Occupational health & safety more than slogans and a commitment for more than just one day

By Dewey Funk
UNA OH&S Advisor

Consciousness of occupational health and safety is the result of the sacrifice by the countless workers who have been injured or killed by workplace accidents or disease.

April 28 – formally known as the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured in the Workplace – is Labour’s day each year to recognize the past but to also look into the future on how we can change the workplace into a safer and more healthy place.

This year on April 28, UNA members like other unionists throughout Alberta and Canada, will mark this solemn occasion with a re-commitment to health and safety in their workplaces.

But our commitment needs to be more than just talk, once a year – but an everyday attitude. There are catch phrases out there like “fight for the living, mourn for the dead,” or “an injury to one is an injury to all,” but what do they mean?

Look around your workplace. There is a good chance that you are working with someone who has suffered an injury in the past year.

Look into their eyes, see what they are seeing. It might be fear – of not getting well again, of not being able to provide for their families or other loved ones. You might see pain, as Workers Compensation Board does not compensate for pain. You might see psychological pain, due to working in a fast-paced, uncaring environment that allows injuries to continue. The list goes on.

Are the injured working a modified work program now? Was their injury due to being pushed to work faster and harder due to being short staffed, inadequate equipment, a needle stick, being attacked by a patient?

Now, for a moment, take a look at the root causes of the workplace injury, not “just” the person.

You could be the injured person one day that has been described above.

This year, please make a commitment to yourself that when you go to work as a nurse you will take the time to do your job in a healthy and safe way.

Do this for yourself, your kids, your significant other, and your friends.  Do this because you’re worth it!

Work Healthy, Play Safe