The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) has been at the forefront of pushing for occupational health and safety (OHS) changes at worksites in all sectors the union proudly represents for decades.
From being the first union in Canada to hire a full time OHS representative in 1977, to recently advocating for major changes to OHS legislation that benefit all workers, AUPE has worked hard to improve your safety at work.
That’s why AUPE is proud to be a part of a joint-campaign with the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) called Save Our Backs, which aims to update Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code to get much-needed back protections for health-care workers across the province.
We are asking the OHS Code be changed to require:
1. Employer safe-handling programs that direct the use of mechanical technology to the greatest degree reasonable in the circumstances;
2. Annual evaluation of program effectiveness that takes into account training; equipment condition and usage; incidents; and new advancements;
3. Employer to ensure labels are legible and on or near safe-handling equipment; and
4. Including patient reaction while assessing manual handling hazards.
Health-care workers are at high risk of back injuries as a result of the important work they do every day. From lifting patients to overexertion, musculoskeletal injuries are a real hazard of the job.
And while there are ways to avoid these injuries, some employers refuse to adopt those measures. Health-care employers aren’t required to provide the kind of lifting equipment that can Save Our Backs, as some employers view that kind of equipment as optional.
As unions representing health-care workers, we feel the time has come to update Alberta’s OHS Code to get the protection health-care workers require, but we need your help, and we’ve made that easy.
Simply visit the Save our Backs website, fill out your name, email and postal code – then hit send and a letter will automatically be delivered to your MLA.
The Alberta government may be considering changes to the OHS Code, so we need to act quickly. The need for change is obvious to us. We need to make it obvious to our MLAs.