Union views on worker health (Web Sight)

Unions around the world promote health and safety issues • The union’s take on smoking in the workplace • Preventing needle injuries on the job • Sick buildings

Part of any union’s responsibility is to look out for workers’ health and safety on the job. But health and safety can be an all-encompassing notion. What types of issues attract union interest? The following sites look at a number of different issues from the union’s perspective.

Unions around the world promote health and safety issues


This page is found on the website of Hazards magazine, an international union-friendly publication that focuses on health and safety issues. This particular section of interest lists union campaigns from around the world on just about any and every health-and-safety-related issue, from child labour to asbestos poisoning. The main Hazards site also offers links to articles, resources and news from across the globe.

The union’s take on smoking in the workplace


This article, found on the Health Canada website, looks at workplace smoking. It discusses workplace smoking restrictions and legislation pertaining to smoking compliance issues, the impact of smoking cessation programs and a lot more. It looks at the efforts of major industrial unions, such as Canadian Autoworkers, to tackle environmental tobacco smoke exposure. It also looks at how unions in the hospitality sector, such as the United Food and Commercial Workers, may be more resistant to smoking restrictions.

Preventing needle injuries on the job


This website is an initiative launched by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to provide information on, and garner support for, prevention of needle-stick injuries sustained by health-care and support workers. The site offers news updates, video, resource links and information on provincial policies and legislation.

Sick buildings


This document from the SEIU is a training workbook offered to its members on “sick building syndrome” (SBS), a condition caused by poor air quality. The workbook points out that, “some office workers may feel relieved to step into their air-conditioned offices and stop breathing the fumes of the urban outdoors. However, the air they breathe inside their offices may be even more hazardous to their health.” The workbook offers tips for trainers, explains SBS in detail, explains how to fix the problem and looks at union strategies for cleaning up SBS.

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.

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