May 8, 2020 at 3:40 PM
As workplaces around the country continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational health and safety is more important than ever. Local 2002 is working with all employers to ensure they are taking precautions in protecting the health and safety of all our members in their workplaces.
Members are asking how they can protect themselves and their workplaces during these extraordinary times. This bulletin outlines how our Health and Safety committee functions during the crisis and how members can keep their workplaces safe.
PROTECTING YOURSELF AND OTHERS
The COVID 19 virus is spread through close contact, including at work. Here are some helpful tips to prevent the spread of the virus.
Continue to follow all safe work procedures. If it is unsafe to work, talk to your supervisor, health and safety committee representative, and/or union. This will ensure the employer has taken all reasonable precautions.
Practice physical distancing by working more than 2 meters (6 feet) apart from others.
Stay home if you are sick or might be sick. Follow the Public Health Agency of Canada’s steps for self-assessment: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.
We recommend the Employers provide daily reminders and education to all workers about COVID-19 prevention, signs, and symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE GOVERNMENT’S EXPECTATIONS?
The employer must work alongside the union H&S representatives to determine exactly how the employees will be affected by the Covid19 virus in relation to the tasks and functions performed within the workplace.
Secondly, map out all the mitigation methods to prevent the virus from being transferred to the employee group.
Thirdly, adjust, and improve whatever means have been mutually worked out if it is determined that efforts have not been sufficient to protect the employee group. It seems simple enough, but every company along with the Health & Safety committees are working diligently to incorporate the appropriate guidelines for each of the unit-specific workplaces.
Unifor H&S representatives are advocating all of these measures directly to the company, as we are all in this pandemic together. You must have the faith that the people you elected to be your H&S representatives are espousing these ideas to the company you work for.
RIGHT TO REFUSE UNSAFE WORK
Every person employed in Canada has the right to a safe work environment. In the Federal jurisdiction, Part II of the Canada Labour Code is based on the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).
The IRS requires that all employers take responsibility for their employees safely in the workplace. As members, we also have a vital role to play in the IRS. Part II of the Canada Labour Code relates to occupational health and safety and reflects the desire to reduce workplace injuries and accidents in federal jurisdiction.
For our members at (Ornge, CLS Catering, and Hilton) you are governed by your applicable provincial legislation.
Part II of the Canada Labour Code entitles all workers to three rights:
- The right to know;
- The right to participate;
- The right to refuse dangerous work.
If you believe that you are not being protected sufficiently, contact your local H&S representative they are there to listen to your concerns, and then they will work with their committees and the employer to resolve the concern and express that more can be done to protect the workforce.
Below, you will find information to support you at work and home, as well as our latest updates at www.unifor2002.org.
Please take care of yourself and your family. Unifor stands with you and we are going to get through this, together.
President of Unifor Local 2002
National Health and Safety Coordinator - Air Canada Mainline