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Health & Safety

EHS Unit Health & Safety Update

February 2017

Vince Gruppuso, EHS Health & Safety Officer
 

It’s been almost a year and a half since the new EHS Joint Health & Safety Committee was formed.  It is definitely a work in progress and we continue to tweak the format as we move along.  One important change is the addition of Health and Safety Area Meetings.  The committee felt it was important to ensure all members are well informed and kept up to date on Health and Safety issues concerning their work environment.

In June of last year, Sheri St. Denis, former EHS Unit Steward and Joint Health & Safety Co-Chair (representing the office workers), was hired as EnerCare’s new Health & Safety Co-ordinator.  We feel this was a very positive move benefiting both the company and the Union.

Company uniforms, in particular, pants still seem to be an issue, especially in the summer as workers find them to be too hot.  Although the company has provided three different options, we feel that none is suitable, and a much lighter, breathable pant is required for the summer months.  The company informed the union few months ago that a survey would be sent to the members regarding Uniforms, but we have yet to see one.

The company recently provided the Committee with its Annual Safety Report for 2016.  Here is a summary of the results:

  • Recordable Injuries    39     (Target was 24)
  • Lost Time Injuries         11     (Target was 4)
  • Lost Time Days            384   (Target was 13)

It was noted that most reported injuries involved some form of strain.  There were also 34 motor vehicle incidents (with a target of only 18), representing an increase of more than 50% over 2015.  This is of great concern for the company as well as the Union and we are both working to decrease the number of incidents in 2017.

We are still having issues with members not following procedures when it comes to injuries or near misses.  Some members are reluctant to report injuries as they worry it will get them in trouble.  This has to change!  It is imperative that members do their “due diligence” when it comes to injuries, no matter how minor the injury is.  Paperwork, in particular, is a big issue.  Forms are often being filled out incorrectly or in some cases, are not being filled out at all.  In both cases, this will cause problems for the company and more importantly, the member.  What might be considered a small injury today could become a greater problem down the line.  If you are unsure of whether or not to report an injury or incident or how to complete the form, please seek help from your H&S Area Rep or Union Steward.  I also invite you to reach out to me directly.  (Cell 416-936-0703 or Email vgruppuso@unifor975.org)