More than 300 local government delegates from across B.C. met in Vancouver recently to share strategies and reaffirm their commitment to protecting workers from occupational injury, disease, and death, according to a report from WorkSafeBC.
The 2011 BC Municipal Occupational Health and Safety Conference provided a forum for governments, municipalities, school boards, and other public sector agencies to exchange success stories about improving health and safety in the workplace through a series of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions. The BC Municipal Safety Association (BCMSA), CUPE BC, and WorkSafeBC sponsored the conference. (WCxKit)
These discussions affect a significant portion of Vancouver’s working public. Approximately 513 employers, responsible for the occupational health and safety of more than 39,800 workers, are registered with WorkSafeBC’s local government sector. Between 2006 and 2010, this sector experienced a 20 percent decrease in workplace injuries. Yet, despite the encouraging news, WorkSafeBC accepted more than 9,100 injury claims — 2,200 of which were labeled serious injuries — during the same time period.
“Public sector workers are exposed to a wide variety of hazards,” says Cathy Cook, conference chairperson and executive director of the BCMSA. “We have put together these sessions to help employers, supervisors, and workers be aware of the hazards and provide them with some real-life solutions to improve their safety.”
The BC Municipal Safety Association is a non-profit society that provides a common focal point for occupational health and safety concerns in the municipal environment. Its purpose is to identify and address these concerns, and to create learning opportunities for its members. All employers in the local government and related operations classification unit are members of the BCMSA. (WCxKit)
“BCMSA’s increased safety training throughout the province, their enhanced Web site, e-newsletter, and overall engagement in the municipal sector on safety matters is making a difference,” says Ed Dowling, general industries manager for WorkSafeBC’s Industry and Labour Services. “The feedback from past conferences is outstanding. Employers, supervisors, and employee representatives are returning to their worksites as safety champions. We see a compounding effect — demonstrated by a 20 percent decrease in injuries since 2006.”
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