Tag Archives: OH&S

Just the Facts: Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs) – Postponed to 2014

Are you aware that the Provincial Government plans to change the way that safety legislation is enforced in Saskatchewan?

 The Government had planned to implement these changes to be effective January 1, 2013. However, we have just learned that the Government is now anticipating beginning implementation in early 2014, beginning with an educational phase and then proceeding with ticketing. We have also been advised verbally, that part of the intent of the delay is to develop consistent and transparent criteria to use when an Officer is determining whether or not to issue a ticket.

Click on the following link to download a print version of this post:

Just The Facts SOT Update

This is a relief for SEIU-West and our members!  The government, after concluding their scheduled round of information sessions, has now determined that they need to provide additional education next year! This means no tickets will be issued until after that.

Thank you to all the SEIU-West Occupational Heath and Safety Committee members who attended these sessions and to our members who called their MLA’s and asked so many significant questions. Your voices were heard!

At this time, however, the Government is still intent on the implementation of a ticketing system for employers, supervisors and workers. With these tickets, you may be subject to a large fine if proper safety protocols or procedures are not followed in your workplace. We believe that the fine set for workers is $250. for the first offence and for Supervisors the fine set is $400. The only option will be to pay the ticket or fight the ticket through the costly court system…at your own expense! Also, for every ticket issued, the officer 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 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.

To date we have not been informed of the exact amount of fine increases for second or repeat offenders. However, we have been advised that if a person is issued a ticket for the exact same offence, there will be no voluntary payment option and they will be required to appear in court.

Always follow all safety procedures and rules!

These include:

• Wear required personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks, proper footwear);

• Use patient lifts and follow TLR;

• Follow all safety rules, procedures and protocols;

• Comply with any orders issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Officer or  Division;

• Provide any requested information to the Occupational Health and Safety Branch; and

• Cooperate and do not obstruct an Occupation Health and Safety Officer in any way.

 An IMPORTANT Message to all IN-SCOPE SUPERVISORS:

If you are responsible to supervise others, you may be issued a ticket in addition to the worker. Also, the Government has determined that Supervisor fines are higher than worker fines because of the added level of responsibility attached to your supervisory role.  Supervisors may be fined $400. for “failing to ensure workers comply with the Act and Regulations.” This could mean everything from ensuring all workers under your direct supervision follow the Transferring, Lifting and Repositioning (TLR) program, to ensuring all workers use personal protective equipment.

 

WHAT IS SEIU-West DOING?

SEIU-West has sent our submission to the Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety asking him to reconsider this punitive measure. A copy of this is posted on our website: visit www.seiuwest.ca and review the Worker Safety Committee page. We have 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. We have also asked your employer to partner with us so as to ensure that all workers receive clear communication. We have asked for the appropriate contact information for all SEIU-West representatives on Occupational Health and Safety Committees and we continue to share all info with these representatives. Members, representatives and leaders will continue to lobby the government on your behalf to remove these punitive tickets. We have launched a member engagement campaign on The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) which raises the objection to these tickets and other regressive Labour Laws. Details can be found on our web-site at www.seiuwest.ca. You can also see our submission to the government there as well.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

  • ·         Write, call or email the Minister and tell him this is unfair. Tell him that workers and supervisors should not be bear the personal blame and cost of unsafe staffing levels and a lack of resources in the form of equipment and training. Contact your MLA as well.

Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety Mr. Don Morgan (MLA, Saskatoon Southeast) Phone: 955-4755 (Constituency Office) or call collect @ 787-5353 (Legislative Assembly) Email: dmorgan@mla.legassembly.sk.ca and cc kelly.harrington@seiuwest.ca.

 

Follow all safety rules!

  • ·         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.
  • ·         Support each other when taking the time to do your job safely. 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.

 

PLEASE remember:

All workers have:

  • ·         The right to know the safety hazards at work – the precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards – all safety training; and
  • ·         The right to 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; and
  • ·         The right to refuse unsafe or unusually dangerous work without fear of repercussions.
Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

February 27th is Anti-Bullying Day

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Anti-Bullying Day Contest

Anti-Bullying Day on February 27th.

Your Union is committed to making your workplace safe and harassment free.

Working together, we can stand up to bullying in the workplace.

Please read the “Safety Hot Topic: Workplace Bullying” and share it with others.

Let’s stand up together against bullying!

5 things to know about bullying:

• Bullying is associated with a range of physical and mental health problems, as well as suicide, anti-social behaviour and relationship problems.
• A bully can be a man or a woman. Adult bullies are typically insecure people with poor social skills and little empathy.
• The target of a bully is often a capable dedicated staff member that is well-liked by co-workers. Bullies are most likely to pick on people with an ability to cooperate and have a non-confrontational interpersonal style. The bully will consider them a threat.
• The effects of bullying may include decreased morale, motivation and productivity, while increasing the number of incidents and accidents.
• Bullying is covered in the Occupational Health & Safety Act under ‘Personal Harassment.’ It is known to cause job insecurity and adverse health effects.

How much do you know about Bullying?

If you or any other SEIU-West members are interested in our contest, please answer the 10 True or False Questions provided in the Anti-Bullying Contest Form, using the Safety Hot Topic and the 5 things noted above.

Return it by February 15, 2013 to:

Christine Miller
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
#200 – 747 46th Street W.
Saskatoon, SK   S7L 6A1
Email: christine.miller@seiuwest.ca
Fax: 306-652-1392

and you will be entered to win one of 50 limited edition SEIU-West anti-bullying T-shirts!

For a printable version of the poster and the contest form, click on the link below:

Anti-Bullying Contest Form

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Cold Conditions Guideline – Working Outside

Click on the link below to download a printable PDF of the Worksafe Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety:

Working Outside – Cold Conditions Guidelines

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Just the Facts: UPDATED Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs) – January 2013

Click on the following link to download a print version of this post:

Just the Facts: UPDATED Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs) – January 2013

Workload Tracking Form

Are you aware that the Provincial Government has changed the way that safety legislation is enforced in Saskatchewan?

The Government has implemented these changes effective January 1, 2013 with a six month transitional period for the Government to introduce this ticketing system to employers and workers across the province. With these changes, you could be subject to a large fine if proper safety protocols or procedures are not followed in your workplace. The fine for workers will be $250.00 for the first offence. For Supervisors the fine is $400.00. (To date we have not been informed of the exact amount of fine increases for second or repeat offenders). The only way to fight a ticket is through the costly court system…at your own expense!

The government has scheduled several information sessions. Find the schedule on our website www.seiuwest.ca and phone them to register as soon as possible for the information session nearest you.

Occupational Health and Safety Committee Members must be paid by their employer to attend this training.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

The Union is cautioning all members to continue to very carefully follow all safety requirements.

These include:
• Wear required personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks, proper footwear);
• Use patient lifts and follow TLR;
• Follow all safety rules, procedures and protocols;
• Comply with any orders of the Occupational Health and Safety Officer or Division;
• Provide any requested information to the Occupational Health and Safety Branch; and
• Cooperate and do not obstruct an Occupation Health and Safety Officer in any way.

An IMPORTANT Message to all IN-SCOPE SUPERVISORS:

If you are responsible to supervise others, you may be issued a ticket in addition to the worker. Also, the Government has determined that Supervisor fines are higher than worker fines because of the added level of responsibility attached to your supervisory role. Supervisors will be fined $400.00 for “failing to ensure workers comply with the Act and Regulations”. This could mean everything from ensuring all workers under your direct supervision follow the Transferring, Lifting and Repositioning (TLR) program, to ensuring all workers use personal protective equipment etc.

(Employer fines range in price from $400 to $1000.00 for their offences, however, it appears that they will not be issued SOT’s for failing to ensure workers comply with the Act and Regulations…. even though they have control of the workplace – OHS SOT List of Fines).

WHAT IS SEIU-WEST DOING?

SEIU-West has sent our submission to the Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety asking him to reconsider this punitive measure. A copy of this is posted on our website: visit www.seiuwest.ca and review the Worker Safety Committee page. We have met with representatives of the OHS Division and further shared our concerns about the negative effect that SOT’s will have in the workplace. We have also asked your employer to partner with us so as to ensure that all workers receive clear communication. We have asked for the appropriate contact information for all SEIU-West representatives on Occupational Health and Safety Committees to facilitate greater communication with the membership. We will continue to lobby the government on your behalf to remove these punitive tickets.

We will be launching a member engagement campaign shortly on The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) which will again raise the objection to these tickets and other regressive Labour Laws. Stay tuned to our web-site for details www.seiuwest.ca.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

• Write, call or email the Minister and tell him this is unfair. Tell him that workers and supervisors should not be bear the personal blame and cost of unsafe staffing levels and a lack of resources in the form of equipment and training. Contact your MLA as well.

Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety
Mr. Don Morgan (MLA, Saskatoon Southeast)
Phone: 955-4755 (Constituency Office) or
call collect @ 787-5353 (Legislative Assembly)
Email: dmorgan@mla.legassembly.sk.ca and Cc kelly.harrington@seiuwest.ca.

FOLLOW ALL SAFETY RULES!

• 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.

• Support each other when taking the time to do your job safely. 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.

PLEASE remember:

All workers have:
• The right to know the safety hazards at work – the precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards – all safety training; and
• The right to 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; and
• The right to refuse unsafe or unusually dangerous work without fear of repercussions.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SOT Training for SEIU-West Unit Chairpersons and Occupational Health and Safety Committee Members

Summary Offence Tickets (SOT’s) will soon be issued to Workers and Supervisors for safety infractions and the Branch is sponsoring training to provide info about these significant changes.

The Training dates are all happening within the next few weeks and it is essential the our Occupational Health and Safety Committee members get this info and make arrangements to attend this training.

The training is approved Branch training and each Occupational Committee Member is entitled by legislation to utilize up to 5 days per year at the Employers cost.

Please see the schedule and phone them to reserve your spot as soon as possible.

Click on the picture of the schedule to download a copy.

For more information, refer to the documents below:

Government Media Release: Summary Offence Ticketing (November 2012)

Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Summary Offence Ticketing Page

OHS SOT List of Fines

Just the Facts: UPDATED Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs) – January 2013

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Safety Hot Topic: Workplace Bullying

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could ‘mentally’ hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or a group of people.  It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.

How can bullying affect the workplace?

Bullying is not just an interaction between individuals; there are organizational factors at work which can facilitate it.  Among these are:

  • An extremely competitive environment
  • Fear of redundancy, cuts or reorganization
  • Little participation in decision making
  • Poor training
  • De-skilling
  • No clear policies or codes of conduct
  • Poor procedures for resolving grievances and problems
  • Indifferent attitude of higher management towards behavior by front-line managers

Bullying affects the overall ‘health’ of an organization.  An ‘unhealthy’ workplace can have many ‘unhealthy’ effects.

In general these include:

  • Decreased moral
  • Increased risk for accidents/incidents\decreased motivation and productivity
  • Increased absenteeism, turnover, and stress
  • Increased costs for employee assistance programs (EFAP), recruitment, etc.

Bullying at work is a health and safety and a union issue.  It causes job insecurity and adverse health effects and often arises out of an imbalance of power in the workplace which your union can address.

Are You Bullied at Work?

Bullying at work is any form of behavior which is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting or is an abuse or misuse of power intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure individuals or groups.

Bullying leads to stress and then to illness if prolonged. Very high proportions of people subjected to bullying change their job as a result and suffer negative consequences.

Bullying is widespread at work. In several studies and surveys done on this topic, the bully was often a manager or supervisor. In almost all cases (even worker to worker) the upper management knew what was going on and/or did nothing about it.

Bullying can take many forms:

  • Direct verbal and physical abuse
  • Unfair use of disciplinary and assessment procedures
  • Blocking access to promotion, training, overtime, etc.
  • Setting impossible deadlines and targets
  • Withholding information essential to do the job properly
  • Excessively tight supervision
  • Public humiliation including being shouted at
  • Persistent and undue criticism including inaccurate accusations about quality of work
  • Undermining responsibility
  • Abuse references to age, sex, race, disability, or other personal characteristics
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Physical isolation from others

If you, or someone you know, are being bullied get in touch with your Unit Executive to help you address the issue or call our Member Resource Centre at 1-888-999-7348.

What can you do?

If you feel you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized or subjected to any form of harassment:

  • If possible, tell the person that his or her behaviour is not acceptable to you and ask them to stop.  You may have someone with you if you like.
  • Keep a factual journal or diary of daily events which includes:
  • The date, time, and a description of  what happened in as much detail as possible
  • The names of any witnesses
  • The outcome of the event e.g.; felt intimidated, embarrassed, sick, threatened, etc.
  • Remember, it is not always just the nature of the incident(s), it may be a one time incident however often it is a number, keeping track of the frequency, and especially the pattern can establish whether it is bullying or harassment.
  • Keep copies of any letters, memos, e-mails, faxes, etc. received from the person.
  • Report the harassment to the person identified in your workplace policy,your supervisor, or a designated manager.  If your concerns are minimized, proceed to the next level of management.

 

Click on the link below to download the printable PDF:

Safety Hot Topic: Workplace Bullying

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Just the Facts: UPDATED Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs)

Updated: November 20th, 2012

Are you   aware that the Provincial Government is planning some major changes to the   way that safety legislation is enforced in Saskatchewan?

The Government is planning to implement these changes on January 1, 2013 with a six month transitional period for the Government to introduce this ticketing system to employers and workers across the province. With these changes, you could be subject to a large fine if proper safety protocols or procedures are not followed in your workplace. Tickets range in price between $250 and $1000 for safety infractions.

The government is planning on hosting several information sessions, however, they have not scheduled these yet. Check out their website www.lrws.gov.sk.ca frequently to find the date and location of the information session nearest you. Occupational Health and Safety members will be paid by their employer to attend this training.

Effective immediately
the Union is advising all members to carefully observe and follow all safety requirements.

 These include:

  • wear personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks, proper footwear);
  • use patient lifts and following TLR; and
  • follow all safety rules, even if they have not been enforced in the past.

In our discussion with Government officials, the fine for workers will be $250.00 for the first offence. For, Supervisors the fine is $400.00. Worse yet, if you are named a “repeat offender” the fines will be even higher. The only way to fight a ticket is through the costly court system…at your own expense!

A Special Message to all IN-SCOPE SUPERVISORS:

If you are responsible to supervise others, you may be issued a ticket in addition to the worker. In Ontario, almost every time a worker is fined, the supervisor gets a ticket as well and 73% of all tickets issued have gone to workers or supervisors. Also, the Government has determined that Supervisor fines are higher than worker fines because of the added level of responsibility attached to your supervisory role. Employer fines will be $1000.00 given that they really do have control of the workplace.

WHAT IS SEIU-West DOING?

SEIU-West has sent our submission to the Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety asking him to reconsider this punitive measure. A copy of this is posted on our website: visit www.seiuwest.ca and review the Worker Safety Committee page. We have met with representatives of the OHS Division and further shared our concerns about the negative effect that SOT’s will have in the workplace. We have also asked your employer to partner with us so as to ensure that all workers receive clear communication. We have asked for the appropriate contact information for all SEIU-West representatives on Occupational Health and Safety Committees to facilitate greater communication with the membership. We will be continuously checking the Government web-site for training dates and will share them as soon as they are available.

We will be updating our website as we obtain more details.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

  • Write, call or email the Minister and tell him this is unfair. Tell him that workers should not be bear the personal blame and cost of unsafe staffing levels and a lack of resources in the form of equipment and training. Contact your MLA as well.

Minister   of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety
Mr.   Don Morgan (MLA, Saskatoon Southeast)
Phone: 955-4755 (Constituency Office) or
call collect @ 787-5353 (Legislative Assembly)
Email: dmorgan@mla.legassembly.sk.ca and Cc kelly.harrington@seiuwest.ca.

 Follow all safety rules!

  • 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.
  • Support each other when taking the time to do your job safely. 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 time to do your job according to safety procedures.

PLEASE remember:

All workers have:

  • The right to know the safety hazards at work – the precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards – all safety training; and
  • The right to 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; and
  • The right to refuse unsafe or unusually dangerous work without fear of repercussions.

For a printable PDF version of this information, please click here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Just the Facts: Safety Management Systems

 

The   Ministry of Health has directed all Health Regions to
implement a Safety Management System (SMS) in health care facilities where   they have the greatest amount of injuries. This system is intended to reduce   workplace injuries in the Health Care sector.

Health care worker injuries are the highest number of Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims; therefore, the Government is now requiring that health care facilities/services with the highest time loss claims, implement this system. The Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH) is the safety association with equal union/employer representatives for the health sector.

SASWH has developed a tool to assist health care Employers in this regard. However, it is not mandatory that Employers use their system; yet the Health Care Unions (SEIU-West, SUN, CUPE, HSAS, and SGEU) are urging them to do so. Either way, for the targeted facilities a program must be implemented within a defined timeline.

The SASWH has recommended that 20% of health care facilities with the highest level of injury claims do self-assessments.

What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

  • It is a process to reduce the risk of injury in the Heath Care sector. It is a collection of documents, forms, procedures, policies, practices, training and communication required to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace. In short, it is a safety program.
  • Part of the system requires an assessment to occur in the health care facilities were there are the highest level of workplace injuries within each Health Region. The Ministry has determined that each of the Health Regions must have a plan in place by March 31, 2013 towards the implementation of an SMS.

Who should be involved in the SMS?

  • Workers need to be involved directly in program development. Workers are exposed to hazards and have a good idea of the current realities they face each day in the workplace.
  • Specifically, we believe that Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee members should be included as part of the Assessment Team.

What will be happening in my workplace?

  • Each Health Region must determine by December 31, 2012 how they will begin their self-assessment process and which tool they will utilize.
  • In targeted facilities within your Health Region, assessors may be using a variety of methods to gather information from those worksites where the highest injury rates exist. They will be observing the workplace, interviewing workers to see if they have been properly trained in Occupational Health and Safety procedures and protocols and they will be requiring documented proof from the Employer that proper policies are in place.
  • Based on the result of the assessments, we expect the Employer will have to make changes to ensure that they are doing everything possible to make the workplace safer.

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?

SEIU-West wants to be very clear. It is our expectation that OH&S Committee members are provided the opportunity to participate in the SMS. We have notified all Health Care Employers of this request and await confirmation from them as to the structure/composition of their Assessment Teams. We have asked the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to direct this as well. It is time for true prevention of injuries in Health Care and it is vital that workers have a say in this.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Please encourage your employer to utilize the Health and Safety Committee members in the development and implementation of an SMS in your workplace.

If you are chosen for an interview with the Assessment Team:

  • Please make sure that you identify all hazards in the workplace.
  • Please indicate if and where training or resources (such as safe staffing levels) are lacking.

For a printable PDF version of this information, click here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

A Research Project with Saskatchewan’s Continuing Care Assistants Addressing Staff-to-Staff Workplace Bullying

Most research on caregivers working in long-term care homes is concerned with professional caregivers, not Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs).  Dr. Quinlan’s recent study with Saskatchewan’s CCAs addressing staff-to-staff workplace bullying was the first of its kind. In the study CCAs used the ‘bottom-up’, interactive processes of Participatory Theatre to recognize, name, and address workplace bullying.  Nineteen CCAs working in 2 rural and 5 urban long-term care homes in Saskatoon and PA health regions volunteered for the study.  None had prior acting experience or training.

In the workshops, led by the project’s theatrical consultants, the participating CCAs developed 3 scenarios depicting everyday bullying behaviours. The scenarios illustrate the complex social interplay between witnesses, targets, and perpetrators of bullying. The themes of the 3 scenarios included the ostracizing, humiliating, and undermining treatment of a newly recruited CCA by fellow CCAs. Many of these bullying behaviours correspond to those experienced by other workers in non-health care workplaces.  Following the workshops with the urban group, 4 participants (1 male and 3 female) self-selected to perform the scenarios developed in the workshops to wider audiences in 2 forums with other CCAs, a few RNs, and some housekeeping, clerical, and kitchen staff.  The characters in each of the scenarios were played by CCAs with no acting training, yet the scenarios powerfully portrayed the debilitating impacts of bullying on the new recruit: humiliation, guilt, anger, frustration, demoralization, and isolation. The findings show that workplace culture and structures are implicated in workplace bullying.  The study also confirms that solutions to bullying can be envisioned by CCAs: they don’t need to come from managers and administrators, but can come from those on the shop-floor.

 

Researcher:

Dr. Elizabeth Quinlan, Dept of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan

Funding: 

Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

Website: www.elizabethquinlan.ca

Contact Information:

ph: 306.966.6937    email: elizabeth.quinlan@usask.ca

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment