Dear members of Local 480,
I would like to commend all members who stood up for their rights under the Occupational Health & Safety Act and refused to work in unsafe working conditions in the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (CNSCF). It is unfortunate that members had to do it, but I’m very pleased you did and we expect to be seeing some changes as a result.
As you may know, on Monday, June 12, 2017, 55 Correctional Officers working at the CNSCF in Dartmouth exercised their right to refuse unsafe work when asked to work in West Dayroom 5 in a “Direct Supervision” capacity. This resulted in an inspection by Occupational Health & Safety Officers from the Department of Labour. Yesterday, the Department of Justice was issued orders resulting from this investigation. The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility must be in compliance with the following orders by July 17th:
- West Day Room 5 must be professionally cleaned within 3 weeks to ensure healthy and safe environment.
- West Day Room 5 must have a workstation which will have covered front panels and side panels. It will be situated in proximity to the access/exit door. The duress button shall be relocated within arms reach of the workstation. And the Employer shall ensure that any devices, movables or other items are situated at a minimum of three meters from the workstation.
- Employer shall ensure portable radios and communication devices function as intended. This includes, but not limited to, the man down function on all radios. The man down function shall be tested for functionality every 24 hours. And all employees will have refresher training on all aspects of radio communication within 3 weeks of this order.
- Employer shall ensure mental health awareness training is delivered to any C/O who could be tasked with direct supervision in the West Day Room 5. This training shall be scheduled within 3 weeks of this order and completed within 3 months of this order.
These compliance dates are firm and we look forward to these items being completed in a timely manner. We will continue to monitor the situation.
If you have any questions about your rights under the OHS Act or about your work, please do not hesitate to give the NSGEU a call.
Your Employee Relations Officer (ERO) is Rick Wiseman and the union’s OHS Officer is Paul Cormier.