While we have touched on some of these issues in previous updates, we wanted to take an opportunity to focus on Health, Safety and Personal Well-being. Much of our focus as of late has been on COVID-19 related issues, but we do have to remember that other Health and Safety practices and taking care of ourselves should not fall by the wayside even during a pandemic.
Health and Safety: On and Off Campus
While a significant majority of our membership has transitioned to remote work, many members do still work on-site.
Members who are working on-site are reminded that despite the changes to what campus life looks like, Health and Safety rules have not changed. Safety concerns should be addressed with incident reports. If you are unsure if something you have observed is a concern or not, you can still fill out the form, as there is nothing wrong with being reassured that something you questioned is safe. You are also welcome to email our Health and Safety Coordinator, Jim McAndrew for advice, guidance or assistance.
Members are reminded of the Working Alone Policy. If you are unsure what the SOP for your area is, check with your supervisor and follow the prescribed procedures.
Whether you are on-site everyday, or only intermittently, you are reminded that there are rules in place about how we use our space in the age of COVID-19. McMaster has a guidance document that covers expectations for physical distancing, to Personal Protective Equipment to Incident reporting. It is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with these expectations to ensure that everyone who must report to work is kept safe.
For those working from home, many of us are trying to cobble together a workspace unexpectedly. Our local has sponsored a webinar to help assist us with creating an ergonomically safe workspace with what we have at home. This webinar will be on May 20th at 1 p.m. It is free to our members, though registration is required. Registration and more information can be found at https://calm.ca/webinars.
COVID-19 Impact Surveys
There are a couple of surveys we would like to bring to your attention.
The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers is looking for data on how workers are coping through the pandemic. Survey answers are confidential. The survey can be found posted here.
Our Local and our National Union have long advocated for a National Pharmacare plan. The lack of a pharmacare plan has meant that many Canadians who rely on employer benefit plans are now not only suddenly out of work, but unable to afford the medication that they need. The Council of Canadians is gathering information on how COVID-19 has impacted peoples access to medications. They will use the information gathered to advocate for a national pharmacare program. They have a short survey that can be found here, and is also posted on our website.
The impacts of COVID-19 measures are hitting everyone differently. Whatever your work, personal or financial situation, they have caused unexpected changes and disruptions to how we navigate our spaces. We want to remind you that whatever you are facing, there are supports and resources available to you. We have gathered links and contacts for many of those supports on our Mental Well-being page. If you need assistance, you are encouraged to find the help you need. If you need assistance and are not sure who to ask you are also encouraged to email info@unifor5555 and you will be directed to someone who can best assist you.