Now that the province of Alberta is moving towards relaunching its economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some are wondering if enough is being done to protect workers from getting infected.
The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) has released a list of the top 100 jobs in the province that possess the highest risk of infection from coronavirus.
Out of the top five on the list, four are in the dental industry:
- Dental hygienists and dental therapists
- Dental assistants
- General practitioners and family physicians
The AFL says it ranked the occupations based on two variables: how long they spend in close proximity with others and how frequently they would come into contact with contagious diseases and infections.
Of the top five on the list, dental hygienists and dental therapist had the maximum score possible.
Given this data, the AFL says the UCP government needs to do more to protect workers by helping provide the tools they need.
"We’ve flattened the curve, but the virus is still circulating," says AFL president Gil McGowan in a release. "There’s still no vaccine and no treatment. And the virus is still potentially deadly. The government has an obligation to protect the health of all Albertans; but, as people return to work, the premier and his officials have a particular duty to workers in high-risk jobs."
The remainder of the top 10 riskiest positions are:
- Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
- Paramedical occupations
- Licenced practical nurses
- Medical sonographers
- Medical radiation technologists
The AFL adds all healthcare workers should be considered in an "extreme risk" to be infected with COVID-19 while many first responders including police officers and firefighters are at significant risk.
The group says the list is just one tool to help Albertans identify the risks and keep themselves safe and just because your job isn't ranked anywhere on it means its low-risk.
"As we move forward together, we cannot afford to make mistakes – especially mistakes that common sense and best practices can help us avoid," says McGowan. "We must all work together as public health orders are loosened and businesses are allowed to reopen – and government must act with their unique authority and power to ensure that workplaces and workers are kept safe."
Further information, including the entire list of occupations, can be found online.