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Back safety campaign launched in Alberta

Friday, May 18, 2018

A campaign promoting back safety in the workplace has been launched by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).

Save Our Backs aims to update Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code to get “much-needed back protections for health-care workers across the province.”

The AUPE, along with the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) is asking for a number of changes to increase the safety of employees in hazardous jobs.

  1. Employer safe-handling programs that direct the use of mechanical technology to the greatest degree reasonable in the circumstances;
  2. Annual evaluation of program effectiveness that takes into account training; equipment condition and usage; incidents; and new advancements;
  3. Employer to ensure labels are legible and on or near safe-handling equipment; and
  4. Including patient reaction while assessing manual handling hazards.
    Health-care workers are at high risk of back injuries as a result of the important work they do every day. From lifting patients to overexertion, musculoskeletal injuries are a real hazard of the job.

“And while there are ways to avoid these injuries, some employers refuse to adopt those measures. Health-care employers aren’t required to provide the kind of lifting equipment that can Save Our Backs, as some employers view that kind of equipment as optional,” the AUPE said in a release.

“As unions representing health-care workers, we feel the time has come to update Alberta’s OHS Code to get the protection health-care workers require, but we need your help, and we’ve made that easy.,” they concluded.

Workers are encouraged to visit the Save our Backs website, fill out their name, email and postal code – then hit send and a letter will automatically be delivered to their MLA.

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