Blog Post #468 – Environment Found to be Toxic

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A review of the pathology laboratory at the largest health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador labels the working environment toxic — not because of the materials being handled, but the presence of dysfunctional relationships.

Released on March 15, 2010, the review by the Toronto-based Institute of Quality Management in Healthcare found that the relationships between management and staff at Eastern Health in St. John’s were punctuated by low morale, suspicion and distrust. These bad feelings appear rooted in poor communication and a lack of transparency around decisions.

The review of relationships among pathologists, management and clerical/support staff highlighted several concerns, such as an oft-repeated perception that “there is an inner circle who receives special treatment,” an unclear chain of command for technical staff, and daily disputes over the assigned workload value or the types of cases assigned.

“The practice of pathology is enriched by collegiality, yet in this department there are people who are settling scores, being passive-aggressive, hostile and intimidating,” the report notes. “The average daily workload has become a daily ‘maximum workload.’ It has created a productivity model that is working to a low common denominator.”

Vicki Kaminski, president and CEO of Eastern Health, characterizes the findings as “reason for concern,” adding that an opportunity exists to partner with staff to improve working conditions.

Report authors have penned 10 recommendations to improve relations, including the following:

• establish a pathology practice group with an elected, three-member council to develop a set of departmental rules, standard job descriptions, quality indicators and mentoring policies;

• distribute work in line with sub-specialty practice and have the work assessed at regular intervals; and,

• develop written standards, policies and protocols for quality and performance in technical areas.

My opinion

This sounds like bullying to me. Work overloads, aggressive behavior, especially with other workers. Special treatment can be interpreted as harassment, especially on the new legislation issued in Ontario as section 32.0.1 of the OHSA (occupational health and safety act)

This particular article came out the same month that the new Ontario legislation was being introduced to the people in the workplaces of Ontario. Too bad, Newfoundland did not see the issues similar like those in Ontario before they became uncontrollable.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259. We also can ensure your company receives a quality course in ‘Violence and Harassment’ training.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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