Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
A month-long inspection campaign focused on Alberta workplaces where young workers are employed has resulted in 181 orders being issued to employers throughout the province.
A bright spot may be that there were no stop-work or stop-use orders handed out, notes an AEI statement.” This means that of the 118 initial inspections, there was no indication of imminent danger.”
Of the orders issued, three-quarters were related to five areas: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) (41), inadequate first-aid training (34), hazard assessment, elimination and control, (28), emergency preparedness (18), and chemical/biological hazards and harmful substances (14).
Employment and immigration minister Thomas Lukaszuk calls the results “a step in the right direction,” but emphasizes that “there is still work to do.”
Inspections were carried out between May 11, 2011 and June 10, 2011. The inspection report notes that two sectors – food convenience stores and restaurant/take-out food services – that employ workers aged 15 to 24 were targeted.
“AEI conducted focused inspections at worksites where young people are frequently employed and exposed to known hazards that may result in traumatic injuries and disorders, sprains, strains and tears, open wounds, surface wounds and bruises, and burns,” adds the statement from the Department.
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour in Edmonton, says the report fails to deal with one of the biggest threats faced by young people working in the targeted sectors: violence. McGowan points to neighbouring British Columbia were working-alone requirements include scheduling two workers at once, or protecting lone workers with the use of locked doors or barriers.
“We’re not calling for an across-the-board ban on working alone, just a band for those industries were we know the problem exists,” he argues.
Results of Alberta’s series of focused inspections will be used to determine future inspection needs and to track hazard control trends in specific industries.
This report is a little dated, I agree, but as you can tell, the trend to not issue any type of discipline to companies has been a trend in Alberta for a very long time. The province of Alberta needs to take a pro-active approach when dealing with health and safety instead of taking a backseat approach.
Young people are being hurt on the job all the time. They leave school thinking of only two things: how much of my going to make and how many hours of my going to work. They truly believe that their employer is doing everything they can to protect them. Not true in many places and that is why laws are continually being updated right across Canada to ensure the new workforce, whether it be young people ready to contribute or to migrant workers, new to Canada, either way there has to be better protection for all.
All employers need to do everything they can to protect their workforce. Young people need to be protected just like everybody else.
Remember – Alberta Health and Safety – An Oxymoron!
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.