News Release Archive

Nova Scotia's minister of human resources and the presidents of
the NSGEU and CUPE Local 1867 (Nova Scotia Highway Workers) today
signed a joint commitment to employee health and safety.

The policy, the first government-wide Occupational Health and
Safety Policy, was developed by a management-union committee and
represents months of research, meetings and consultations.

"We are committed to ensuring our employees work in a healthy and
safe environment, and the policy, developed together with the
unions, reflects that commitment," said Human Resources Minister
Allister Surette. "The policy gives employees a key role to play
in ensuring the workplace is safe."

Mr. Surette thanked the representatives of the NSGEU and CUPE
Local 1867 who took part in the management-union committee that
developed the policy for their roles in ensuring the policy met
the concerns of government employees.

"This policy will cover all government employees from foresters
to highway workers to correctional officers to office workers,"
said the minister. "We believe that it is important they work in
a healthy and safe workplace, and at the end of the workday, they
return home safe and sound to their families."

Said NSGEU president Dave Peters: "The development of this policy
provides an important example to all employers and employees of
how it is possible to work successfully together toward achieving
better occupational health and safety in every workplace."

"This is also a good example for government departments as a
labour-management approach to dealing with other workplace
issues," said Gareth Drinnan, president, CUPE Local 1867.
"Positive attitudes create positive workplaces."

The new provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act gives
employees the right to act and the responsibility to do so. It is
part of the internal responsibility systems which forms the
foundation for both the act and the Occupational Health and
Safety Policy, and gives management, unions and individual
employees a role to play.

Management has the responsibility to ensure the workplace is safe
and healthy, and that employees are trained to work safely.
Employees are responsible for working safely and reporting

Employees also have Occupational Health and Safety rights:

  1) the right to know about issues that could affect their

  2) the right to refuse work they have reason to believe is
     unsafe or unhealthy;

  3) the right to participate in health and safety committees and
     to report unsafe conditions.

Under the new act, all employers in the province are required to
have an occupational health and safety policy in place by July 1.
Over the next six months, government departments will be
developing occupational health and safety programs that deal
specifically with the concerns of their workplaces.

The management-union partnership that developed the policy will
continue through the implementation of department programs with
joint occupational health and safety committees.


Contact: Norma MacIsaac
         Department of Human Resources

         Ian Johnson
         Nova Scotia Government Employees Union

         Gareth Drinnan
         Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1867

trp                     June 5, 1997 - 3:25 p.m.