Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In Canada Work Kills

A new study issued today says that five Canadians die every day on the job. That is 1100 workers every year killed on the job.That does not include the number injured on the job or who suffer the health affects from workplace dangers.
On December 12, 2006, the CSLS released a new research report “Five Deaths a Day: Workplace Fatalities in Canada, 1993-2005 ”. This report provides a detailed analysis of the characteristics of persons who die on the job and the reasons they die in order to help gain a better understanding of developments over time in this key indicator of job quality and labour market well-being. Two key messages emerge from this study. First, despite the problems associated with the definition and measurement of workplace fatalities, the number and rate of workplace fatalities in Canada, even from accidents, is unacceptably high. Second, insufficient progress is being made in reducing the number and rate of workplace fatalities. Canada can do much better. The Executive Summary is available in English and French in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website. Please Click here for the Press Release in English and French .

It is the silent crime of capitalism, and no one is ever jailed for the murder of Canadians on the job. Something we should all be MADD about.

In fact it is finally a criminal offense in Canada to knowingly kill workers on the job, as a result of the Westray Mining Disaster. However the key word here is 'knowingly'. As in deliberate negligence. Run of the mill negligence due to speed up, ignoring safety regulations, etc. means you may get a fine under provincial labour laws. But the bosses never go to jail for murder. They would spend more time in jail for hitting someone with their car while driving drunk. Despite the Westray law, the Criminal Code has yet to be amended to protect workers.

Labour standards in Canada are a provincial matter, and the Federal government Department of Labour has never addressed the issue even when it affects its own employees under the Federal Labour Code.

And we continue to die from Asbestos poisioning, as Canada promotes Asbestos use internationally with your tax dollars, in opposition to the international campaign to ban asbestos.

And don't expect the BQ to speak out on the Asbestos issue, they will simply ask the Feds for more handouts since all the Asbestos comes from Quebec.

As usual workers are expendable, now if they were consumers they would be protected. Wait a minute every worker is a consumer. But anti-smoking, anti-drunk driving campaigns and the like get Federal funding and popular support while workplace deaths and injuries get ignored. Business as usual.

So the next time someone says unions are outdated, a thing of the past, remind them that workers in Canada would have no health and safety protections without them. That until the last boss go to jail for killing workers, the union will roll on.

Workplace deaths spiking, study finds

The number of work-related fatalities is Canada is rising sharply, revealing a dark side to the boom in the oil fields, mining and the construction sector.

It also reflects a steady increase in the number of workers dying from long-ago exposure to dangerous products such as asbestos, according to a report being released today by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards

In 2005, the number of workplace fatalities totalled 1,097, an average of five every working day, said Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the CSLS.

The 119-page report, titled Five Deaths a Day, shows the number of work-related deaths has risen 45 per cent, to 1,097 last year from 758 in 2003.

"The numbers and rates of workplace fatalities are troubling," he said. "Other countries are making progress in this area but we're not

In fact, only four other countries have higher rates of workplace fatalities than Canada -- South Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Turkey.

Dr. Sharpe cautioned, however, that the lack of standardized measurements makes direct comparison between countries difficult. What is more important, he said, is the trend.

"In almost all other industrial countries, workplace fatalities are going down, but not in Canada."

He said one explanation is that Canada's "goods-producing sector" is booming, and it represents a much larger percentage of the economy than in most countries.

In fact, the industries where workers have the greatest risk of dying on the job are those that typify Canada's image: fishing, mining, forestry and construction.

Canadian workers are also paying the price for the widespread use of asbestos and its continued mining and export. Almost two-thirds of occupational exposure deaths were related to asbestos.

'We have also linked the increase in workplace deaths in Canada to asbestos exposure,'' says the Centre for the Study of Living Standards report, which is critical of Canada's continued mining, use, and exportation of a substance that many other industrial countries have banned. ''Indeed, Canada refuses to sign an international agreement to ban the export of asbestos,'' it adds.

NDP MP Pat Martin, a former asbestos miner, expressed shock at the increase in workplace deaths and the role of asbestos in that increase, and anger at the Canadian government's support for the asbestos industry.

''Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known,'' said the Manitoba MP, who still undergoes yearly tests on his asbestos scarred lungs. ''And Canada is in complete denial of the health risks.''

The asbestos mines in Quebec are mostly located in economically depressed areas, and critics suggest the government has taken a stand against closures for that reason.

''We're still the second largest producer and exporter of asbestos in the world but we won't say 'boo' because all the mines are in Quebec,'' Martin said. ''It's appalling.''

The industry is a money loser but is subsidized by the federal government, a subsidy which Martin said was just doubled.

According to government documents, federal payments to the Asbestos Institute rose to $250,000 this fiscal year from $125,000 last year.

The contribution, according to the estimates, is to "foster the international implementation of the safe and responsible use of chrysotile asbestos."

CBC News Indepth: Workplace safety

Annual job-related deaths (worldwide): 1.9 million-2.3 million
Annual deaths caused by work accidents (worldwide): 355,000
Annual deaths attributed to job-released diseases (worldwide): 1.6 million
Annual number of cases of job-related disease (worldwide): 217 million
Percentage of annual GDP (worldwide) lost to accidents and work-related diseases: 4
Workplace deaths in Canada (2004): 928
Annual cost to Canadian economy of stress-related injuries: $16 billion - $33 billion
Sources: International Labour Organization, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

  • On average, one worker in 12 is injured at work.
  • Workers compensation boards recorded 953 work-related deaths in 2003.
  • The boards typically record one million injuries every year.
  • Every year, nearly 17,000 teen workers are injured.
  • The back is the part of the body most commonly injured – 29 per cent of injuries.

  • Que. labour union decries surge in workplace deaths

    The Canadian Press

    Published: Monday, March 13, 2006

    MONTREAL -- The Quebec Federation of Labour has denounced last year's 20-per-cent increase in the number of workplace fatalities.

    The union said 225 workers died last year. It's a situation that must prompt the province's health and safety board to treat the situation seriously, QFL president Henri Masse said at a news conference.

    The statistics weren't an aberration because 34 deaths occurred in January and February 2006, a 52-per-cent increase over 2004 and 2005, he said.

    Union official Richard Goyette said it's time to punish negligent employers.

    The union is seeking the imposition of hefty fines against companies that are delinquent in safety matters. The maximum fine is $20,000, compared to $1 million at the federal level, $500,000 in Ontario and British Columbia, and $250,000 in most other provinces.

    ``It's a real bargain for delinquent employers and it doesn't incite them to improve prevention,'' said Michel Arsenault, Quebec director of the metalworkers' union.

    The unions also want the addition of more government inspectors.

    "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living" -- Mother Jones

    We count it death to falter, not to die

    Erected and dedicated October 12, 1936, in honor and to the everlasting memory of Mary "Mother" Jones, "General" Alexander Bradley and the martyrs of the Virden Riot of 1898. By the members of the Progressive Miners of America and the Women's Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners of America, assisted by many loyal and devout friends, sympathizers, and labor and fraternal organizations.

    Mary "Mother" Jones

    When the sun, in all his state,
    illumed the eastern skies,
    she passed through glory's morning gate,
    and walked in paradise.

    Sleep the sleep of the noble blest,
    for in life you sacrificed and gave.
    We pledge to fill your last request,
    "Let no traitor breathe o'er my grave."


    Work Kills

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    1 comment:

    Renegade Eye said...

    Again a powerful post. Thank you for the data.