Every year, from mid-October to mid-December, farmers in Delhi’s neighbouring states burn crop stubble after their fields are harvested. This, combined with smoke from fireworks used in the Hindu festival of lights (Diwali), create an annually recurring air quality problem.
Lately, it has been making headlines as particulate matter levels literally go off the charts. Many of you have reached out to know what the Union is doing and what you can do if scheduled to operate there.
A bit of background:
For years your Union’s health and safety representatives have been advocating for our members to be provided with N95 disposable respirators for periods where they may be exposed to the smog in Delhi (transit to/from the airport), areas of the hotel exposed to the outdoors etc.
In Canada, regulations require that respirators provided to employees (even disposable ones) come with quick training and fit testing as well as a process to oversee this.
What can you do?
- Members who have concerns about operating to Delhi should speak to base management about their options. If you call crew scheduling, advise them this is the case.
- If you have gone to Delhi and feel your health has been affected (short or long-term effects) please document it! (see below)
- If you are concerned about this issue as a potential hazard file a report so that your management and committee can follow up. (see below)
- Surgical masks, such as those provided by the company, are not designed to filter out particulate matter and provide no meaningful protection at all. The Union had asked that they be removed from the company’s bulletin.
- If you elect to purchase your own masks as some members seem to have done, they should be rated N95 or N100. Be aware that different qualities/styles exist and that this may affect the seal you get around your mouth and nose. Longer facial hair may significantly reduce the effectiveness of an N95/N100 respirator mask.
Your leadership is monitoring the company’s response to member concerns and whether they are being accommodated.
Leading up to this crop-burning season in Delhi, we reached out and discussed this issue with Unions representing cabin crew all over the world to find out how their companies handle destination air quality problems. Union leadership has also worked with senior management to ensure that a company bulletin was issued to all members, and that those with concerns are able to seek accommodation.
Your health and safety representatives will be diligently representing you for any health and safety complaint reports filed.
How to report:
The company now asks in-charges to file reports using their iPads or SIMS.
- ACF32-8 Flight Attendant Injury/Accident Report OR Work-related Injury/Illness eReport(OHS): Use this form to report an injury or work-related illness, however small.
- ACF32 Health and Safety Concern Form OR Health and Safety Complaint eReport (OHS) – Use this form if you have any health or safety related concerns.
- The Electronic versions of these documents can also be filled out:
- On the iPad if you are an in-charge
- Through SIMS (ACAeronet.aircanada.ca > Safety > Submit a report/SIMS). See your manual chapter 2 for details.
If you are submitting a health and safety complaint using iPad or eReporting, please ensure to select a health and safety complaint under the “New eReport” menu. If you experience difficulties or are unsure, we recommend that you contact your workplace health and safety committee members. ALL company communication will be sent to your Air Canada email – even if you file using paper forms. Please ensure to enter your AC email address correctly when required and to verify it periodically. ***
Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee