Alberta Government Thinks Not Reporting Fatalities Will Make Them Go Away

 

Alberta Provincial Government No Longer Reporting Farm Fatalities
 
The Alberta Federation of Labour (Canada) is criticizing the provincial government for no longer reporting farm fatalities, according to a report from the Canadian Press.
 
The federation claims the move is an example of how ''agricultural workers are being erased in Alberta.''
 
 
Criticism That Lack of Reporting Hides Problem
 
''This decision to stop reporting the number and nature of farm deaths helps to hide the real problem _ Alberta's deplorable lack of workplace protection for farms workers in the province,'' spokeswoman Nancy Furlong said recently.
 
''It's particularly insulting to the families of those killed on the job to have to call on the government to continue to simply report these incidents.''
 
 
Only Province in Canada Farm Workers Not Covered by Health & Safety Laws
 
The federation says the province is the only one in Canada where farm workers aren't covered by occupational health and safety laws. It says they are also excluded from legislation on hours of work and overtime, statutory holidays and vacation pay.
 
A judicial inquiry in 2008 into the death of worker Kevin Chandler in a farm accident near High River, Alta., recommended the inclusion of farm labourers in laws ensuring workplace protections.
 
''It is the government's duty to protect workers, but also to report their deaths and injuries. Death and injury prevention requires knowledge of the frequency and nature of the incidents,'' said Furlong.
 
 
Province Announced Plans on Website
 
The federation says the province announced its plans on a government website and offered no meaningful explanation for the change.
 
Alberta Agriculture said recently it is reviewing how it publishes information about farm worker deaths and injuries with an eye to protecting the privacy of victims and their families.
 
Stuart Elson, a ministry spokesman, said at least two ministries are studying the issue. ''Education and awareness are best suited to the practical realities of farming,'' Elson said. ''We are continuing to work with the Ministry of Human Services to improve farm safety. That is all I can really say at this point.''
 
 
More Criticism of Policy
 
The NDP's agriculture critic used a stop in Lethbridge, Alta., to blast the government for what he called inaction on workplace safety for farm workers.
 
David Eggen said it's disturbing that the lives of Alberta labourers on the land appear to mean so little to the government.
 
''It's very dangerous work and farm workers are not being protected with the basic rights that other workers have here in Alberta,'' Eggen said.
 
''They're far behind the rest of Canadian farm workers and now suddenly (Premier Alison) Redford makes the page go dark on the statistics that we can use to track farm workers here in the province,” he added.
 
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


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More Than One-Third of Alberta Construction Site Inspections Show Issues

More than 600 inspections of residential construction sites in Alberta lead to close to 400 orders issued, according to a recent report from The Canadian Press.

 

Occupational Health and Safety did the inspections recently and issued 394 orders, including 83 stop-work orders.(WCxKit)
 

A lack of fall protection
, or a fall protection plan, accounted for 131 orders, approximately one-third of all orders issued.

 

Dave Hancock, minister of Human Services, responsible for Occupational Health and Safety, noted the province needs to create a culture of workplace health and safety in all Albertans. He reports he wants to assess the impact of all three focused inspection campaigns the province conducted this year.

For the past several months, OHS has carried out a pilot program of evening and weekend inspections, including the recent residential construction campaign.

 

Hancock states the stepped-up schedule will continue on a regular basis.

 

''There are many sectors of our province's workforce that don't clock in from nine to five,'' said Hancock.(WCxKit)

'Revising the working hours of our OHS officers to include weekends and evenings only makes sense. This, along with our ongoing educational efforts and continuing to work with industry and safety associations, will help improve compliance in the workplace,'' he added.


Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.

 

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©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

CANADA Alberta Labor Groups Seek More Workplace Protections

Alberta labour groups are calling on the province to do more to prevent a growing number of workplace fatalities, according to a report from The Canadian Press.
 
 
The call for action comes shortly after an Edmonton worker was killed by a steel beam that collapsed at an Edmonton jobsite. (WCxKit)
 
 
The employee's death marks Alberta's 14th workplace fatality this year, which is four more than in all of 2010.
 
 
Construction worker Ali Fattah says nobody seems to be taking the situation seriously so it is becoming more dangerous.
 
 
He says a lot of the accidents are preventable.
 
 
Barrie Harrison, with the Occupational Health and Safety board, is among those at the provincial level working to prevent what he admits are too many injuries and fatalities in an inherently dangerous construction sector.
 
 
Harrison cites worker and employer safety education as a crucial part of the provincial safety strategy. He also points to the hiring of new OHS inspectors and targeted job site inspections that are intended to make jobsites safer.
 
 
While the Alberta Federation of Labour agrees education is part of the solution, it feels what the province is doing isn't enough.
 
 
The labour group's Gil McGowan says in Alberta the new inspectors only replace the inspectors who were laid-off during the Klein years, and employers receive advanced warnings about the targeted inspections, which defeats their purpose.
 
 
He believes those factors contribute to the province lagging behind all others when it comes to safety.
 
 
McGowan also blames the high workplace fatality numbers on the province ignoring warnings, and not taking advantage of a lull in development to adequately prepare for safety issues related to our province's returning growth. (WCxKit)
 
 
McGowan noted further tragedies could be averted if the government puts what he believes is just talk into action  specifically more unannounced inspections, and a more aggressive approach to prosecuting employers who put their workers at risk.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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. He is co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Alberta Hockey Rink Dedicated to Fallen Worker

An Alberta community has dedicated their rebuilt hockey rink to a young worker who was killed on the job, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
 
 
The Josh Malysh Rink of Dreams, just outside Devon, Alberta, about 40 kilometers southwest of Edmonton, was officially opened last month. Josh's father, Charles Malysh, said about 500 people came out for the opening. (WCxKit)
 
 
"The old one was falling apart. My son had spent a lot of time there playing shinny with his friends, and when we approached the idea to do a park or something as a memorial, [his friends and family] wanted to do something where Josh spent a lot of time, which was at that rink," said Malysh.
 
 
The new rink was built by a crew of mostly friends and family using donated materials, according to Malysh, after the old outdoor rink was demolished about a month ago.
 
 
Josh Malysh's friends filled the concrete pad that the ice will sit on with mementos of his life. His goalie sticks were buried in the concrete under the nets, his old jersey under centre ice and his trophies were placed in a container and buried as well.
 
 
Josh Malysh was working with Sureway Construction in southwest Edmonton, installing water and sewer lines in a new subdivision. As the crew was lowering a concrete sewer pipe into the trench he was working in, it swung around unexpectedly, pinning the 21-year-old worker against the wall of the trench and fatally crushing him, said Barrie Harrison, a spokesman for Alberta Employment and Immigration.
 
 
A stop work order was issued after the incident, but OH&S charges have not been laid, Harrison said.
 
 
Charles Malysh also works for Sureway, as a project manager. He wasn't on site at the time of the accident, but says he was there when his son was pulled out of the trench. (WCxKit)
 
 
"What they think is you are safe at home, you're safe at work, the place where an accident is going to happen is going to and from. In this case it was an accident at work and I'm trying to show them accidents happen all over the place," said Malysh. "You have to be safe all the time."
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Canadian Regulations Proving Cancer is Work-Related for Firefighters

Shortly after stating that four more cancers were added to the list of occupational diseases covered by presumptive workers compensation legislation, Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI) has proposed including the province's 10,000 volunteer firefighters under the presumptive umbrella, according to Canadian OH&S News.
 
 
On May 10, AEI came out noting that an amendment to the Workers Compensation Act had been recently unveiled that, if passed, would permit volunteer, part-time and casual (on-call) firefighters to receive presumptive compensation for the 14 cancers currently covered under the legislation. (WCxKit)
 
 
The amendments, which went to third reading on May 11, mean that firefighters regularly exposed to the hazards of a fire scene would receive workers comp minus having to demonstrate the burden of proof. The province's 3,500 full-time
 
 
The announcement comes six days after the government added the following items: prostate, breast, skin and multiple myeloma cancers to the 10 diseases presently assumed to be work-related. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have likewise coverage for volunteer firefighters, according to an AEI statement.
 
 
Manitoba was Canada’s first jurisdiction to put in place presumptive legislation in 2002, which now includes 14 cancers and applies to full-time and volunteer firefighters. (WCxKit)
 
 
In Manitoba, the provincial Workers Compensation Board (WCB), the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg Local 867 (UFFW) and Global Television recently partnered on a TV advertising campaign to back safe work practices and early detection and screening of occupational cancers, according to a UFFW executive board member.
 
 

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.

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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