Safety First – OHS Support for Nurses

The safety and wellbeing of our members is a priority for the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. As such, we have compiled various resources to assist nurses in the event of a safety incident at work, as well as resources to help your workplace be more proactive about safety. In addition to these resources, NSNU has a staff member dedicated to guiding members through OH&S processes, advising members of their safety rights, and helping members exercise these rights.

The foundation of a well-functioning health and safety program is the Internal Responsibility System, which emphasizes that all individuals in a workplace have a role in promoting health and safety. No workplace is ever hazard-free, and healthcare is certainly no exception. Nurses encounter workplace hazards on every shift. They are expected to identify and report hazards, and managers are expected to provide working conditions that eliminate or reduce these hazards in the safest manner possible. This system, plus the rights and duties of both employees and employers, is enshrined in OH&S law and regulations.

Safety Rights

Nurses have three fundamental rights when it comes to health and safety. These rights are protected by occupational health and safety law.

The Right to Know – you have the right to be informed of existing or potential hazards in your workplace (e.g. a patient with a history of violence)

The Right to Participate – you have the right to engage in the process of identification, investigation, review (e.g. you have the right to participate in the activities of the local safety committee, or in an investigation about a hazard you identified)

The Right to Refuse – you have the right to refuse unsafe work (e.g. you can refuse to work with an infectious patient unless you are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment)

NSNU Safety Form

Nurses are required to report safety concerns directly to their employer (through SIMS, ERS, SafeLine, etc.), however this can sometimes mean the union is left out of the loop and unaware of these issues, as NSNU is not privy to the employer’s reporting systems. To help fill that gap, the NSNU has a mechanism for nurses to inform the union of safety incidents and concerns they have. All members are encouraged to complete and submit the form whenever you encounter such an occurrence, so that they union is well positioned to assist you in handling the issue. Forms are submitted to the NSNU website and then flagged for NSNU staff (and others) to respond.

You will need your login credentials to access the form. If you need assistance in retrieving your username and password, please contact nsnu.office@nsnu.ca.

Access the Safety Form on Members Only

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NSNU Occupational Health and Safety Guidebook

In 2021, the NSNU produced a handbook to support members who are representatives on their local OHS committees, and other members, as you navigate the intricacies of these issues and promote of safe working conditions. The NSNU is committed to providing the resources and education necessary to help members achieve safe and healthy workplaces.

Download the Guidebook


Contact Information


 

NSNU Provincial Office
902-469-1474 / 1-800-469-1474
nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca  

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
https://www.ccohs.ca/

Nova Scotia Department of Labour – OHS Division
Toll-free reporting line: 1-800-952-2687 (1-800-9-LABOUR)
ohsdivision [at] novascotia.ca
https://novascotia.ca/lae/healthandsafety/

Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
1-800-870-3331
info [at] wcb.ns.ca

Aware NS
902-832-3868 / 1-877-538-7228
https://awarens.ca/
info [at] awarens.ca


CFNU Canadian Labour Congress