Time to track farm safety

Re: "Farm safety picture distorted," by Thomas Lukaszuk, Letters, March 22.

Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk writes to refute the Journal editorial "Confront lax law on farm safety," Opinion, March 16.

The minister cites the huge fines imposed for safety violations and he disputes the stats used by The Journal.

Unfortunately, he fails to mention the Alberta government does not know the number of deaths and injuries occurring in the agriculture industries because Alberta does not keep track. Only 55 per cent of hospitals have proper reporting systems for farm casualties.

He also did not mention that his ministry does not investigate farm accidents and therefore does not impose fines or penalties, and so his point that Alberta has higher fines is meaningless.

There is currently a request on the minister's desk from the official Opposition, the Alberta NDP, the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada and the Farmworkers Union of Alberta to investigate all agricultural workplace fatalities, serious injuries or injuries to a child.

We await his reply. Eric Musekamp, president, Farmworkers Union of Alberta, Bow Island

Edmonton Journal, Wed Mar 30 2011

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