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Nova Scotians Encouraged to Make Workplace Safety a Habit

NOTE: A list of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week activities follows this release.
Workers, employers, government, and safety leaders are doing their part to make workplace safety a habit so that more workers come home healthy and safe at the end of the day.

Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan will join close to 200 safety professionals and workers to kick off North American Occupational Safety and Health Week at a symposium in Dartmouth, today, May 5.

During the symposium, topics like safety leadership, occupational health and safety law, and making safety a part of the daily work routine will be discussed.

“I am happy to see so much work underway to improve workplace safety across the province,” said Carl Yates, general manager, Halifax Water. “We have been working very hard over the last year to make even more improvements to our safety programs and we are seeing some changes. We share the belief that working safely is the only way to work, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect our workers.

“We talk about safety every single day at Halifax Water and we encourage other companies to do the same. We’re looking forward to continuing to play our part to make sure our workers come home safe to their families at the end of the day.”

During the symposium, Ms. Regan, along with Stuart MacLean, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), will release a progress report on the province’s Workplace Safety Strategy. The five-year strategy, developed by thousands of Nova Scotians, focuses on increasing leadership, education and compliance in an effort to make Nova Scotia the safest place to work in Canada.

“Every day we do things without even thinking about it to make sure we remain safe, whether it be locking our doors, buckling our seat belts, or turning off the stove,” said Ms. Regan. “Today I call on all Nova Scotians to add working safely to their list of daily habits.

“Illness, injury and death should not be part of the job, and if we make a collective effort to keep safety our top priority at work, we can reduce and even eliminate heartbreaking workplace incidents.”

The first year of the strategy is now complete and work is underway to:
— partner with industry to increase inspections in high-risk industries by 200 per cent over the next year
— improve education and compliance by hiring an additional 18 occupational health and safety staff, including five new inspectors and a new prosecutor
— provide more training, including the delivery of more than 3,000 online safety courses, as part of a team effort to improve workplace safety
— increase marketing and promotional efforts, such as the What Matters Most marketing campaign, and WCB’s Safe@MyJob workplace safety quiz and certificate for grade 10-12 students
— create a Safe at Sea Alliance to develop an industry-led, long-term Fishing Safety Action Plan

The WCB has also hired a workplace consultant to support injury prevention and return-to-work programs for small and medium businesses.

“More and more, Nova Scotians are making safety a habit by choosing to only do something if they can do it safely,” said Mr. MacLean. “We’re seeing that commitment reflected in the progress we’ve achieved by working with our safety partners.”

Changes are also being made to the administrative penalties system to make them more consistent and fair, to make the appeals process clearer, and to direct the funds collected specifically into safety programs and initiatives.

For more information on North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, visit www.naosh.ca .

The Workplace Safety Strategy progress report is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/lae .

Source: Release

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