Innocent bystanders swallowing poisonous smoke from smokers. Basically, I don’t care if anybody smokes or how much they smoke, the more the better.What I as non-smoker care about is, though, to be forced to inhale that poison that others blow out. In other words: Swallow it. So, that I can continue to live.

A horror story follows: While working in Alberta’s oil industry from 1977 until the beginning of the 1990s, I was exposed in the workplace, in the offices, to second hand smoke. Myself I do not smoke, but many employees – particularly in the computer systems departments – did. This kind of (socially irresponsible) behavior lacking any controls or policies for protecting their employees resulted during those years in sickness, diseases of the lung and respiratory diseases. This to employees who were innocent bystanders, so to speak. Not only did our clothing get burned by employees walking around the workplace, burning cigarette in hand, but also during the last few years in the beginning of the 1980s while employed with TCPL Resources [ http://www.transcanada.com/splash/ ] this situation defied all descriptions. Arriving before 8 am for work, by 12 noon the air in the offices and corridors could be cut with a knife. Worse, because we in the computer department were sharing the air freely while working in open cubicles.

TCPL Resources took over our company Maligne Resources (a division of Dow Chemical) in 1983 . By fall I needed my first sinus surgery. Since the atmosphere inside TCPL Resources was such that we were not allowed to take out extended sick leave, I needed to go back to work soon after the surgery. My days were horror! My bleeding throat was almost choking me, while at the same time choking on others’ cigarette smoke. Of course, I commented on this situation, especially since already in all elevators in those Calgary, Alberta, high rise offices were notices posted on NO SMOKING. Result: By 1986, the new management (sent down from Toronto) started laying employees off in droves. First to go were those (complaining about the smoking) and single mothers – like myself. The heavy smokers were kept.

1986 was a bad year for finding any employment as a female systems professional (single mother with child). Those bastards ! Not only did I loose my (almost vested) company pension benefits, but had to leave behind my home in Alberta and my son go East (Ontario) and finally launch a job as a Systems (self-employed) contractor.

Years later, I found listed among others in relevant sources on companies and their social responsibility status, TCPL Resources (this arm may not exist anymore). Makes me really sick, when companies deliberately ‘kill’ their employees, than apply dirty business practices for layoff, then appear – newly born and re-invented – as socially responsible!

SMOKING CAN KILL – the Lung Association British Columbia : [ http://www.bc.lung.ca/ ] [ http://www.ilo.org/safework_bookshelf/english?content&nd=857170157

Advertisements