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.
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