The Alberta government has unveiled another set of workplace safety inspections, this time focusing on young employees.
According to The Edmonton Journal, Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said teams of Occupational Health and Safety inspectors will perform random inspections “up and above” regular inspections over the next month in places where young people usually work, such as in the retail, restaurant or construction sectors. (WCxKit)
The inspections come at a time when Lukaszuk said many “young and inexperienced workers” will enter the workforce, as high school and university students finish school and start their summer jobs or new profession. Lukaszuk noted statistics indicate young people are more prone to injuries on the job.
“They’re not accustomed to industrial environment,” he said. From 2006 to 2010, workers aged 15 to 24; roughly, 18 percent of lost-time claims filed from all workers filed 27,166 lost-time claims. Thirty-seven young people died on the job over this time, ministry statistics indicate.
J. Percy Page High School sends approximately 30 students a year into the workforce through the Registered Apprenticeship Program, coordinator James Anderson. The program allows high school students to go to school while working as an apprentice in a registered trade. Anderson welcomed the new round of inspections, saying they will add to the safety training and job site safety assessment the school provides as required by Alberta Learning. “It’s never a bad thing to have extra eyes when it comes to safety,” he said.
Lukaszuk said the inspections are also a push toward a total “culture change” where workplace safety is “second nature.” Gary Wagar, executive director of the Alberta Construction Safety Association, said workplace safety would be more achievable with ongoing safety inspections, not “safety blitzes” like this one or the one in February on forklift use. “What happens in between is complacency sets in,” said Wagar.
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labor, remarked, “blitzes must be backed with more concrete action, including ongoing random inspections.” More inspectors are required for ongoing inspections. There are presently 102 inspectors in Alberta, up from 87 one year ago. The government is expected to add 10 inspectors each year for the next three years. (WCxKit)
When this set of inspections is complete, Lukaszuk indicated he would publicly share the findings.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
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