Health & Safety News

The Canadian Labour Congress is celebrating today’s announcement that the federal government is banning the manufacture, import, export and use of asbestos.

“We can all breathe easier,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff. “This is good public health policy that will, without question, save lives for generations to come.”

New 'Sun Safety at Work' Resources available from the Occupational Cancer Research Centre

More needs to be done to make workplaces safer for people who work outside.

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a meeting of Canada’s Building Trade Unions that the government of Canada is working on an asbestos ban.

Canada’s last asbestos producing mine closed in 2012, yet Canada’s imports of asbestos have continued to rise.

The Amalgamated Transit Union has long advocated for better protection from violence for bus drivers, who have experienced high rates of victimization for years while working alone on buses. Media reports confirm that the City of Winnipeg will move forward with a plan to have police officers on buses to better protect drivers and passengers.

CBC News Post: Feb 01, 2016 3:02 PM

Canadian Labour Congress NEWS RELEASE:

Canada’s health and safety laws have more clout today, following a landmark court ruling in Ontario that saw, for the first time, a manager held criminally responsible and sentenced to prison for actions that resulted in the deaths of four workers under his watch.

The MFL commends the provincial government on today's announcement that presumptive PTSD coverage will take effect for all workers starting on new year's day:

 

MFL President Kevin Rebeck was elated that the NDP Government of Manitoba included a commitment to enact paid workplace leave provisions for victims of domestic violence in the Speech from the Throne.

Organized Labour has been fighting against the suppression of legitimate WCB claims by employers for year's now, with incremental success.

23 year old apprentice carpenter Michael Mooney was killed when the Victoria Beach cottage RAE Construction was working on collapsed on him on June 20, 2011. Now, more than two years later, the owner of RAE Construction, 54 year old Ray Harms, has pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of workers under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Today the Province announced new and better protections for highway construction workers, including stiffer fines for drivers who speed in a construction zone and the elimination of confusing signage that instructed drivers to slow down “when workers are present”.

On Wednesday, December 4, Bill 2, the proposed road worker safety law was passed by the Manitoba legislature. The bill enables the province's plan to make road construction workplaces safer for workers.

The new law, announced by Labour Minister Erna Braun on November 15, 2013, will enable regulations that:

On Tuesday, December 3, Bill 2, the proposed road worker safety law, went to a public hearing before the Manitoba Legislative Committee on Human Resources. Worker representatives and private citizens had their say about the province's plan to make road construction workplaces safer for workers. Nearly everyone who appeared before the committee spoke in support of the new rules.

On Monday, Manitoba Conservatives reversed their position and stopped blocking a proposed road worker safety law (Bill 2) from moving forward for debate in the legislature. If the Conservatives had blocked Bill 2 another day, the new rules could not be in place for the 2014 spring construction season.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) is worried that that a new law to protect road workers will not get passed in time for the new safety rules to be in place for the spring construction season.

Word today that Vale Canada faces 10 charges under the Manitoba Workplaces Safety and Health Act in connection with the 2011 death of Steelworker, 51 year old Greg Leason.  Leason was working alone when his scoop-tram, an ore loading machine, fell down an ore chute to a lower level, killing the 23 year Inco employee, on October 7, 2011.

After the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) called for change last summer, the Manitoba government has introduced a bill to strengthen safety protections for road workers.

More than 100 union members from a number of unions rallied in front of the Manitoba Legislature in late October, asking the government of Manitoba to investigate the the state of staffing levels in privately owned long term personal care homes in the province.

WCB failing to crack down on employer abuses

WINNIPEG – Documents obtained through freedom of information reveal the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Manitoba has never once fined an employer for illegal claims suppression, despite a recent external review confirming that this employer abuse is happening in Manitoba.

When the long summer session of the Manitoba legislature finally ended on September 13, two important bills to make workplaces safer were passed. Unfortunately, they only passed after the Conservatives tried, unsuccessfully, to water them down.

Last night, Brian Pallister's Conservatives used a Manitoba legislative committee hearing to put forward legislative amendments that would roll back workplace safety rights in Bill 31, the Workplace Safety and Health Amendment Act. The Conservative amendments would have:

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck delivered a strong message to a legislative committee this week in support of the Government’s anti-bullying bill. The Bill focuses on bullying and respect for human diversity in Manitoba schools.

WINNIPEG – Current safety rules in Manitoba are not strong enough to protect road workers, says the President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), in an open letter to the Minister of Family Services and Labour.

The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is reminding employers and workers to follow safe work procedures during the hot summer months. As seasonal heat waves continue, it becomes increasingly important for outdoor workers to take precautions against the heat.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour will hold two free information sessions about the big changes under way for workplace safety and health in Manitoba.

On Monday, May 6, members of the MFL Health and Safety Committee joined organizers of Manitoba's National Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week at the Manitoba Legislature to witness a statement about NAOSH week by NDP MLA Dave Gaudreau.

On Sunday, May 5th, the MFL Health and Safety Committee participated in the 2013 Steps for Life walk to raise funds for Threads of Life, a national organization that helps families that have experienced workplace tragedies.

On April 26 at an event to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job, NDP Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced a five year plan to reduce workplace injury and illness.

The Manitoba government is investing $2 million to protect nurses, doctors, technologists, health-care aides and other health-care staff from workplace violence as well as rolling out a new provincial violence-prevention policy for all health facilities, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced here today.

A candlelight memorial Service was organized by the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) to honour the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. Similar services were held across Manitoba - in Brandon, Thompson, Dauphin and Snow Lake.

High school students from Technical Vocational High Schools were joined by labour and community leaders in a “Leaders Walk” to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job today.

Saskatchewan has passed a law that will establish Canada's first mandatory asbestos registry for public buildings.

The following is a news release from the Minister of Family Services and Labour:

Three reports that are part of a wide-ranging review of workplace injury and illness prevention will be used to create the Manitoba government’s new Action Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

At Monday’s MFL Executive Council meeting, American Income Life (AIL) Canada presented two local community organizations with $2,500 in support.

On January 29, 2013, MFL President Kevin Rebeck made a presentation to Winnipeg City Council about the City's proposed 2013 Operating Budget. The presentation identifies a series of concerns, including:

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) has filed a submission providing recommendations to Manitoba's External Review of the Workers Compensation Board's rate assessment model (the system for determining employer premiums).

The 31st annual MFL Health and Safety Conference was held last week in Thompson. More than 110 participants from across Manitoba took part. Many rode 11 hours each way on the MFL bus from/to Winnipeg

The provincial government is launching an external review of the Workers Compensation Board’s (WCB’s) process for setting employer premiums, which will look for ways to strengthen employer incentives for more effective injury prevention while targeting the illegal practice of claim suppression, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

The provincial government is launching an external review of the Workers Compensation Board’s (WCB’s) process for setting employer premiums, which will look for ways to strengthen employer incentives for more effective injury prevention while targeting the illegal practice of claim suppression, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) has made 15 recommendations to strengthen the Workplace Safety and Health Act as part of a provincial review.

in a submission to the provincial government, the MFL made recommendations:

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) believes in SAFE Work. And in the rights of workers. That’s the message behind the MFL’s SAFE Momentum ad, which is airing until January.

The deadline for early bird registrations has been extended to October 9th for the 2012 MFL Health and Safety Conference. Early bird registrations receive a $25 discount. The final deadline for registrations is October 26.

WINNIPEG – For the past two weeks, Manitobans have been wondering who's behind the television ads that feature zombies in prominent Manitoba locations such as Esplanade Riel and the Grand Beach boardwalk.

The answer is SAFE Work. And those aren't zombies… they're workplace hazards.

Provincial and federal labour ministers have jointly launched a national video contest that builds on Manitoba’s SAFE Schools Grant program to help educate students about the importance of workplace safety and health, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced after a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers wrapped up this week.

Story from CBC Manitoba:

Plans were unveiled Tuesday for a three-monument memorial in Winnipeg to honour and recognize firefighters, peace officers and workers who have died on the job.

Yesterday, the families and representatives of victims of five tragic workplace incidents joined B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair for a meeting with Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond and Minister of Labour Margaret MacDiarmid.

After a Tuesday accident, Manitoba paramedics are calling for mandatory rest periods after extra long shifts to protect the safety of paramedics, patients and the public.

CBC Manitoba filed this story about assaults on Winnipeg bus drivers. Unfortunately, drivers are still waiting for the City of Winnipeg to take action to address this problem:

On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, Leon Houle, a 33 year old married father of three young children, was crushed by a large chunk of concrete while repairing a cistern with another worker in the basement of a home in the RM of Saskatchewan.

Manitoba's Labour Department announced yesterday that a Manitoba employer has been fined $60,050 for a workplace injury that left a 44 year old man with three severed fingers.

The Province of Manitoba is now receiving input on how to improve the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Led by the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, this consultation and review is required every 5 years by the Workplace Safety and Health Act..

Yesterday, the Province of Manitoba announced that a Carberry employer has been fined $48,050 for failing to live up to its workplace safety responsibilities.

On July 3, 2012, the Winnipeg Free Press reported:

"Winnipeg Transit will take another three months to make tweaks to a report about improving safety for bus drivers.

As the Honourable Jennifer Howard, Minister of Family Services and Labour, promised at the recent MFL convention, safety records for Manitoba employers are now available to the public.

Manitobans can make a confidential request for detailed information about an employer's safety record, including:

CJOB News is reporting a significant workplace health and safety announcement, including an external review of the WCB rate setting model that causes WCB claims suppression:

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.

The Dick Martin Award recognizes dedication to the betterment of occupational health and safety for all workers in Manitoba. This award is one of the MFl's highest honours and commemorates the importance of the hard work and dedication accomplished by the late Brother Dick Martin to establish the MFL Occupational Health Centre.

On Saturday, June 16, the Winnipeg Free Press reported on the decision by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to delay the opening of their new stadium until the 2013 season:

On CBC Manitoba's morning radio show, MFL President Kevin Rebeck called for employer safety records to be made public. He said workers should be able to find out if their boss has been following safety rules. Parents should be able to find out if their kid's workplace has a good safety record.

Registrations are now being accepted for the 2012 MFL Health and Safety Conference. This year's conference will be held in Thompson on November 8 and 9. Buses have been arranged to transport attendees from Winnipeg to Thompson and back. The cost of the buses is included in the conference registration fee.

Conference highlights include:

2012 Report Card on Workplace Safety and Health

Manitoba failed to impose a single penalty for workplace safety violations even though 965 employers failed to comply with safety improvement orders last year, according to documents obtained through freedom of information by the Working Families Manitoba campaign.

The Westray law enables criminal prosecutions of employers responsible for workplace deaths. Passed nine years ago, the law has been largely unenforced. Only six charges have been laid across Canada. There have been no charges in Manitoba. But thanks in part to lobbying by the MFL, that may be about to change.

May 9 marked the 20th anniversary of the Westray mine disaster that killed 26 workers in Nova Scotia. The public inquiry into the Westray story called the deaths “predictable” and concluded management, “starting with the Chief Executive Officer,” had failed in its responsibility to design and operate a safe mine. It recommended federal legislation “to ensure that corporate executives and directors are held properly accountable for workplace safety.”

Nearly 200 community and labour activists turned out to mark the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) December 6 Day of Mourning ceremony at the Union Centre in Winnipeg.

The Peace Officers Memorial Foundation, the Firefighters Foundation and the Workers Foundation joined forces on September 20 to outline plans for a new three-monument memorial to honor and recognize their fallen comrades. Among those attending the event were Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Steve Ashton, Manitoba's Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation.

At the end of August, new workplace safety and health regulations went into effect to address violence in the workplace. These changes were announced by Labour Minister Jennifer Howard on April 6, 2011 and were developed with input from labour representatives on the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health.

Approximately 40 per cent of complaints to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission relate to the rights of Manitobans with disabilities. This is a clear sign that people with disabilities are facing far too many barriers to full participation in our communities.

Each year, SAFE Workers of Tomorrow commemorates the April 28 Day of Mourning for workers who have been injured or killed at work. One of the ways they do this is with a Workplace Tag Day Campaign. They make Day of Mourning tags available for people to wear either on or before April 28.

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Manitoba is committed to supporting injured workers during their return to health and work. The use of opioid medications can be an effective treatment for pain. However, opioid use presents risks and potential harms that must be assessed and minimized by prescribers, dispensers and the WCB.

On October 21, Manitoba Minister of Labour Jennifer Howard announced new Workplace Safety and Health regulations to protect workers against psychological harassment and bullying. This move follows a campaign on the issue by the Manitoba Federation of Labour and affiliates. Recent studies have found that about 40 per cent of workers have been subject to harassment or bullying.

Amendments to Manitoba's Workplace Safety and Health regulations announced on October 21 also act on a key recommendation of the Inquest into the death of Steven Ewing in the August 2000 furnace explosion at Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting in Flin Flon.

MFL President Kevin Rebeck is urging working men and women to throw their personal support behind the 2010 United Way Fund Raising Campaign that is underway in communities across Manitoba.

More than 150 Manitoba Federation of Labour affiliated delegates and facilitators participated in the 29th Annual MFL Health and Safety Conference in Winnipeg. They spent two days focusing on this year's theme, 'Health and Safety - In the Path of Change.'

April 28th of Each Year is the Day of Mourning, a day set aside by the labour movement and the Government of Canada to honour workers who have killed, injured or sickened in the workplace. It is a day of mourning across Canada and in many other countries of the world as well.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Westray mine disaster, where an underground methane explosion took the lives of 26 workers.

All the world has watched with horror the images of the devastation caued by the earthquate in Haiti. Emergency relief to aid the victims is essential and the Canadian labour movement is responding once again with the same generosity and solidarity as in previous disasters. As in the past, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is coordinating labour's response.

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