Two Brandon University staff members have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
One of the affected individuals is a faculty member and the other is a retired maintenance engineer.
Built in the 1960s, the university’s buildings contain asbestos products, as was common in buildings constructed at that time.
Brandon University Faculty Associations, in concert with the other on-site unions, is tackling the issue of workplace asbestos from several angles, including training. CAUT will be providing a joint union education session on joint health and safety committees and asbestos in the workplace.
Laura Lozanski, CAUT’s health and safety officer, said while workplace practices to remove the hazard are now being improved, the Brandon administration "is taking the very commendable step of contacting all employees who have worked at the university to advise them of possible exposure to asbestos during the course of their work duties."
CAUT launched a National Asbestos Awareness Campaign last November after three cases of mesothelioma were identified at the University of Manitoba.
"The importance of workplace safety and the worker’s right to know cannot be stressed enough," CAUT president Loretta Czernis said. "Academic staff associations will need to be vigilant about identifying workplace hazards and ensuring that joint health and safety committees are notified so that appropriate action and prevention can be taken."
Asbestos campaign information is available online.