News Release Archive

LABOUR-Retail Inspection Blitz
It's not just shoppers that will blitz retail stores as Christmas

Inspectors from the Department of Labour and Fire Marshal's
Office will randomly check about 50 retail outlets throughout the
province from now until Dec. 20 to identify occupational health
and safety concerns.

With the introduction of the 1986 Occupational Health and Safety
Act the retail sector was brought under provincial regulations.
Although advances have been made in improving health and safety,
there is still room for improvements.

About 18 per cent of employers in the province are in the retail
sector and they employ up to 15 per cent of the workforce,
according to 1993 statistics. In 1996 the retail sector accounted
for 11 per cent of time loss claims filed with the Workers'
Compensation Board. 

There's more than human suffering associated with accidents in
the workplace. There have been significant financial losses due
to fires. In 1995 there were 45 fires, adding up to a loss of
$1.8 million. 

Labour Minister Gerald O'Malley said the aim of the inspections
is to raise awareness of health and safety, and fire prevention.

"We want to help retailers identify problems they may have and
take steps to fix them. Working together is the only way we are
going to achieve safer and healthier workplaces that benefit
employers, employees and customers."

"We want to raise awareness at this busy time of year to maintain
acceptable standards," said Mr. O'Malley. "This is a reminder
that during the busy holiday season retailers shouldn't let their
guard down when it comes to health and safety."

He said this also gives inspectors from the Department of
Labour's Occupational Health and Safety Division and the Fire
Marshal's Office an opportunity to work side by side. "While
their everyday responsibilities differ they do share a common
goal, and this experience allows them to share ideas and


Contact: John  Whidden
         Department of Labour

ngr                Dec. 11, 1997                10:30 a.m.