Workplace safety should be a priority

The Weyburn Labour Council will be observing a solemn occasion on Sunday, April 28, as they will mark the Day of Mourning with a ceremony at the Tommy Douglas Centre.
The Day of Mourning is observed across Canada as a national event, since it was enacted by Parliament in 1991 to remember those who have died or were injured while on the job.
This event brings the issue of workplace safety to the forefront, as each year over 1,000 Canadians are killed while working, and many more are injured, some seriously.
In Saskatchewan, there were 48 people who died in 2018 in workplace fatalities, 28 of them from traumatic events and 20 from occupational disease, according to the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
For injuries, 22,371 workers were hurt on job last year in Saskatchewan, which shows there is a clear need for a focus on safety in the workplace.
Workplace safety can range from the procedures for being safe around a service rig or drilling rig in the oilpatch, to being safe on the farm as spring seeding approaches, to those who work around hazardous chemicals or substances such as asbestos in older buildings.
There are organizations dedicated to promoting workplace safety, such as Worksafe Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Safety Council, plus the main agency overseeing workplace safety, Occupational Health and Safety, which sets regulations and standards for companies to observe to ensure their employees are safe.
According to the WCB, 88 per cent of employers in Saskatchewan had no injuries or fatalities for the third year in a row, which is a good number. On the other hand, the incidence of workplace injuries increased slightly, a sign that the focus on safety has to be ongoing.
Injuries and fatalities not only impact the lives of the workers and their families, but the costs of caring for those injuries is borne by the company, through the WCB, and is reflected in the economy as health care costs and time lost from work.
The costs of health care relate to both physical recovery from injuries but also the toll taken on mental health when a serious injury occurs.
Safety on the job is a concern for every person, and as people take time to reflect on those hurt or killed, we need to reflect on what we can do around home or the workplace to make things safer for everyone.

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