Two of Three Canadian Whistleblower Scientists Rightfully Dismissed

 
Two of three scientists fired by Health Canada in a long-running whistle blowing saga have lost a bid to get their jobs back, according to a report from The Canadian Press.
 
 
And one of the country's largest public service unions is calling it a ''sad day'' for bureaucrats who want to raise concerns about public safety.(WCxKit)
 
 
In a decision released recently, the Public Service Labor Relations Board dismissed the grievances of Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon, who were fired for insubordination in 2004.
 
 
It did, however, rule Gerard Lambert was wrongly dismissed.
 
The three scientists — probably the country's best-known whistle-blowers — have sparked headlines since the 1990s in a series of high-profile disputes over food safety. They said publicly they were pressured by their bosses to approve drugs despite human safety concerns.
 
 
In the late 1990s, they publicly opposed rBST, a bovine growth hormone, which enhances milk production in cows. Their criticism led to a Senate inquiry and a decision not to approve the drug.
 
 
The Professional Institute of the Public Service says it will likely appeal the 208-page decision, which followed 150 days of hearings over nearly five years.
 
 
Lambert greeted the ruling with mixed feelings. The ruling reinstated his job, and an adjudicator will have 90 days to determine how much compensation he is eligible to receive.
 
 
Speaking in a soft, halting voice, Lambert estimated that he is owed ''$250,000 at least,'' but that the ordeal has left him stressed and unhealthy. Neither he nor his two fellow colleagues found other work over the last seven years.
 
 
Prior to their firings in June 2004, the scientists raised numerous concerns.
 
 
They warned Carbadox, a drug used to promote growth in pigs, could produce carcinogenic residues. They said that Baytril, used to promote growth in cows and chickens, could produce antibiotic resistance in humans.
 
 
Chopra criticized then-health minister Allan Rock's response to the anthrax scare that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The scientist questioned the expenditure of millions to stockpile antibiotics, saying the fear of bioterrorism was overblown.
 
 
Chopra and Haydon warned in 2003, before Canada's first case of mad cow disease, that measures to prevent the disease were inadequate. They called for a total ban on the use of animals parts in the feed of other animals.(WCxKit)
 
 
Chopra criticized the board for not directly addressing the broader issue of public safety in its recent ruling.

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workplace Precautions for Handling Hazardous Drugs to Healthcare Workers

Hospital and health care employers were reminded recently that hazardous drugs such as antineoplastic drugs could pose serious job-related health risks to workers if proper precautions are not used in handling the drugs.
 
 
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and The Joint Commission highlighted the need for safe practices in a letter to hospitals in the U.S. (WCxKit)
 
 
Drugs used for chemotherapy, antiviral treatments, hormone regimens, and other applications have potential for serious adverse occupational health effects, the agencies said. Irreversible effects from work-related exposures even at low levels, without taking appropriate precautions, can include cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, allergic reactions, and others.
 
 
"Potent therapy drugs can have great benefit for patients when used in proper regimens, where doses are controlled and risks are minimized. But they can also have serious consequences to the workers who handle, dispense, mix, apply, and dispose of them without proper controls and training," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "We are pleased to join with our partners to remind hospital employers that protecting the health of their employees is vitally important."
 
 
Substances that present a potential health hazard to workers must be included in an employer's hazard communication program, and it should be readily available and accessible to all including temporary workers, contractors, and trainees, added David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. “We encourage employers to address safe drug handling by committing their management staff to taking a leadership role identifying and remediating hazards, offering employee training, and evaluating workplace injury and illness prevention programs for continuous improvement.”
 
 
In their letter to hospital employers, NIOSH, OSHA, and The Joint Commission encouraged employers to:
 
 
  1. Commit their management staffs to taking a leadership role in worker safety and health.
  2. Offer opportunities for meaningful employee participation in efforts to identify and remediate hazards, develop and offer training, and evaluate the hospital's injury and illness program for continuous improvement.
 
 
A list of hazardous drugs can be found in a NIOSH document, "NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2010" (www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-167/) . The list was updated as part of an earlier document, "NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings," which provides guidance on protecting healthcare employees from hazardous exposures (www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-165/).
 
More information on identifying hazards, determining appropriate controls, and applying safe practices can be found in a NIOSH webpage on hazardous drug exposures in healthcare (www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hazdrug/) and an OSHA webpage on hazardous drug safety and health at www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardousdrugs
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com .

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

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