Alberta has released the results of a workplace inspection blitz on employers which typically employer young workers (15- to 24-year-olds). Convenience stores and restaurants were the primary targets.
Of the 118 initial inspections, 36 resulted in no orders to remedy violations. The remaining 82 inspections saw 181 orders issued, although none were stop-work or stop-use orders.
The particular areas of concern were hazard assessment and abatement, emergency preparedness and response, first aid, and WHMIS safety information—all preventative steps designed to reduce the occurrence or severity of workplace injury.
The Ministry’s press release is titled “Positive workplace safety results a good sign for Alberta's young workers”. But pretty clearly these results are not positive. Seventy per cent of employers inspected weren’t obeying pretty basic safety rules.
The kicker is that employers knew these inspectors were coming (the blitz was announced months ago). That 70% didn’t get their ducks in a row tells you a lot about the degree of respect employers have of occupational health and safety rules in Alberta.
And that the government tries to spin this as a good news story tells you a lot about the degree of respect it has for Albertan’s intelligence.
Next up is residential construction. That should be quite interesting as a walk around any neighbour in Edmonton reveals widespread non-use of fall protection.
-- Bob Barnetson