Province planning crackdown on unsafe workplaces

Chris Piper fell eight stories and survived. Two weeks ago, he was cleaning windows when something went terribly wrong.

He's still recovering but the death-defying fall was just one of about 37,000 workplace accidents that happen every year in Manitoba.

24-year old Curtis Martel says he's been injured so many times at work, he's lost count.

"A lot of day to day things, like cuts and burns, working in restaurants that's really common, slips, falls, chemical burns," said Martel.

From minor injures to fatalities, the province is now cracking down on employers who repeatedly fail to keep their workplaces safe.

"I think you can expect to see more fines in the coming months," announced Jennifer Howard, Minister Responsible for the Worker's Compensation Board.

Come Monday, any company with a lot of accidents will be displayed on, www.safemanitoba.com, for you to see.

"Some companies need to be named and shamed in order to change their work practices," said Martel.

As well, the province will reward good employers by reducing Worker's Compensation rates if there are fewer injured workers, some the Federation of Labour says will cause other problems.

"Sadly there are a number of employers out there that use that way to game the system," said Kevin Rebeck, "they use intimidation, pressure or misinformation so workers don't report their claims."

"We need to make sure the incentives actually result in safer workplaces," said Howard.

The province is conducting a review of the entire Workplace Safety and Health Act, changes it hopes will prevent accidents from happening.

© Global News. A division of Shaw Media Inc., 2012.

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