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Safety of patients may be compromised at Canada's Humber River Hospital, says Union
Teamsters Canada, the trade union representing workers in the service, hospitality, transportation and production industries, believes that the Canadian government should open an investigation into what it says are several serious health & safety problems at the new Humber River Hospital.
Since the hospital's opening last October, some 900 workers represented by Teamsters Canada Local Union 419 have noticed and documented dozens of hygiene issues such as the failure to use proper disinfectants in rooms and public spaces, it says.
Some of the alleged issues, documented by the workers and the Union, are that:
* Traces of blood, urine and other bodily fluids can be found throughout the hospital, usually on the floor
* Workers did not have mops, brooms or adequate cleaning supplies during the first 10 days following the hospital's opening
* Faeces, urine and other bodily fluids cannot be cleaned properly because the microfibre mops are not made to clean certain surfaces
* Housekeeping workers are extremely overworked in most departments
* Management has not adequately trained some workers on disinfection procedures
* Despite adequate hospital funding, absent workers aren't always replaced - putting more pressure on the rest of the staff
* Steaming is done in a way that may not kill all bed bugs. Bed bug removal protocols have been compromised by mismanagement
* Cleaning products used in some departments are not approved for use in hospitals
* Rubbish bags and linen bags don't fit in the chutes and are left for days piling up in soiled utility rooms
* When the hospital reopened with even more square footage, management did not hire enough new workers to adequately meet hospital standards
* The collective agreement is regularly violated as certain tasks are performed by non-bargaining unit members who are not properly trained (such as well-meaning volunteers and middle-managers)
* Some departments do not have a vacuum cleaner
* Tap water is used to clean some departments because workers lack proper cleaning products
* Patients have been observed taking the elevator at the same time as workers with waste bins
* Rodents have been observed in the hospital
* Trays with leftovers are left accumulating in certain areas
* Meals are occasionally served below 74 degrees Celsius, despite safety standards, which could lead to foodborne illness
* Patients sometimes cannot get hot meals
* Mismanagement has created food shortages resulting in some patients not being served bread or milk with their bedside meals
* Robots have priority access to elevators; staff and patients must wait or remain trapped inside the elevator
"Mismanagement is a threat to the health & safety of patients and workers," worries Tim Oribine, union representative at Teamsters Canada Local Union 419. "It is my duty as a citizen and as a trade unionist to blow the whistle and warn the public of these serious issues."
The Teamsters believe the Government should open an investigation as soon as possible to address and resolve these issues.
"Our members are very concerned and seriously question management's decision-making process," adds Tim. "The managers have to listen to us because we could provide them with a game plan to deal with these issues once and for all."
11th February 2016