Toronto, February 8 2016 — The Teamsters Union would like to inform the public and fellow hospital workers of several serious health and safety problems at the new Humber River Hospital.
Since the hospital’s opening last October, some of the 900 workers represented by Teamsters Canada Local Union 419 have noticed and documented dozens of hygiene issues such as the failure to use proper disinfectants in rooms and public spaces.
Some of the issues documented by the workers and the Union:
- Traces of blood, urine and other bodily fluids can be found throughout the hospital, usually on the floor.
- Workers had no mops, brooms or adequate cleaning supplies during the first ten days after the hospital’s opening.
- Feces, urine and other bodily fluids can’t be cleaned properly because the microfibre mops aren’t made to wash certain surfaces. Furthermore, there is no vacuum cleaner in some departments.
- Tap water is used to clean some departments because workers lack proper cleaning products.
- Cleaning products used in some departments are not approved for use in hospitals.
- Trays with leftovers are left accumulating in certain areas.
- Meals are occasionally served below 74 degrees Celsius, despite safety standards, which could lead to food-borne illness.
- Patients sometimes cannot get hot meals.
- Mismanagement has created food shortages resulting in some patients not being served bread or milk with their bedside meals.
- Housekeeping workers are extremely overworked in most departments.
- Steaming is done in a way that may not kill all bed bugs. Bed bug removal protocols have been compromised by mismanagement.
- Garbage bags and linen bags don’t fit in the chutes and are left for days piling up in soiled utility rooms.
- The collective agreement is regularly violated because certain tasks are done by the managers and volunteers who aren’t properly trained.
- When the hospital re-opened with even more square footage, management did not hire enough new workers to adequately meet hospital standards.
- The collective agreement is regularly violated as certain tasks are performed by non-bargaining unit members who aren’t properly trained (such as well-meaning volunteers and middle-managers).
- Despite adequate hospital funding, absent workers aren’t always replaced. That puts more pressure on the rest of the staff.
- Robots have priority access to elevators; staff and patients must wait or remain trapped inside the elevator.
- Patients have been observed taking the elevator at the same time as workers with waste bins.
- Rodents have been observed in the hospital.
“Mismanagement is a threat to the health and safety of patients and workers,” worries Tim Oribine, union representative at Teamsters Canada Local Union 419. “It is my duty as a citizen and as a trade unionist to blow the whistle and warn the public of these serious issues.”
The Teamsters believe the government should open an investigation as soon as possible to address and resolve these issues.
“Our members are very concerned and seriously question management’s decision-making process,” added the trade unionist. “The managers have to listen to us because we could provide them with a game plan to deal with these issues once and for all.”
The Teamsters recommend that the public exercise caution when visiting the hospital.
“Our members are very concerned and seriously question the competence of those who run the facility,” Tim Orbine adds. “Let’s not wait for an outbreak to come along before we decide to tackle these problems.”
Click here to download your Humber River Hazard Guide.
The Teamsters represent 120,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Director of Public Relations
Teamsters Canada Local Union 419
Cell: 514 609-5101