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OPSEU LOCAL 245 - Media Release

Local 245 Member honoured by Oakville and District Labour Council

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2009

OPSEU Local 245 President Jay Jackson awarded Political Action Recognition Award by Oakville and District Labour Council
OPSEU Local 245 member Linda Nelson received the Health and Safety Activist Award from Oakville and District Labour Council

OPSEU Local 245 member Linda Nelson was honoured on Monday November 10th at the Annual awards dinner help by the Oakville and District Labour Council.

In 1984, Linda Nelson was hurt on the job.

Linda's first job was in the private sector for a large electrical company in Hamilton, Ontario. Her work included soldering circuit boards and fabricating plastic switch knobs.

As a new employee, Linda was not made aware of the eminent dangers of her job. No one told Linda of the long-term effects that inhaling fumes might have on her health, Overtime she was affected by the fumes of the plastics she was exposed to on a daily basis for a couple of years and Linda collapsed on the job

When Workman's Compensation told her to return to work she joined the newly formed Joint Health and Safety Committee. Wherever Linda has worked since her accident, she has been fighting for the rights of her fellow co-workers' Health and Safety and keeps them informed.

Since 2002, Linda has been the OPSEU Local 245 Vice President of Health and Safety and oversees all matters pertaining to Health and Safety of the 360 Support Staff Members who work for Sheridan College at the three main Brampton and Oakville campus locations. Linda is Level 2 Certified, a Volunteer Member of Sheridan's Inter-Campus Health and Safety Committee, and has been the Co-Chair of the Oakville campus Joint Health and Safety Committee since 2003. Linda serves as coach and principle training resource and with the help of her fellow Committee Members, provides due diligence for College Health and Safety matters.

During 2006, when the College had no permanent Manager in the Health & Safety office, Linda was there when called upon for Work Refusals and Accident Inspections to voice OPSEU Members' concerns with College Vice-Presidents, Directors, and the Ministry Inspectors.

Since 2002, Linda has been helping to establish College Control Programs for the handling of All paints and cleaning chemicals, Isocyanides in the manufacture of theatre props, Silicon in the polishing of glass and ceramic projects, Identification and Removal of Mould, and Level 3 Asbestos Removal.

The summer of 2009 Linda worked closely with the Ministry of Labour to deal with workers getting sick in our textile area. It was originally thought to be a mould issue then maybe ventilation but was eventually determined to be neither. In this industry, workers are particularly susceptible to sensitivities to various dyes and chemicals that build up over the years , particularly as they tend to mix small amounts of chemicals together to get "just the right shade of blue" or "just the right effect" for their next project. These compounds were not meant to be combined in this way but "everybody does it".

As a result of her diligent work this summer, a new focus is being placed on safety, awareness and training of students taking these programs. A compulsory safety training session is now part of the program where staff and students are taught how to wear and fit test a respirator, how to safely handle and combine the chemicals that they will be exposed to for the rest of their careers with testing done at the end of the session. Safety takes a more prominent part of their day to day classes throughout the rest of their life at Sheridan as well. Students will now leave Sheridan with a much greater respect and awareness of the dangers of this industry and will hopefully not expose themselves to the same hazards and illnesses as the previous generation.


Linda has recently stepped down as co-chair of the Joint Health and Safety Committee as well as the committee itself, needing a rest for now to focus on other areas of her life.

Thank you Linda for all your hard work, and congratulations on making such a difference.

Linda Nelson and OPSEU Local 245 supporters.
Linda Nelson and OPSEU Local 245 supporters.

The local had a good turnout to support the award winner who was surprised and humbled by the honour.

For more information, contact:

Media Contact:
Frederick Oliver
V.P. Communications, OPSEU Local 245

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