Number unacceptably high
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.