AFL urges Albertans to put safety first on the 20th International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job
Edmonton — Albertans should not allow the economic slowdown to undermine the safety of workers.
During the commemoration of the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job, the Alberta Federation of Labour issued a reminder that the health and safety of individuals should not be sacrificed for short-term economic gain.
“During a recession, workers can be under enormous pressure to make their own safety less of a priority than the company’s bottom line,” AFL Secretary Treasurer Siobhan Vipond said. “Employers have a responsibility to provide safe work places – a slowdown in the economy does not absolve them of that.”
Alberta’s outdated Occupational Health and Safety Laws and Workers’ Compensation Board rules, which were left to languish under previous Conservative governments, exacerbate the problem by making it harder for workers to protect themselves against abusive employers.
“We are glad that Alberta’s new government is following through on their promises to modernize these laws,” Vipond said. “Robust, inclusive, and nuanced legislation will help ensure that workers’ rights are respected, that they are able to access WCB when they need to, and that they get back to work safely and in good health.”
In Alberta last year, there were 125 reported workers who died as a result of injuries or illness they sustained while performing their duties at work. The AFL estimates that this statistic is significantly lower than the actual toll of workplace accidents, since many accidents are kept off the books.
“For every worker who is grievously injured on the job, there is a family whose lives are changed forever,” Vipond said. “These are wounds to the community that last far longer than the recession. We need to ensure that our workers come home safely.”
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org