One of the things we all learned during the pandemic is the importance of our individual and collective health and safety. As a Union we had to redouble our efforts to ensure that all UHEW members who worked on the front lines had the appropriate PPE protections. And that members who worked from home had the proper equipment to not just get the work done, but to protect them ergonomically.
This work continues after the pandemic and what feels like a slow roll back to the formal workplace for many members. In order that we ensure the health and safety of all UHEW members we have built in protections and mechanisms to monitor and ameliorate any challenging situation. Key to that work is the role that Local and Regional Occupational Health and Safety Committees play.
At the National level we have re-instated our UHEW National Occupational Health and Safety Committee and are actively engaged in helping to support and strengthen our health and safety systems across the country. That includes the Committee working now for several months to review and discuss OHS issues across all regions such as management appointing employee reps to committees.
UHEW members are often asked to work in situations where they need the maximum protection in order to avoid serious injuries. That includes working in labs with dangerous chemicals or on ocean-going vessels or they may have to inspect polluted air or water. Some of our members have to deal with the public who may not be pleased that they are enforcing the law or regulations. But even if you work in what seems like a relatively safe work environment, we have to be both careful and vigilant. We need to pay attention to our own health and safety at work.
This focus on health and safety should be a priority all year round. But in April we set aside some time to remember and commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. On April 28 which has been designated as the National Day of Mourning, we pause and reflect on those who have suffered and died, and in their memory, we recommit to our collective health and safety at work.
We invite you to join PSAC and UHEW this April 28 to observe the National Day of Mourning this year. There may be in-person or virtual National Day of Mourning events in your community on April 28 and if there are, we encourage you to attend. We should never take our health or our safety for granted.
As always, drop me a line or email any time.
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