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The fentanyl risk for postal workers: health and safety is not a given

In 2017, a Winnipeg postal worker stumbled upon an unconscious woman in an apartment vestibule, called 911 and suddenly had a difficult decision to make.

The 911 operator was encouraging him to perform CPR, but the postal worker suspected the woman was overdosing on fentanyl. Rather than risk exposure to a substance that can be deadly, even in extremely small quantities, he decided to wait for emergency responders to arrive instead.

“Health and safety these days is not a given for postal workers,” said Dave Lambert, the Winnipeg health and safety representative for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “It’s a daily struggle for us to push our agenda, which is better or more appropriate protocols and training in how to identify suspected biohazards or suspicious parcels.”

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