Province, Safety Leaders Work to Improve Workplace Safety

Labour and Advanced Education

November 21, 2012 2:23 PM

Employers and employees will have a say in how administrative penalties are used to make their workplaces safer.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More today, Nov. 21, announced a review of the province's administrative penalties, which were put in place in 2010. The penalties, fines for employers and employees who break safety laws, act as a deterrent, and help better protect Nova Scotians on the job.
     
"Our focus is protecting workers, and administrative penalties are an important tool," said Ms. More. "That said, we need to make sure they are having the best impact as we continue to improve safety for our workers.

"The review will focus on ensuring we are assigning the penalties for the right types of offences and that they promote better overall safety."

The review is part of a new five-year workplace safety strategy being developed with the Workers Compensation Board. It aims to make Nova Scotia one of the safest places to work in the country.

"We are seeing improvements in our safety record, but there is still much work to be done," said Ms. More. "This strategy will work to identify areas that need improvement, and ways that we can make our workplaces safer, so that all Nova Scotians who get up and go to work, return home safe."

Over the past several months, the province and the Workers Compensation Board have been gathering feedback from many employees, employers and other safety partners for the strategy. Twenty-six consultations took place across the province with more than 400 participants, and another 1,000 Nova Scotians provided feedback online. A strategy framework has been developed, and consultations will continue over the next couple of months.

During consultations concerns were voiced about administrative penalties, including the inconsistency with which the penalties were given out and their effectiveness.

"We are pleased that the province has listened to the construction industry and is taking initiative to review these penalties," said Duncan Williams, president of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. "These penalties have their place in preventing workplace accidents, but we feel the administration and processes require examination and can be improved going forward."

"Safe workplaces and workers are a critical part of Nova Scotia's future," said Rick Clark, president, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. "Administration penalties are just one tool that help us make that happen, and we need a review that will help align the penalties with all the other tools available."

A finalized workplace safety strategy is expected to be released early in the new year.

For more information about the workplace safety strategy, visit www.workplacesafetystrategy.ca.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Employers and employees will have a say in how

administrative penalties are used to make their workplaces

safer.

     Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More today

(November 21st), announced a review of the province's

administrative penalties, which were put in place in 2010. The

penalties, fines for employers and employees who break safety

laws, act as a deterrent, and help better protect Nova Scotians

on the job.

     Ms. More says the review will focus on ensuring penalties

are assigned for the right types of offences and that they

promote better overall safety.

     The review is part of a new five-year workplace safety

strategy being developed with the Workers Compensation Board. It

aims to make Nova Scotia one of the safest places to work in the

country. A finalized workplace safety strategy is expected to be

released early in the new year.

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Media Contact: Chrissy Matheson
              Labour and Advanced Education
              902-424-0281
              E-mail: mathescl@gov.ns.ca