidable environmental and occupational carcinogens and to find safer alternatives to present chemical and physical risks. To repeat the call of ecologist Sandra Steingraber, “From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act.”
Andy King, national health, safety and environment department leader, United Steelworkers Union (USW) and member of the CAREX Canada Advisory Committee agrees with the need for action. “CAREX Canada gives us the power to identify people at risk all across Canada. The ball is now in our court to take this info to our members and communities to make the difference. Our training and activism must reflect this. “
Want to know about the many WHSC training programs designed to raise awareness about carcinogens and the steps needed to prevent or control worker exposure? Call 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a training service representative or contact a WHSC near you (http://www.whsc.on.ca/contact/contact.cfm ).
Want to view the current list of profiled carcinogens from the CAREX Canada? (http://www.carexcanada.ca/en/carcinogen_profiles_and_estimates/)
Want to read a CAREX fact sheet Estimating carcinogen exposure using existing Canadian data? (http://www.carexcanada.ca/CAREX_Canada_Occupational_Carcinogen_Surveillance.pdf )
Want to read WHSC fact sheets on asbestos, lead, diesel exhaust and other carcinogens? (http://www.whsc.on.ca/pubs/res_lines.cfm )
Want to read a recent WHSC article on shift work? (http://www.whsc.on.ca/whatnews2.cfm?autoid=646 )
Workers Health & Safety Centre
802 – 15 Gervais Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8
Tel: (416) 441-1939
Toll Free: 1-888-869-7950
Executive Director: Dave Killham
Director, Information Services: Loretta Michaud
Editor: Marty White
Submissions are encouraged. Reproduction is permitted, provided the source is acknowledged and a copy sent to the Director, Information Services.
Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Canadian Human Rights Act recognizes environmental sensitivities as a disability, therefore, they must be considered as any other medical condition. More and more employees report having adverse reactions to substances commonly found in the workplace environment. Products such as perfumes, certain foods, certain cleaning or latex products, can trigger reactions in some people from mild to serious.
Under the Canada Labour Code, Part II, managers and employees alike are responsible collaboratively for the health and safety of others in the workplace and are expected to work together in finding solutions to reduce/eliminate or prevent incidents from occurring in the workplace.
“What are your obligations under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code, Part II?”
Employees with environmental sensitivities: You have the responsibility to inform your manager/supervisor.
Managers/Supervisors: Once informed by your employee, you have the Duty to Accommodate, and the responsibility to take corrective measures. You are expected to work in collaboration with your employee and your workplace OHS Committee to find corrective measures and implement them expeditiously.
Employees: Once you have been informed by your manager, it is your duty to follow the corrective measures put in place by the manager.
Ottawa – The Canada Labour Code violation charges over a boiler explosion that killed engineer Peter Kennedy are a welcome step, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada today. The charges come one year after Kennedy, a PSAC member, was killed in the tragic accident at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant near Parliament.
Public Works and Government Services Canada must be held accountable for health and safety violations in the workplace, and the federal government must take action to prevent further workplace injuries and fatalities.
Federal health and safety officers are recommending a string of charges against their own employer — the Canadian government — in connection with a boiler explosion that killed an engineer in Ottawa last year.
Documents obtained by CBC News show that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada recommended charges of violating the labour code against the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada after an April investigation.
“There’s hardly any examples of a federal government employer being charged with a health and safety violation,” labour lawyer Paul Champ said. “It’s going to be a really big deal legally if they charge them.”
The explosion occurred Oct 19, 2009, at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant at 1 Fleet St., the building that heated the Houses of Parliament. Shift engineer Peter Kennedy, 51, died after suffering second-degree burns to 60 per cent of his body. Another worker was seriously injured. Investigators who visited the plant this spring say they found a series of basic safety violations, which are detailed in the series of directives ordering Public Works to fix the problem obtained by CBC.
Attending: Jamey Mills, Megan Adam, Sharon Tieman, Allen Schofield, Fe De Castro, Cindy Zhou, James Painter, Monica Urrutia
- Agenda Adopted
- Minutes from previous meeting referred back with additions
- Bill C-10, some planning/discussion about possibility of doing an event around Pay Equity restrictions. Peter Julian? David Eby? Action Committee struck: Allan, Jamey, Megan, Sam. Goal – have a C-10 forum between April-June
- Haiti Donation
- Donation appeal re: Haiti relief fund
- Motion – $100 – Jamey/Sharon to SJF for Haiti initiative
- Carried unanimously
- PSAC campaign – Monica
- March 2nd forum
- Can we do something after the Olympics to get more members out?
- Plan 2010
- April-May C-10 Forum
- May 1st – VDLC activities
- June – Bargaining Forum
- Labour Day – Sept 6th
- September BBQ – invite all partners
- October AGM
- Executive meet to plan bargaining forum – March, Exec Meeting?
- Affiliate Reports
- UPCE 20101 – Like the pension campaign. Bad employer issues, no more banked sick leave – duty to accommodate not being met in many instances.
- GSU 20008 – Olympics, hours of work issues. JLP in Jan. Tom Gallagher will be retiring.
- CIU 20938 – Allan Scofield – peer-run ergonomic assessments fightback in the workplace. Bill – PWGSC working on standing offers re: erg assessment.
- UEW 20147 – Classification & Salmon Inquiry major issues in workplace.
- VDLC – UNITE HERE activities upcoming. Build a Better BC Coalition.
- AGR – Surplus/layoff of 12, Western Import Service Centre centralized. CFIA moving to 7-day workweek in microbiology labs. H&S concerns. Low morale.
- UTE 20027 – won group classification grievance. Pension plantgate. Olympics – transfer of employees to other worksites. H&S – 1st time CRA didn’t lose a day in 2009. 400 new members throughout BC due to HST.
Public Service Alliance of Canada – British Columbia Regional Union Safety and Health (BRUSH) – Minutes, March 31, 2010
Chair: Sam Wiese (Regional Councilor, H&S)
In Attendance: Alice Woods (UCTE), Leanne Hughes (NAT), , Louise Richard (NAT), Bob Jackson (AGR), Tracey Shudo (CEIU), Virginia Vaillancourt (UVAE), Monique Bakker (UEW), Bob Bridgeman (UNDE), Barry Cunningham (UCTE), Linda Harding (GSU), Angela Marafon (UTE), James Little (PSAC, H&S).
Regrets: Wayne Little (UTE), Melvin Dureen (USGE), Bill Pleming (GSU), Gail Jewsbury (UEW), Susan Yaciw (UTE), Laura Gracie (CEIU, Jim Sidel (DCL).
Continue reading below, or download the BRUSH Minutes March 31, 2010 (pdf)
Federal government undermining workplace safety
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently released two studies highlighting the need for improved health and safety enforcement and regulation.
According to Success is No Accident, by CCPA Research Associate David Macdonald, federal underfunding and understaffing of safety inspectors are putting federal jurisdiction employees in harm’s way. The study provides several recommendations for improving federal workplace safety. Click here to read the full report.
Canada’s Regulatory Obstacle Course, CCPA Senior Economist Marc Lee’s analysis of the federal government’s new Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation (CDSR), suggests that the government’s poor record on workplace safety is not an isolated case but may reflect an across-the-board weakening of the federal regulatory process.Click here for the full report.
Cuts to federal inspections are leading to disabling injuries and deaths
OTTAWA–The Public Service Alliance of Canada is demanding that the Harper government take action to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities, after a damning report revealed that it has been negligent in protecting workers under its jurisdiction.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the federal government is putting workers at risk by under funding and under staffing federal safety inspection. The federal government is responsible for protecting its own employees, those at Crown corporations such as Canada Post, as well as workers in the airline and trucking industries.
The rate of disabling injuries in federally regulated workplaces increased by 5 per cent between 2002 and 2007 while the provinces have managed to cut their disabling workplace injuries by an average of 25 per cent over the same time frame.
April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed or injured on the job. PSAC joins with union activists across Canada and Quebec to remember the fallen and fight for change.
This year, the Canadian Labour Congress asks, “Is today the day you die at work?” If current trends continue, this question could prove to be more than rhetorical.
Last year was the 25th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning, and labour activists revealed that 25,000 workers had died from injuries and work-related diseases in Canada since the day’s inception.
Forty years after the first Earth Day celebrations, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.
When Someone Dies at Work, Whole Families are Harmed
The B.C. Federation of Labour, the New Westminster and District Labour Council and the Vancouver District Labour Council invite you to pay tribute to workers who have been injured or killed on the job or died of an occupational disease.
- April 28, 2010, 7:30 am – 8:30 am, Vancouver Art Gallery
Bring your own union banners and invite co-workers, friends and family members to attend with you.
Here is a list of other April 28th events taking place throughout BC:
- Abbotsford, City Works Yard – 11AM – Fraser Valley Labour Council
- Victoria, Belmont High School – time TBA – Victoria Labour Council
- Gibsons, McDougall Park – 11AM – Sunshine Coast & District Labour Council
- Delta/Ladner, Rotary Park – 10:45AM – CUPE Local 454
- Revelstoke, Worker’s Memorial Arch – 12 noon – Shuswap Columbia & District Labour Council
- Nanaimo, Harbour Front Square – 1PM – Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council
- Duncan, Brae Road – 9AM – Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council
Federal Health & Safety Committee Training – delivered by the BC Federation of Labour Health & Safety Centre
- Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street
- June 1 & 2, 2010 – 8:30 am–4:30 pm
- Course Cost: $150.00 for 2 days
This two-day course aims to prepare workers in the Federal jurisdiction to play an active and confident role on their workplace Joint OH&S Committees.
Participants will discuss and develop strategies to improve working conditions through the Joint Committee structure. They will review relevant legislation, principles of control along with processes and strategies for inspections and investigations. The legal requirements for the development and implementation of hazard prevention programs in workplaces under Federal jurisdiction is also reviewed.
To register or for more information contact the BC Fed Health and Safety Centre toll free at 1-888-223-5669, 604-430-1421 in Vancouver, or visit bcfed.ca.
Public Service Alliance of Canada – British Columbia Regional Union Safety and Health (BRUSH) Committee minutes - January 6, 2010
Chair: Sam Wiese (Regional Councilor, H&S)
In Attendance: Alice Woods (UCTE), Leanne Hughes (NAT), Wayne Little (UTE), Louise Richard (NAT), Bob Jackson (AGR), Tracey Shudo (CEIU), Melvin Dureen (USGE), Virginia Vaillancourt (UVAE), Monique Bakker (UEW), Gail Jewsbury ((UEW), Susan Yaciw (UTE), Kelly Megyesi (CEIU), Lorraine Plummer (NHU), Paul Croes (CEIU), Bob Bridgeman (UNDE), Al Johnston (NHU), Bill Pleming (GSU), Linda Harding (GSU),James Little (PSAC, H&S) and Kay Sinclair (REVP BC).
Regrets: Laura Gracie (CEIU), Angela Marafon (UTE), Anita Hoffman (CEIU), Grace McIvor (NHU), Jim Sidel (DCL), Barry Cunningham (UCTE), Sargy Chima (CEIU), Bonnie Heidt (UVAE).
Continue reading below, or download the BRUSH Committee minutes (pdf)
- Roll Call
- Accepting the Agenda
- Review Previous Minutes
- Update on National H&S Conference
- New Business
- Member Survey
- Health Canada – Reduction of Service
- Light station de-staffing update
- Local 60 “Greening the Environment”
- Environmental Issues and H&S
- Sick Leave
- First Aid
- Round Table
1. Introduction/Roll Call – Sam conducted a roll call and expressed members regrets
2. Agenda Approved- First Aid was added to the agenda under New Business
3. Review of Previous Minutes
- Members reviewed the previous minutes and issues arose in two areas: Armed Members and Ergonomics.
- Armed Members – Jim, Sam and Melvin were to look at current education programs with in departments and agencies for available non-armed members training opportunities. This task has not yet been completed and the group will report at the next meeting.
- TASK – Jim, Sam and Melvin will review available education programs offered by departments and agencies.
- Ergonomics – Bill Pleming offered some insight to some of the recent developments around ergonomics at Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). It appears that PWGSC is moving towards establishing contractual arrangements with outside service providers for the provision of both level I and II ergonomic services for Treasury Board Departmentns at a regional level. The terms of agreements were to be put out for tender nearer the end of January 2010, however looks like probably this summer. The purpose of which will be to establish a standing offer rate with the providers such that departments and can draw down from an account. The next step is to draft Terms and Conditions to be followed by tendering and awarding of contracts.
- TASK – Ensure this is a standing agenda item.
4. Update on National Health and Safety Conference
- The national H&S Conference was held in November 2009 and was focused on H&S and the Environment.
- There was a diverse array of speakers on several differing topics including; bullying and harassment, global warming, the environment impact of the tar sands and stress. There were three workshops offered; Enforcement, Workplace Committees and the Environment as a H&S Issue.
- The conference concluded with a Regional Caucus in which H&S Activist from BC gathered to develop a three-year regional H&S plan. This plan was developed in consideration of our BC Regional planning session that took place at the BC Regional H&S Conference. The outline of the BC plan will be shared with the members of the region shortly and include; Membership Networks, Education and the Co-ordination of a H&S Campaign.
1. Member Survey
- As part of the National H&S Conference, BC Caucus we discussed the issue of membership networking. It became very clear that although we have a very large BRUSH committee that we haven’t done a great job at identifying and connecting all of our regional H&S activists. We decided to conduct a regional H&S membership survey in an effort to identify local H&S activists. Before we proceed with a survey, we need to send a message of our intention to the National Officers and this should come from Kay. Some of the questions we could ask in our survey might be: what is your number one H&S issue, how are members appointed to your workplace committees, who are the workplace representatives, how much education do they have and/or need. We may wish to send a letter to the locals first and then follow-up with phoning.
2. The Health Canada Reduction of Service
- Sam reported on the work that she and Wayne Little have accomplished.
- Wayne provided an update of developments at Canada Revenue Agency has amended its policy on workplace accommodation and have negotiated the provision of health services (ergonomic and fit to work assessments) with and outside service provider. Should be complete by March 2010.
- Corrections Services Canada in the lower mainland has contracted its air quality and ergonomic services with a company in Langley at a rate of $175.00/hour.
- Bill Pleming provided PWGSC’s perspective (above).
3. Light Station De-staffing
- We reminded participants that the de-staffing of light stations remains an issue for our members and we should remain vigilant. Alice Woods gave a short presentation at the National H&S Conference, which was well received, and we continue to encourage members to put pressure on their MP’s. Our goal is to defend quality public service and the safety of our members and the Canadian public.
4. Greening the Environment – Local 60 webmail.
- Agriculture Component – Local 60 has challenged other BC locals and the Regional Office to reduce their amount of paper use. The local has created its own webmail, which members can use to commumicate with the local, and it appears to be working very effectively. This generated a broader discussion around our reduction strategies and how we can improve our recycling, reduction and reusing strategies.
5. Environment and H&S
- The question has been raised as to whether the environment should be addressed as a H&S issue. This issue was addressed at the National H&S Conference and it appears that based on those discussions the two issues are so closely connected that we should develop a unified approach to health safety and the environment.
6. Sick Leave – Treasury Board Policy (April 2009)
- The interpretation, implementation and administration of the new Treasury Board Leave with Pay Policy (April 2009) as it relates to Dental/Medical Appointment
- TASK – Sam to produce the new Sick Leave Policy
- We held a discussion around education and the member’s needs. In doing so, we attempted to prioritize our training objectives.
- Workplace Committee Training
- Canada Labour Code Review
- Other H&S Issues; Ergonomics, Hazard Prevention, Air Quality etc.
- The BC Federation of Labour is developing a pilot project on training workers in Federally Regulated Worksites. The pilot training will take place on February 16 and 17 in Vancouver and we have four members of the committee auditing the training. We hope that this is the beginning of a new era in BC Fed training and that we will be able to rely on this training to reach our diverse membership.
- The BC Fed H&S Centre also offers training on a wide variety of H&S subjects and they make that training available to affiliated members throughout the province. We should be encouraging our members to participate when ever possible.
Meeting Adjourned, Next Meeting March 24, 2010