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Are you aware that the Provincial Government plans to change the way that safety legislation is enforced in Saskatchewan?
Originally, the Government had planned to implement the SOT scheme on January 1, 2013. Thanks to you and our lobbying efforts, we were successful in delaying the onset of these tickets. However, we have just learned that the government plans to implement SOT’s on July 1, 2014. A summary offence ticket is a fine ranging in cost from $250 to $1000 that will be issued by Occupational Health Officers (OHO) for violations under health and safety. It will either be issued on the spot or sent by mail depending on the circumstances. Tickets may be issued to workers, employers, contractors, owners, self-employed persons and suppliers.
There is some relief for SEIU-West members though. After hearing your concerns about fines for violations of TLR or fines being issued to Supervisors, the government has made changes. Questions that were raised at the government information sessions last year, as well as, your letters and phone calls to your MLAs all helped. Thank you again to all the SEIU-West Members who participated. Your voices were heard!
There is now only one offence that applies to workers! You may be issued a ticket for $250.00 if you do not use personal protective equipment (PPE). Before issuing a ticket, the OHO is to ensure that the PPE was provided by the employer, that you were trained on its use, that there has been a clear directive to use the PPE and, in spite of all of this, you chose not to use it.
The only option a worker will have is to pay the ticket or fight the ticket through the court system… at your own expense! Also, for every ticket issued, the OHO will also file a Notice of Contravention which will identify the exact violation of the Act or Regulations and the required remedial action. We have also been informed that there is no increase in the ticket amount if a person is issued a subsequent ticket.
|What should you do at work?
WHAT IS SEIU-West DOING?
- Sent two submissions to the Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety asking him to reconsider the SOT scheme. Copies of these documents are posted on our website – www.seiuwest.ca – on the Worker Safety Committee page.
- Met with representatives of the OH&S Division and further shared our concerns about the negative effect that SOT’s will have in the workplace.
- Asked your employer to partner with us so as to ensure that all workers receive clear communication.
- Continued to share all information with all SEIU-West representatives who sit on their workplace Occupational Health and Safety Committees.
- Continued to lobby the government to remove these punitive tickets.
- Asked for clarification of the appeal process in the event a worker wishes to dispute the Notice of Contravention and how that might affect the SOT. We will post any new information as it becomes available.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
- Follow all safety rules!
- Write, call or email the Minister and tell him this is unfair.
Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety
- Support each other when taking the time to do your job safely and encourage others to do the same. Call the Member Resource Centre (MRC) 1.888.999.7348 (1.888.999.SEIU) immediately if you receive any negative feedback from management or co-workers for taking the necessary time to do your job according to safety procedures.
- For Health Care, never lift a patient alone or violate TLR. If there are unsafe staffing levels, advise your Manager that you require assistance as soon as possible. Please complete a Workload Tracking Form and return it to your local union office. Most importantly, continue to report all injuries and incidents as usual.
All workers have the right to:
- Know the safety hazards at work – the precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards – all safety training.
- Participate in the day to day detection, evaluation and reduction of workplace hazards – on your committee, as elected by your peers or appointed by your trade union.
- Refuse unsafe or unusually dangerous work without fear of repercussions.