Minister Asks Workplaces To Refocus on Safety

first_imgSeven workplace deaths in just over a month should make Nova Scotia employers and employees think twice about the risks they face in the work they do. Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 25 workers died on the job, so this many deaths so early in the year is cause for concern. “This is a tragic start to 2012 and all of us must take immediate action to avoid further injuries, illnesses and deaths in our workplaces,” said Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “Whether one works on a hectic shop floor or a seemingly safe office, we need to change our ‘I’ve done this a million times so it must be safe’ mindset.” To date, two truckers died in separate motor vehicle accidents, two fishermen drowned while checking on lobster crates at low tide, a farm worker was killed by a falling tree and a sandblaster was crushed underneath equipment he was cleaning. All of these incidents remain under investigation. A shipyard worker also had a fatal heart attack. In recent years, almost half of all workplace deaths were caused by chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease. So far, only one workplace death resulted from a chronic illness this year. Keeping workplaces safe is a joint effort between government, employers and employees. Government investigates injuries and illnesses, enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and promotes safe work practices. It works closely with the Workers’ Compensation Board, safety organizations and industry safety associations across the province. Employers and employees likely have the greatest impact on workplace safety because they usually have an intimate knowledge of the work they do, and the materials and practices that are used. “Employers and employees need to remain vigilant to the risks facing them at work,” said Jim LeBlanc, executive director, Occupational Health and Safety division. “In so many investigations, we find that most injuries could have been avoided if more consideration had been given to the task and how it was to be done.”last_img