Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

January 09, 2007 12:42 ET

OPSEU Welcomes SARS Report Recognition That Hospitals Are as Dangerous as Mines or Factories

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 9, 2007) - Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Leah Casselman welcomed Justice Archie Campbell's final report today on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which recognized that hospitals and other health care workplaces are as dangerous as mines or factories.

Casselman said the SARS report accurately reflected the concerns of OPSEU members who were among the more than 600 health care workers interviewed by Campbell.

"Justice Campbell listened. The report reflects our concerns. We welcome the recommendations and request the McGuinty government immediately take action," Casselman said.

Specifically, OPSEU praised the report's recommendations that:

- The precautionary principle (the principle that health workers should err on the side of caution, in the absence of scientific evidence) should be enshrined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other relevant legislation.

- Building a 'safety culture' is critical to making hospitals safer places. For this, more funding, training and a change of approach are needed.

- Optimal staffing levels for teams of occupational health and safety experts are needed.

- Communications failures between government and hospitals; and hospitals and workers, must be addressed.

"Workers have to stay healthy to do their jobs and protect the public. Worker health and safety is just as important in a health care workplace as in any other workplace, and this report recognizes this," Casselman said.

"Only the dedication of our health care workers protected Ontarians from a much more terrible SARS epidemic," Casselman said. "This report validates the need for health care workers to be protected on the job so they can do the job of protecting the public. OPSEU pledges to help implement the report and challenges the government to do likewise."

The union represents 29,000 health care workers including hospital professionals, mental health workers, paramedics, community health, long-term care and hospital support staff.

Contact Information

  • OPSEU Communications
    David Cox
    1-800-268-7376 x 8314