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AUPE honours members’ health and safety activism

By Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications staff

Feb 21, 2023

Nominate a safety-conscious colleague for the Rolyn Sumlak Award

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“Everyone deserves to be safe at work,” says Bonnie Gostola, AUPE vice-president and chair of the union’s Occupational Health and Safety committee. 

“Everyone deserves to come home to their family at the end of their shift. Sadly, this isn’t the case for all workers in Alberta. Hundreds die from workplace injury or illness every year.” 

In 2021, the Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) reported 178 work-related deaths, compared to 150 in the previous year. The number of deaths in 2022 will not be released until later this year. 

“AUPE members know we can’t rely on the government or our employers to keep us safe,” says Gostola. “That’s why it’s so important that workers get involved in workplace safety." 

Every year, AUPE's Occupational Health and Safety committee presents the Rolyn Sumlak Award to one or more members in recognition of their efforts in occupational health and safety. 

Rolyn Sumlak was an AUPE member who was killed on the job while working for the Government of Alberta. AUPE Local 012 commissioned the award in 1990 in his memory. 

The committee encourages members to nominate their coworkers who have a passion for occupational health and safety. To nominate a fellow AUPE member, download and complete the nomination form by March 1, 2023. Recipients accept the award at AUPE’s annual Day of Mourning Ceremony in April. 

Anyone can make a difference when it comes to health and safety at work. They could be an activist representing workers on a joint workplace health and safety committee, even a Local or Chapter sub-committee. 

Or maybe they are the person everyone turns to. They kind of person who you feel confident asking: “Is this safe? Am I allowed to say no to this dangerous work?” 

If you know an AUPE member who is dedicated to safety at work, please nominate them for the Rolyn Sumlak Award. Even the most modest heroes deserve recognition. 

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