For months now SEIU-West and our members has been working tirelessly to stop the Government from proceeding with the issuance of Summary Offence Tickets (SOT’S) to workers and supervisors for safety infractions at work. Although we were successful in achieving a delay in the issuing of these tickets, the Government is still committed to these expensive tickets being issued starting in 2014.
Workers may be fined $250 for a first time offence and for supervisors the fine is $400. Tickets are purely a punitive measure which does nothing in the area of prevention and only focuses on the worker, not the underlying problem of why injuries occur! Unfortunately, for some members when they are working short and feeling overwhelmed by work demands, they may feel obligated to get the work done and in their rush fail to comply with a safety rule or they may take a short cut. We believe that some employers have relied on this and turned a blind eye to it in the past and now it is you, the worker or supervisor, who will get the ticket instead of the person in control of staffing levels….your boss.
During our discussions and written submissions with Government and the Employers of various Health Regions, we have cited over and over again that the main safety issue our members face is injury or illness from working short staffed. Our members are overwhelmed, exhausted and tired of working short staffed. SEIU-West has relied heavily on the workload tracking forms that have been submitted by our members to identify these issues in a variety of ways.
In Saskatoon Health Region, we recently identified the 5 work areas that we had the most forms submitted to the union office and provided statistical information to prove our case. (No actual forms were shared, only the number of forms from each area). We asked the Employer to investigate and determine why these areas are chronically understaffed and asked them to ensure that a job duty roster was available to all workers in these areas that described exactly what work doesn’t get done when working short staffed. We are now carefully analyzing the data from the other Health Regions and Extendicare and we intend to write similar letters to those employers.
In the past, SEIU-West has utilized these forms to assist in negotiations by providing important information to our bargaining committee; we have also relied on the forms to raise awareness of recruitment and retention issues amongst a varied group of Health Care classifications.
We urge you to continue to fill them out. Although you may not realize the various ways we rely on the forms, it is really the only way for us to identify with certainty the areas that we need employers to focus on to improve this situation.
For more about SOTs, visit our Just the Facts page.