Minister Asks Workplaces To Re-focus on Safety

Labour and Advanced Education

February 13, 2012 2:11 PM

Seven 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."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is asking all employers and employees to think

twice about the risks they face in the work they do.

     Between January 1st and February 7th, seven people died in

the workplace in Nova Scotia. In the past five years, the average

annual workplace death toll has been 25 people, so the number of

deaths this early is cause for concern.

     Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More says

this is a tragic start to 2012 and everyone must take immediate

action to avoid further injuries, illnesses and deaths in the

workplaces.

     A shipyard worker had a fatal heart attack, two truckers

died in separate motor vehicle accidents, two lobster fishermen

drowned, a farm worker was killed by a falling tree and a

sandblaster was crushed underneath equipment he was cleaning. All

of these deaths remain under investigation.

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Media Contact: Brian Taylor
              Labour and Advanced Education
              902-424-0281
              Cell: 902-220-1727
              E-mail: taylorbk@gov.ns.ca