Key Lake workers ready to revolt against toxic mould

As contract workers in Key Lake, Saskatchewan are showing, ignoring mould removal when it’s clearly needed doesn’t just jeopardize people’s health. If you’re the one neglecting the problem, your business can suffer too, as workers will only tolerate living with toxic mould for so long.

That’s what’s happening in Key Lake. Roughly 260 workers from a uranium processing site there are fed up with what they believe is black mould in their kitchen and living quarters. They’ve reached the point where they’re ready to walk off the job unless their parent company, Cameco, improves the conditions.

One employee said the mould is “everywhere” and that Cameco has known about the problem since January. “They did some kind of report, they took pictures, they took samples of the mould to get it figured out.”

The anonymous employee also said that Cameco, instead of hiring a mould removal company, was looking at simply revising the air duct system or, as he put it, “sweeping dirt under the rug.”

Toxic mould isn’t something to be swept under the rug. It’s been linked to countless health problems, especially lung-related ones. It causes infections and is responsible for asthma in many cases, too.

It appears Cameco is responding to the workers’ demands. Robert Gereghty, director of communications for the company, suggested that there was simply a miscommunication with the workers and that they were commencing an Occupational Health Committee-approved plan to eliminate the mould starting this month.

“Those who want to leave the site will be allowed, they’ll be accommodated, anyone who wants to stay will be put up in other rooms, and we’re also bringing in ventilation,” Gereghty said.

The issue sounds like a case of he-said, she-said, but the bottom line is that the Key Lake workers did the right thing. It’s not right for anyone to live or work surrounded by toxic mould.

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