Safety First: Health and community care safe-workplace association endorses new protective equipment

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - OSACH, the Ontario Safety Association for
Community & Healthcare, applauds Ministers Smitherman and Peters for their
collaborative leadership in recognizing the importance of providing front-line
caregivers and support staff with best practice protective equipment.
    Today's announcement, the purchase of 55 million N95 respirators and the
mandated use of safety engineered needles, advances Justice Campbell's SARS
Commission precautionary principle and puts safety first.
    "The people that we count on to provide care for us have a right to
expect protection from work related hazards and the use of current best
practice safety technology," says Joseline Sikorski, OSACH President and CEO.
"According to WSIB data, in 2006 over 72 per cent of reported needle-stick
injuries in Ontario occurred in the health care sector. The initiatives
announced today will reduce the risk of being exposed to infectious disease
agents through a needle stick."
    Strengthening health care legislation, the use of N95 respirators and
Justice Campbell's Precautionary Principle - that reasonable action to reduce
risk should not await scientific certainty - are all fully endorsed by OSACH.
They are also important first steps in mitigating risk, managing hazards and
building a culture of safety in the workplace.
    "Heath care workplaces in Ontario will be much safer when these new
measures are fully implemented," continues Sikorski. "Ministers Smitherman and
Peters have taken a leadership role, along with BC, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and
Saskatchewan, in funding leading best practices that reduce hazards for
front-line caregivers and support staff."
    Economic, political and social influences in recent years have resulted
in massive health care reform, demanding a plethora of changes in our
community and health care organizations. Strong leadership and a commitment to
supporting a culture of health and safety are paramount in reducing risk while
front-line workers carry out their duty to care.

    OSACH, one of 14 safe workplace associations in the province, is
designated by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to guide Ontario's
hospitals, long-term care, group homes, community care, clinics and medical
offices in occupational health and safety best practices. It assists employers
and their workers to achieve safe and healthy work environments through the
prevention and reduction of workplace injuries, illness and disease.

For further information:

For further information: Dave Deeley, Director, Marketing & Information
Services, Tel. (416) 250-7444, ext. 127 or (647) 300-8977 (cell),

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