News Release - September 20, 2007
PROVINCE INVESTS $31.7 MILLION TO IMPROVE WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
Labour Minister David Forbes and Health Minister Len Taylor today announced a provincial investment of $31.7 million to purchase patient-lifting equipment and to reduce on-the-job injuries in the health workforce.
The money also will be used to train staff on using equipment and for implementing new amendments to The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996.
"This is an opportunity for the provincial government to lead by example in the area of workplace health and safety," Forbes said. "Our commitment to improving health and safety in this sector and the investment we are announcing today will make an important difference for healthcare workers."
The new amendments clarify the role and responsibilities of supervisors in healthcare environments with respect to occupational health and safety, and enhance requirements for transferring, lifting and repositioning patients.
"Keeping and attracting health professionals is one of the top priorities of this government as part of our plan to reduce wait lists and improve access to services," Taylor said. "I believe today's funding investment will go a long way toward retaining nurses by encouraging safe, supportive and quality workplaces - one of the goals of Saskatchewan's Health Workforce Action Plan."
The amendments were developed following consultation with the Occupational Health and Safety Council, a bi-partite group with representation from both employers and workers, and with the health regions.
The amendments will be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette and available on the Queen's Printer website at www.qp.gov.sk.ca by the first week of October 2007. Amendments related to supervision will come into effect 60 days after publication in the Saskatchewan Gazette. Those related to lifting will take effect one year and 60 days after publication in the Gazette to allow regional health authorities time to acquire equipment and train workers.
Public inquiries regarding these amendments can be directed to the Occupational Health and Safety Division of Saskatchewan Labour at 1-800-567-7233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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