(Halifax) – The business community’s reaction to a WCB ruling on shift work is being called “the predictable ‘sky is falling’ cry that follows virtually any ruling that favours the health and safety of working people.”
Rob Wells, the Atlantic Region Health and Safety Rep. for CUPE says, “We strongly disagree with the stance that some in the employer community are taking, that this is going to automatically mean a drastic increase in their WCB premiums.
“It’s time for employers, through their health and safety committees, to start discussing the health affects of shift work and find more humane ways of staffing workplaces,” says Wells.
“It is important for employers to realize that unhealthy shifts are costing them money in the form of a lack of productivity,” says Wells. “It also results in increased use of sick leave and other lost time, and – sadly - far too many workplace accidents,” he says.
Says Wells, “Healthier shifts would actually go a long way to lowering costs and eliminating the need for drastic increases in WCB premiums.”
“Things like jet lag and time changes have a negative affect on the body’s Circadian Rhythm. In recent years we’ve seen employers trying to work people on two or more different shifts in a seven-day period. The human body simply wasn’t built to take this,” says Wells.
“It seems that as society is looking for everything to be available 24/7 this issue can only get worse,” says Wells. “If we can’t depend on employers to realize the limits on the human body and learn to schedule work in a more humane manner, then perhaps it is time that we demand government legislates more healthy shift arrangements.”
CUPE says the Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal should be congratulated for such a thoughtful decision.
Rob Wells, CUPE Health & Safety Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)
(902) 497-3006 (Cell)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)