Union warns hospital employees to keep safe from wildfire smoke

BURNABY, B.C. – The union representing nearly 50,000 healthcare workers in British Columbia has cautioned its members about the risks of smoke from the province’s ongoing wildfires. An Aug. 4 news release from the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) commended the workers for their dedication to the job during the provincial state of emergency, but warned that they could be at risk from wildfire smoke. The union advised its members in the release to stay indoors as much as possible, keep hospital windows closed so that air scrubbers and filters could function properly, minimize strenuous activity, stay hydrated and follow local advisories for updates. “We thank each and every [member] for their extraordinary generosity and dedication in the face of this ongoing disaster,” HEU secretary and business manager Jennifer Whiteside said in a media statement. “So many members – many who are experiencing their own losses and displacements – have stepped up to help meet the needs of displaced patients and residents.” WorkSafeBC issued a similar advisory to employers in all industries in July (COHSN, Aug. 1).

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