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Custodian wins workers' compensation case over perfume

December 10, 2009
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SAINT JOHN, NB, Canada — After suffering a severe allergic reaction from perfume and cologne worn by students, a custodian at Saint John High School won a workers'' compensation battle, according to the National Post.
This case, involving an unnamed custodian, is believed to be the first case in Canada where fragrances in schools have been classified as a workplace hazard, the story stated.
Gary Walker, principal of Halifax West High School, said: "I have a teacher I have sent to hospital several times in an ambulance. When Axe [body spray for men] first came out, she just dropped, the scent was so violent for her. During our parent meetings we talk about it, in our newsletters we talk about it, on our website we talk about it. We spend a lot of time on it."
According to the story, the woman, who has had similar reactions when exposed to pungent perfumes, suffered dizziness, labored breathing and "extreme chest pains" that spread across her chest and down her arms.
An appeal tribunal ruled that exposure to the perfume qualified as an injury arising out of the janitor''s work, ordering the New Brunswick workers'' compensation commission to accept her request for benefits, the story noted.
School District 8 has had a "scent-free" policy in place for several years now because of complaints from teachers and staff, the story added.
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