Sudbury group develops risk registry for safe needle disposal

Fred Dunham and Angele Poitras tell CTV News about a new safety template to help communities with safe needle disposal. December 12, 2019 (Alana Everson/CTV Northern Ontario)

Workplace Safety North has a mandate to keep communities across our region safeand it is sharing a new safety document across Canada.

Over the past year, the health and safety association has worked with the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth to help tackle a serious issue linked to the opioid crisis, safe needle disposal.

The detailed document shows the risks and potential solutions associated with the cleanup of used needles littering our streets and public areas.

Angele Poitras is the community engagement specialist forWorkplace Safety North.

"The risk registry will be offered to any organization that is interested or is actually picking up needles. We do have a commitment from the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities to present to the mayors and council, and our hope is that they will take this registry and use it in their own communities," said Poitras.

Fred Dunham is a community support worker who has been doing needle cleanup for two years in Sudbury. 

Along with an engineer from Workplace Safety North, he helped develop the risk registry.

"This is basically a template, and what it is, is a template for every city in Canada to go out there and start something up like this. If you have a needle problem, a syringe problem, in your city and you need to set up an organization to tackle this problem, this risk assessment is a template for you," said Dunham.

The risk registry was funded by Workplace Safety North.

"The opioid crisis, you can’t travel any community in any part of Canada actually, let alone northern Ontario, and we all want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You can sit there and complain or go out there and find positive things to do," said Poitras.

The risk registry is free of charge and is available to organizations involved in cleaning up used needles.