Do you feel lucky, punk?
Well… do you?
Every day, four Canadians will die as a result of a workplace accident, injury or industrial disease. If you make it home from work today, you are one of the lucky ones.
Statistically speaking, 1000 Canadian workers die annually as a result of workplace fatalities. This number is unacceptably high, despite Canada having some of the best health and safety laws in the world.
Employers continue to fail to ensure:
- That their workers are safe on the job-site, with the right tools for the right job in the right place;
- That workers have received adequate training and resources to equip them for the jobs they are being asked to do;
- Advise workers that they have the right to refuse to work in conditions that they (or others) perceive to be unsafe;
- That accidents are reported, investigated and prevented from re-occurring.
In many Canadian jurisdictions, the ongoing monitoring of labour and safety standards continues to be cut back. So called “voluntary” industry compliance programs increasingly take their place. Canada can, and should do much better to ensure the enforcement of occupational and environmental health and safety regulations.
April 28th is the National Day of Morning (Jour National De Deuil). On this day, take pause from your workday to remember those who have lost their lives on the job, or as a result of occupational disease. It is a designated day to honour the families left behind, and contemplate action to demand safer work environments. It is a daunting task in the wake of the ongoing growth of industry and construction in our nation.
Enough is enough.
It is time to enforce the law and bring employers who are negligent and dangerous to justice.
What can be done to reverse this trend?
- Provinces and territories can appoint special prosecutors to lay charges against employers when their actions cause serious death, disease or injury.
- Implement and enact new regulations that deal with known dangers in the workplace (violence, exposure to toxins/carcinogens, repetitive stress injuries, poor ergonomics, workplace harassment, stress) to ensure their prevention.
- Hire more inspectors to ensure compliance.
All accidents are preventable. Don’t become a statistic. Come home safely.