Exposed to risk doing daily diagnostic tests.
St. John's (19 June 2009) - The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) says a group of health care workers with the Labrador Grenfell Health Authority lacks protective gear required to deal with patients who may have the H1N1 flu virus.
NAPE president Carol Furlong says the issue was raised by workers "who know they are at risk of exposure" to respiratory infections.
"In fact, their employer has required them to be tested for tuberculosis, which is also a respiratory infection, on a number of occasions," Furlong says. "The employer cannot say on the one hand that diagnostic imaging technologists are at risk of acquiring one respiratory infection, then say they are not at risk of exposure to H1N1. The whole situation is causing our members a great deal of anxiety, and is simply untenable.”
Furlong said the decision was apparently made at the provincial level.
"We are calling on the four health authorities to review their operations to ensure that all health care workers who are at risk of exposure to H1N1 are provided with this specialized protective gear.”
Furlong added that occupational health and safety cannot and must not be calculated in dollars and cents. Employers are required to supply all workers at risk with whatever protective measures are available, she said.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE