Num­ber un­ac­cept­ably high

The Compass - - NEWS -

each year in this coun­try has risen for the past 15 years.”

In 2007, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Boards of Canada, some 1,055 peo­ple lost their lives at work that year.

“That’s four peo­ple ev­ery work day, dead be­cause their work­place was not safe...be­cause they got in­jured...got can­cer...or be­cause they were at­tacked.”

(That’s) “four peo­ple who will never come home again be­cause their em­ployer failed to en­sure they were safe at work.”

In ad­di­tion to the work­ers who lose their lives on the job, McCarthy points out, “there are many oth­ers who where the death goes un­re­ported if they die of a dis­ease un­rec­og­nized as an oc­cu­pa­tional dis­ease.”

Unions and work­ers say they would like to know why this is be­ing al­lowed to con­tinue and why are em­ploy­ers not be­ing called to ac­count?

They con­tend: “The num­ber and rate of work­place fatal­i­ties in Canada, even from ac­ci­dents is un­ac­cept­ably high. We have failed to make progress in re­duc­ing the num­ber and rate of work­place deaths.

Over the past 25 years suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have pledged sup­port to work­ers and their unions with new work­place health and safety laws and reg­u­la­tions - some of the best in the world. But, “un­for­tu­nately, they have failed to pro­vided the re­sources needed to en­force those new laws. Reck­less em­ploy­ers are al­lowed to carry on without con­se­quence. In many ju­ris­dic­tions,” they claim, “the mon­i­tor­ing of labour and safety stan­dards has been drasc­i­tally cut back or even re­placed by ‘vol­un­tary’ in­dus­try com­pli­ance.”

Unions and work­ers are call­ing upon the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries to ap­point spe­cial pros­e­cu­tors to lay charges against em­ploy­ers when their ac­tions cause death or se­ri­ous in­jury.

“More in­spec­tors must be hired to make sure they com­ply with the law.” They would also like to see gov­ern­ments,“en­act new reg­u­la­tions that deal with known dan­gers in to­day’s work­places, in­clud­ing work­place vi­o­lence, ex­po­sure to tox­ins and car­cino­gens, repet­i­tive stress in­juries and in­juries caused by poor er­gonomics, work­place ha­rasse­ment and stress.”

On April 28 the labour move­ment is ask­ing peo­ple to re­mem­ber and mourn those whose lives have been taken.“Think of their fam­i­lies and friends left be­hind and take action to force the law­mak­ers and leg­is­la­tures to change their ways.”

Lob­by­ing for changes on work­place health and safety is one of the pri­or­i­ties of lo­cal labour coun­cils.

Mem­bers of the Bac­calieu Trail District Labour Coun­cil meet at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 23 in Carbonear on the last Thurs­day night of each month. Union mem­bers in­ter­ested in join­ing the coun­cil are wel­come to come along for more in­for­ma­tion.

The Day of Mourn­ing at the Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Carbonear gets un­der way at 4 p.m. and in­cludes a wreath plac­ing cer­e­mony.

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