This year, CUPE’s health and safety work made a difference on many fronts, including working with Union Development to pilot courses for the new Health and Safety Learning Series. These three-hour modules will help members conduct investigations, identify health and safety hazards, and work in a health and safety committee. They also deepen members’ knowledge of health and safety laws, mental injuries, violence prevention, women’s health, and international health and safety solidarity. The courses are self-contained modules, allowing members who have taken the basic nine-hour health and safety course to further build their skills.

Making workplaces safer – CUPE’s 2015 health and safety highlights

The Health and Safety Branch also revamped the Workplace Violence Prevention Kit. The kit includes new guidelines on preventing workplace violence and harassment. It also helps locals identify and prevent violence, with tools to develop a violence prevention policy, a checklist to spot hazards that may increase the risk of violence, and sample reporting forms.

Other new member resources include fact sheets on:

  • Shift work
  • Patient lifts and transfers
  • Critical incident stress

In BC, CUPE locals are using new campaign material to raise awareness of workplace hazards. The “Spot the Hazard” campaign encourages members to report concerns to management and the union, provides information about workplace rights and hazards, and includes stickers to mark potential workplace hazards.

We helped make a difference for members in their workplaces. 

BC library locals surveyed their members about changing health and safety conditions across the province. More than 500 library workers from 50 communities responded. The results show that in addition to understaffing and salary pressure, workers face many safety issues, including dealing with biohazards and criminal behaviour. Cuts to community and social services have put more pressure on libraries and the people who work there.