It's time to Save Our Backs, but we need your help

United Nurses of Alberta members know that health care workers are at high risk of back injuries. They also know there are ways to avoid those injuries, but some employers are reluctant to adopt those measures.

As unions representing health-care workers, we feel the time has come to update Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code to get the protection you need – but we need your help.

United Nurses of Alberta, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have joined forces to launch the Save Our Backs campaign. We’re asking you to contact your MLA to let them know now is the time to change to OHS Code to Save Our Backs – and we’ve made it easy.

Visit the SaveOurBacks.ca, fill out your name, email and postal code – then hit send and a letter will automatically be delivered to your MLA.

Lifting patients is necessary part of the job for many UNA members. However, getting hurt isn’t. 

While construction workers are required by OHS Code to have protective equipment including hard hats and steel-toed boots, health-care employers aren’t required to provide the kind of lifting equipment that can Save Our Backs. That kind of equipment is viewed as optional by some employers.

We are asking that the Code be changed to require:

  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.

The Alberta government may be considering changes to the OHS Code, so we need to act quickly. The need for change is obvious to us. We need to make it obvious to our MLAs.

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