Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan

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Occupational Health and Safety/Right to Refuse Dangerous Work/PPE

AS OF APRIL 27, 2020

On April 17, 2020, HSAS, along with all healthcare unions, SHA and SAHO signed a temporary Letter of Understanding (LOU) which outlines the agreed- to guidelines that will govern the use of a Labour Pool and movement of members during the province’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic guidelines as well as the protection provided to those members.

The LOU addresses personal circumstances which may prevent deployment of a member from taking place.  Among a number of circumstances, one may be a member’s right to refuse work under The Saskatchewan Employment Act occupational health and safety provisions.

Whether or not you have been deployed to another worksite or are carrying out different duties, you have rights under the collective agreement Article 23.03 – Referral of Health and Safety Concerns and Article 23.06. As well, under Saskatchewan occupational health and safety law, you have the right to be safe at work.  This includes:

  • The right to know about dangers in the workplace;
  • The right to participate in workplace health and safety committees;
  • The right to refuse unsafe work.

Members who have concerns about an unsafe workplace can reference the Saskatchewan Employment Act, specifically the Right to Refuse Dangerous Work; Discriminatory Action which as the title suggests, speaks to a worker’s right to refuse dangerous work and not be discriminated against for doing so.

We ask that any member considering accessing this legislation communicate with labourrelations@hsas.ca for guidance.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

AS OF MAY 20, 2020

On May 20, 2020 health care unions, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority, committed to a set of six shared health and safety principles when dealing with suspected, presumed, or confirmed COVID-19 patients, clients or residents.

In addition to these principles, the parties have committed to ensuring union representation on behalf of front-line health care workers in discussions and planning related to personal protective equipment (PPE), and to working together to share information, address challenges, and work collaboratively towards solutions.

Click here to read the May 26, 2020 Backgrounder on the Joint Statement on Principles for Protecting the Health and Safety of Healthcare Workers, Patients, Clients and Residents from HSAS, which provides the rational and history leading to the Joint Statement.

Click here to read the Joint Statement on Principles for Protecting the Health and Safety of Healthcare Workers, Patients, Clients, and Residents (May 20, 2020).

AS OF APRIL 27, 2020

Your employer has the duty to ensure your health, safety, and welfare at work. HSAS, along with other healthcare unions, has repeatedly stressed in meetings with the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority that all members should have the highest standard of appropriate PPE in performing their professional work.  The temporary LOU which was signed on April 17, 2020 also includes a commitment by the Employer to provide worksite orientation and training as well as required PPE orientation and training.

This includes providing you with the level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for the type of work you perform, and for any potential for exposure which you may encounter while at work.  This right is covered by Article 23.06 of the collective agreement.  Recently, guidelines for the level of appropriate PPE by work environment have been posted to the Government of Saskatchewan website.  These include appropriate PPE for acute care, continuing care, testing and assessment sites, home care, primary care, and EMS 

For concerns, please contact labourrelations@hsas.ca.

AS OF MARCH 22, 2020:

Under Saskatchewan occupational health and safety law, you have the right to be safe at work. Your rights include:

  • The right to know about dangers in the workplace;
  • The right to participate in workplace health and safety committees;
  • The right to refuse unsafe work.

Members who have concerns about an unsafe workplace can reference the Saskatchewan Employment Act, specifically the Right to Refuse Dangerous Work; Discriminatory Action  which as the title suggests, speaks to a worker’s right to refuse dangerous work and not be discriminated against for doing so. 

We ask that any member considering accessing this legislation communicate with labourrelations@hsas.ca for guidance. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Your employer has the duty to ensure your health, safety, and welfare at work.

This includes providing you with the level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for the type of work you perform, and for any potential for exposure which you may encounter while at work. 

HSAS, along with other healthcare unions, has repeatedly stressed in meetings with the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority that all employees should have the highest standard of PPE in performing their professional work.

We have requested information from Saskatchewan Health Authority Occupational Health and Safety regarding the protocols which SHA is following for PPE.

If you have any concerns related to this, please contact labourrelations@hsas.ca.

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