More young people are learning about workplace safety, fewer workers are being injured on the job, and more high-risk industries are becoming safer.
This was some of the progress highlighted at the Safety Services Nova Scotia Workplace Health and Safety Conference today, March 23.
During the conference, more than 500 workers, employers, safety leaders and government officials discussed how they will continue to increase education and awareness to improve workplace safety in the province.
“Over the last couple of years, workers, employers, industry, and governments have come together like never before to address safety, and I can see in the fishing industry that it’s making a difference,” said Leonard LeBlanc, an active member of the Safe at Sea Alliance and recently retired 32-year veteran fish harvester.
The Department of Labour and Advanced Education and the Workers’ Compensation Board joined to discuss some of the work happening under the Workplace Safety Strategy.
“For many years, workplace safety didn’t receive the attention it deserved,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “We expected our workplaces to be safe, but safety doesn’t just happen. We have to plan for it and work for it – and that’s what’s happening now. Together, we’re making Nova Scotia workplaces safer.”
In 2014, the number of people hurt seriously enough to lose time from work fell from 6,034 to 5,953 – a reduction of 81 injuries, and the lowest in the last decade. This was a significant reduction from 2005, when the number of workers seriously hurt was 9,046.
Other progress highlights include:
— more targeted inspections of high-risk companies with poor safety records
— more young workers are learning about the importance of safety in the workplace and telling us why working safely matters to them
— more fishermen are wearing personal flotation devices and are making better decisions based on safe weather conditions
— the creation of a Safe at Sea Alliance to develop an industry-led, long-term Fishing Safety Action Plan
— no fatalities in the construction industry in 2014, historically one of the most dangerous industries in the province
— the hiring of a dedicated occupational health and safety prosecutor and additional safety inspectors
— a toolkit has been developed for small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they have resources they need to make better safety decisions for their workplaces.
“Workplace safety and return to work should be the foundation of tomorrow’s workforce, to make our goals a reality. It’s important everyone knows that when we work together, we can change safety culture,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board.
In 2013, there were 17 acute workplace fatalities and in 2014, that number was reduced to five.
For a copy of the strategy, and to view the progress made over the last two years visit http://www.workplacesafetystrategy.ca .