The Union feels it is in every member’s best interest to always report when they have experienced an accident or incident in the workplace and we strongly encourage all members to do so. There are many reasons for this, but the two most important ones are:
- By reporting incidents members have now established a start date should they become symptomatic or begin to experience symptoms as a result of the accident/incident in which case they would be eligible for a WorkSafe BC claim.
- By reporting incidents our Employer is required to investigate the accident/incident and immediately take corrective action to remove the hazard, or at the very least mitigate the hazard to avoid any further harm to you as a worker.
For Example: A member is assigned to support a student that proceeds to scream in the members right ear, on average for 1 hour, 5 days per week, 180 days per year, for 5 years. The member expresses concern over this behaviour to their immediate supervisor but never files a report; the supervisor is under no obligation to address the situation and there is no formal documentation to support the members claims. Over the course of the 5 years the members mental and emotional health has been negatively affected and by year 6 the member’s physical health has been irreversibly damaged. This member has not been eligible for any support through WorkSafe in the short term, nor will they be in the long-term; any and all costs associated with their physical, mental and emotional health as a result of prolonged exposure of a workplace hazard are now the members burden to bear.
Reporting is the only real mechanism that we as Unionized workers have to ensure our health and safety concerns are addressed and by doing so should also result in changes that will benefit others around us in the workplace.
For Example: A member is entering the building, they trip and fall coming through the door as the threshold (door sill) has lifted. The member immediately completes a WSBC Form 6A, keeps a copy for themselves, gives one copy to their immediate supervisor, and notifies their CUPE JOHSC rep on site. The supervisor promptly conducts an investigation with a Union rep from the JOHS committee, they identify the hazard and have it promptly corrected. As a result, no other worker, student, or visitor to the site will potentially trip and fall while entering the school. The reporting is then discussed at the monthly JOHSC meeting and details are recorded in the minutes; thus clearly indicating the situation was handled swiftly and appropriately from start to finish.
No one can every deny a member’s right to file a report should they experience violence in the workplace, or suffer an incident/accident that they believe could have, or did cause them physical, emotional, or mental harm; to do so is a violation of the law and is actionable.
Members who are unsure what the reporting process looks like are encouraged to join in the Union’s “Saturday Morning Safety Talk” session on February 13th from 8:30-10:00am via Zoom. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 604-316-9923 with your full name and we will be sure to send you the link to join this session.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about reporting we would encourage members to reach out to the CUPE JOHSC Rep at their site, or you can always contact an elected Union Rep for assistance.