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CSMLS launches national campaign to promote laboratory safety


Hamilton, ON – July 12, 2004 – The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is asking members to make safety a priority in their workplaces with its first-ever safety campaign.

“The theme for our campaign is ‘Laboratory Safety – No Shortcuts’ and we’re asking members to put safety front and center in their own organizations,” says Geraldine Webb, CSMLS president. “Medical laboratory professionals are busy people working in environments that are often rushed and high pressure. But that doesn’t mean that taking shortcuts on safety is acceptable.”

In February 2002 a CBC news story reported that a medical laboratory technologist in Saskatchewan acquired HIV as the result of a workplace accident. That news prompted CSMLS to conduct a safety survey that summer. The survey was distributed to 442 certified active members who work in hospital and private laboratories across Canada. The results were disturbing. Fifty percent of the 185 survey respondents indicated that they had insufficient safety training. Eighty percent believed there should be greater emphasis on safety in laboratory.

Areas of specific concern and interest identified by survey respondents included impact of workload and staffing (63%), laboratory-acquired infections (54%), the due diligence required by employers (52%), risk identification and communication (50%) and the impact on safety of faster turn-around times (49%).

A key component of the campaign is SafetyWeb, a new online resource available in the CSMLS web site (www.csmls.org). SafetyWeb includes an ‘ask the expert’ section, current safety articles and other safety resources. No Shortcuts posters will be sent to employers across the country and will be available to CSMLS members, free of charge, in July.