Occupational health nurses to become new front line as Ontario reopens, advocate says

Lina Di Carlo, occupational health nurse and former president of Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association (OOHNA), told CTV’s Your Morning that her profession will face added challenges as more people in the province return to work. 

The foundation of their jobs are to maintain, promote, and restore health and safety in the workplace. They work very hard with key players in organizations to put the right kind of systems in place to protect them from all kinds of hazards, including communicable diseases. 

Di Carlo says, the risks occupational health nurses face is no different than health care professionals, in the sense that they’re managing potential cases, managing the fear of employees being exposed, and facilitating education about the virus within their workplaces. 

Despite enduring that workplaces remain safe amid the pandemic, occupational health nurses were not included in the Ontario government’s temporary pandemic pay increase program. After it was introduced, the province expanded the pandemic pay increase to additional health-care sector workers, yet occupational health nurses were again excluded. 

Di Carlo says that even if occupational health nurses aren’t eventually added to the pandemic pay program, she wants there to be a greater awareness of the value they add to workplaces. As Ontario continues with its reopening Di Carlo said it is a good opportunity for occupational health nurses to showcase how important their work is in protecting employees and she hopes that the provincial government will recognize that. 

To read the full article by CTV News, click here.

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