In 2010, members who work for the Provincial Health Authority in New Glasgow were moved into a renovated building at 690 East River Road. Soon after moving in complaints of poor air quality came forward. An order was issued by the Department of Labour and an Industrial Hygienist was hired to report on the building.
Since 2010 many members have had to be moved out of the building until a resolution could be found to address the negative health effects.
Your local executive and OHS committee members have been key to making sure these workplace issues were brought forward to the JOHSC committee and they remained determined to hold the employer to their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment for the workers.
Your union representatives Heather MacIvor and Heather Avery have remained dedicated throughout this long process and have stayed strong through many trying meetings and workplace situations as they strived to achieve a resolve that would improve your health & safety at work.
Now you are at an important crossroads. The employer has done extensive work on the building and it is nearing a time when you will be asked to return to the building.
We are hopeful the employer has been able to properly identify and resolve the source of the many health problems.
You may have questions about your rights upon returning. To simplify, there are three categories of members affected in the move:
- Employees who have been accommodated by the employer for medical reasons and removed from the building:
These members should inform their medical practitioner of their pending return. If they experience any medical problem after return they should notify the employer and seek medical advice again.
- Employees who have exercised their right to refuse:
These employees will need to return to the building if:
(a) They are satisfied that their safety concern has been resolved.
(b) The JOSH committee unanimously advises the employee to return to work
(c) A Investigating Labour Officer advises the employee to return to work
- Employees who simply were able to leave:
When asked to return, these members should do so when directed.
Any members who return to the building and find the building is unsafe please report the problems to your immediate supervisor and to your OHS representative.
NSGEU supports safe and healthy work environments. Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions.