The BC Nurses Union has serious concerns about the health and safety of nurses and other health care workers in the province.

The BCNU says questionable safety practices are being used in some health facilities.

It’s concerned about measures such as nurses being asked to use re-processed and expired personal protective equipment to protect themselves and patients as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The union says it has received more than 17 hundred complaints from nurses across the province who are concerned their employers are unable to provide adequate equipment such as gowns, gloves, face shields, and N95 respirator masks.

BCNU president Christine Sorensen is troubled by reports of nurses being asked to take questionable measures to preserve personal protection equipment.

Sorenson says, “nurses are getting only one mask per shift. Others have been told to leave their used mask on a piece of paper towel when they go on a break.”

Sorensen adds, respirators, masks and other pieces of equipment “are meant to be the last line of defense for care providers after all other control measures are in place,”

She says there are hospital emergency rooms in BC that still have triage desks without Plexi-glass barriers, like the ones used in grocery stores and food processing plants.

Sorensen says they want to know how health employers will deal with the challenges that continue to arise as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.

The BCNU’s call to protect nurses comes during Safety and Health Week 2020.

The annual event promotes the importance of workplace injury and illness prevention.