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Update on health and safety at The Canadian Press

The national health and safety committee at The Canadian Press met the week of November 12 in Toronto and discussed the following:

Special Protective Equipment
In response to concerns raised by the Guild, The Canadian Press is developing a policy to ensure that supervisors assess health and safety risks involved in assignments and consider special protective equipment in the assignment process. The Guild has asked that a point-person on health and safety be identified for all planned and scheduled assignments, that reporter/editors be told about the equipment and how to access it if needed and that the information be posted on the health and safety page of the company’s internal website. The Guild will have an opportunity to review the policy before it is final.

Beijing Olympics
The Canadian Press has asked for a copy of analysis prepared by the Canadian Olympic Committee about health and environmental issues in Beijing, especially air pollution.

The Guild has recommended that a guide be prepared for employees assigned to the Olympics, with tips on how to stay healthy, what innoculations are needed for those travelling to China, what employees should take with them in case of illness. We are also investigating what type of face mask should be provided to employees to deal with China’s bad air quality.

Counselling for employees returning from Afghanistan
The Guild alerted management to the fact that some correspondents are reluctant to get approval for counselling sessions after they return from Afghanistan, in some cases because they feel the request will be seen as a sign of weakness.

The committee discussed the possibility of correspondents attending one counselling session automatically upon their return. The correspondents could set up the meetings directly with The Canadian Press’s EAP provider. We anticipate this plan will be put into place quickly and will keep you informed.

We should also note that the nurse at The Canadian Press has a practice of touching base with employees before they leave for Afghanistan and after they return. We’d like to remind you that The Canadian Press has two nurses available to staff to discuss in confidence any health issue. Denise Ropp is in Toronto and available to employees by phone or email (densise.ropp@thecanadianpress.com). Nurse Linda Lefort will be visiting the Montreal bureau in the near future to do flu shots.

The company nurses are resources and can provide help with things like finding a family doctor, getting to see a specialist quickly and ergonomic issues in the workplace. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.

The joint committee plans to meet again in February.

If you have any issues or concerns about health and safety in your bureau, please get in touch with one of us:

Les Perreaux, Montreal
Jane Taguicana, Toronto
Sylvia Strojek, Edmonton
Kathy Viner, CMG staff representative, Toronto (kathy@cmg.ca).

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