Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Federal OHS program deteriorating

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently released a study about the state of occupational health and safety in the federal jurisdiction (i.e., the federal civil servants plus workers in banking, telecommunication, rail, interprovincial trucking, etc.). 

While occupational health and safety in the federal jurisdiction is largely unstudied, the Lac-Megantic derailment (right) shows us why safety inspections in the federal jurisdiction are so important.

Waiting to happen: Why we need major changes to the health and safety regime in federally regulated workplaces details some alarming issues that include:
  • The number of health and safety inspectors has dropped from 151 inspectors in 2005 to 67 as of April, 2015 (>50% loss).
  • Between 2002 and 2013, 684 employees died as a result of workplace injury.
  • There were nearly 21,000 disabling injuries in the federally regulated sector in 2012 alone.
At the same time, changes to the federal Labour Code (hidden in the Conservative’s 2013 omnibus bill) reduced the power of the remaining inspectors and weakened workers’ ability to refuse unsafe work. Overall, this report details shameful public policy that is negatively affecting the health of 1.2 million workers and endangering the Canadians that they serve.

-- Bob Barnetson

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