**** The below news release was issued today by the Premier's Office. The biggest workplace hazard faced in Nova Scotia is people – lifting people, moving people, and violent incidents. WCB Nova Scotia is pleased to be a part of this working group, as well as a leader of the broader development of an action plan for workplace safety in the health and community services sectors.
The province is taking further steps to ensure health-care facilities are safe workplaces.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, Oct. 21, that a working group will be formed to look at safety protocols in our hospitals and health clinics. The goal is to make sure the appropriate measures are in place to keep staff, patients and visitors safe.
"We are always concerned about safety, particularly for the staff in our hospitals and the patients they care for," said Premier McNeil. "That's why we'll be engaging with various agencies to look at health and safety in the workplace."
The group will report to Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine by the end of the year with recommendations.
A recent incident at Soldier's Memorial Hospital highlighted the need to take a look at this issue.
"The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, along with other labour organizations and health-care stakeholders, is pleased with this willingness to collaborate on an initiative to prevent violence in the workplace," said Nurses' Union president Janet Hazelton. "The situation in Middleton was disconcerting, but out of adversity has come an opportunity for meaningful change, and I'm very grateful for that."
In addition to the nurses' union, the working group will include representatives of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the Workers' Compensation Board, the RCMP, and other organizations. The working group will be asked to arrange its first meeting by the end of October.
"The health and safety of our employees, physicians and volunteers is important to our organization, and is foundational to our providing a safe patient experience for the people we serve," said Janet Knox, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. "We look forward to collaborating with the nurses' union and other partners to enhance strategies to support safe and healthy workplaces."
In addition to this working group, the province is also working with the Workers' Compensation Board, AWARE-NS, employers and unions to develop a five-year workplace safety action plan for the health-care and community services sectors. This plan will provide recommendations around how to reduce high rates of injury among health-care workers and will include combatting workplace violence.