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Nova Scotia working to improve workplace safety in health care

Sprains, strains main concerns

Occupational health and safety officers across Nova Scotia are working with health-care workers to raise awareness about strain, sprain and inflammation injury prevention.

"Our health-care industry is the largest single employer in the province. Unfortunately, it also has the highest injury rate," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. "We're working to change this.”

Officers visited 36 health-care facilities across the province between March and July of 2016. The goal was to engage workers in discussions about health and safety programs.

The visits by occupational health and safety officers resulted in several recommendations, including:

•training and education on maintenance, management and safe use of equipment

•implementing a well-defined occupational health and safety program supported by a joint occupational health and safety committee

•sharing and communicating policies and procedures as they are updated in an effective manner to staff.

The visits were also used to promote general safety compliance and awareness, and to identify areas for improvement while recognizing the efforts that are already being made.

"These efforts have allowed organizations to identify gaps and opportunities and will help build and refine safety management systems to reduce soft tissue injuries in long-term care,” Susan Dempsey, executive director, AWARE-NS.

The steps to improve workplace safety are part of a larger initiative with a number of stakeholders in the health-care sector.

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