National Safety and Health Week May 1 - 6

April 28, 2023
Unrestricted access to appropriate personal protective equipment must remain a priority

BCNU continues to call on health employers to provide our members with unrestricted access to appropriate personal protective equipment whenever a point-of-care risk assessment indicates the need.

The union’s call comes ahead of National Safety and Health Week (May 1-6) and follows the province’s April 6 lifting of the universal mask mandate in health-care facilities.

While COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses are declining, BCNU members still face risk of exposure to biological, chemical and physical hazards, and the Workers Compensation Act requires employers to control those risks.

The lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be forgotten. Employers must have exposure control plans and make workers aware of them. This means employees must be fit-tested and provided with appropriate respirators to protect them from viruses, surgical dust and inhalant chemicals.

Since 1997 people across Canada have dedicated one week a year to raising awareness about the importance of safety at work, at home, and in the community. Members are encouraged to learn more about the National Safety and Health Week events and activities in BC. All are coordinated by local, regional and provincial committees who share a vision of safe and healthy workplaces.

BCNU's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) department works with members and stewards to make workplaces safe, and helps ensure employers implement comprehensive, evidence-based health and safety programs.

The union has several specialized teams to support members’ OHS needs in a range of areas, including:

For further information on mask mandates, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control. For questions about the mask mandate or any occupational safety issue, please contact a BCNU health and safety officer at

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