Good morning County! Happy Monday!
I would like to start off with an official “Congratulations!” to Paul Boudreau for being elected as our Provincial Executive representative last Wednesday evening. As well, thanks to Drew Fournier for putting his name forward. Our organization thrives on democracy, and I am of the mind that having more than one candidate throwing their hat into the ring for a position speaks well of the overall engagement of our membership.
Speaking of democracy, now that Paul has been elected, we have yet another seat available on our local executive. The Chair of the Economic Welfare and Resolutions Committee is a key position in our local, and the person elected to this seat also serves as our First Vice President. That means that they step into the President’s role when the President is not available. Please check out our short snappers for a list of responsibilities, and keep an eye out for information in the coming days of how to put your name forward.
On a more informational note, at our last local meeting, I had asked that school reps look into an occupational health and safety issue about which I had received a number of calls. Back in September we had a school that had no water for two days, and we also had another school where there was an extended power outage, and the emergency lighting ran out of battery.
I contacted Nova Scotia OHS to see if there was any particular concerns here, and was informed that each and every school should have a contingency plan for such an instance. It turns out, somewhat fortuitously, that HRCE does have a contingency plan for both prolonged power outages and for when schools do not have water. I would ask that NSTU members on their school’s JOHS committee put a review of that plan on the next JOHS committee agenda, and ensure that all NSTU members in your building are aware of the contingency plan.
As well, please note it would be expected that any sort of safety plan would involve ensuring that the employer provide all necessary safety equipment. For example, if flashlights are required, they should be supplied, and members own devices, such as cell phones, would only be considered as emergency back up.
Finally, it may be advisable for the JOHS committee to consider how communication will be handled during an outage, particularly in an emergency situation. As we all know, in an emergency, seconds count. Having (and testing) your schools’ power outage communication plan may be something worth exploring at your site.
If you have any questions or concerns please let me know, and have a great week!