By Rebecca Kram, Research Officer
In mid-July the staff at the Marian Chateau started to notice evidence of mice in the building and it wasn’t long before mice had made their way into the kitchen. This was reported to management.
Over the next several months, the staff would see a mouse or evidence of mice and would report the problem to management. In turn, management would call in the contract group they have on retainer who would come in, but did not fix the problem.
This cycle continued with no resolve until the situation got to the point where staff would walk into the kitchen and be hit with an overpowering scent of urine. The kitchen would be covered with mouse droppings and the staff would find evidence that mice had burrowed into food containers which needed to be thrown out.
The final straw for staff members was the day that five mice were killed in the kitchen. That was the moment that the staff members each invoked their right to refuse unsafe work under Section 23 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. They took a stand for their own safety and for the safety of the residents. The kitchen staff was off the job for a full week before the situation was finally resolved.
We are proud of the brave members of the Marian Chateau for standing up for their right to a safe workplace.
This story appears in the Winter 2013 issue of the Front Line newsletter and was written by Rebecca Kram, Research Officer