Almost seven months after a pregnant NSGEU member was viciously assaulted while working at the East Coast Forensic Hospital, a co-worker of the victim is filing a formal complaint with the Occupational Health & Safety Division of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
“This issue has been ongoing since April, but little to nothing has been done by the employer, the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to address our members’ legitimate health and safety concerns,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean.
“Enough is enough, and I applaud this member for stepping forward to protect not only herself, but every worker and patient in that facility.”
Before the incident in April, on February 23, 2018, in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act, the following concerns were submitted to NSHA management:
- Concerns that Personal Security Alarms (PALs) were not consistently in working order;
- The PAL is triggered by using a slide button, the tape being used to hold the PALs together prevented the emergency slide button from being easily activated;
- The secondary alarm is triggered by pulling a string to remove the bottom plate, this is also hindered by the use of tape
- A request for a qualified independent violence in the work place risk assessment be conducted.
These, along with other health and safety concerns, were not addressed to the satisfaction of the employees, so on March 28, 2018, a report was submitted to the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee. In a follow-up meeting on April 16, 2018, the employees were told a violence in the workplace risk assessment would be “a waste of time.”
“One week after having their safety concerns dismissed, a nurse was attacked. If not for others hearing her screams, who knows what the outcome could have been for her and her unborn child?” says MacLean. “For too long the NSHA has turned a blind eye to the safety concerns of nurses and health care worker who are doing their best to hold a broken health care system together. These are dedicated women and men who are committed to caring for sick and vulnerable people. They must be given the tools to do their jobs safely.”
Following the incident, the NSGEU had offered to work with the NSHA on finding solutions, but the response received was that the NSHA would address the issue. Now, almost seven months after the attack, staff members still feel unsafe at work, and as a result, this formal complaint has been filed today.
“It is unfortunate that the NSHA has shown such low regard for the safety of their employees. It’s now time for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to get involved and initiate an independent violence in the workplace risk assessment,” said MacLean.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.
For more information, please contact:
NSGEU Communications Officer
902-471-1781 (cell) 902-424-4063 (office)