Category Archives: 2019 Canada

Canada: Paper and related workers start year long safety campaign on 28 April

United Steelworkers

Global unions target safety at work in pulp, paper, graphical and packaging in a year of action

CONTACT:
Leeann Foster, lfoster@usw.org, 412-225-5964
Jess Kamm Broomell, jkamm@usw.org, 412-562-2444

Workers in the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors, represented globally by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, are using this 2019 Workers Memorial Day to kick off a yearlong campaign around the three fundamental worker rights needed to make work safe: (1) The Right to Know – workers must know the hazards and risks in their workplace; (2) The Right to Act (commonly known as the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work Without Punishment); and (3) the Right to Participate in the programs and structures that manage safety in the workplace.  Each of these Rights will be highlighted with action by workers across the global pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors.

May and June 2019 will focus on a Worker’s Right to Know. Right-to-Know laws typically focus on a worker’s right to know the hazardous substances and dangerous chemicals they work with, but workers require information on so much more that could endanger them at work.  Workers require:

  • Information on all workplace hazard information, including dangerous chemicals and materials but also hazardous tools, equipment, work processes and the way work is organized;
  • An accurate evaluation of hazards.  Where gaps in knowledge exist they should be filled;
  • Hazard and risk assessment done with workers participation.  The only people with the moral authority to assess a risk are those who must face it;
  • This means industrial hygiene surveys belong to workers.  Toxicology studies belong to workers.  Ergonomic surveys belong to workers.

“We invite the global pulp, paper and packaging sectors to work with workers and their representatives to fully facilitate the right to know and, by doing so, build safer and healthier workplaces, “ said Joaquina Rodriguez, president of UNI Graphical and Packaging.

“All health and safety standards exist because of trade union action and we invite the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging industries to share information and build safety programs together with their workers who know the work and its hazards better than anyone else, “ said Leeann Foster, IndustriALL Pulp and Paper Working Group Co-Chair and Assistant to the International President at the  United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).

Similar international mobilizations will be conducted in September/October 2019 around the Right to Act and focusing March/April 2020 on the Right to Participate, culminating with Workers Memorial Day 2020.

Workers Memorial Day, observed by unions across the globe on April 28 of each year, is dedicated to remembering those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the struggle for safe jobs.  Worldwide, more than 380,000 workers die tragically at work each year, and another 2.4 million die from work-related illness.

The pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors are extremely dangerous, with a number of fatalities and even more life-altering injuries occurring across the globe annually. Transparency with workers on information relating to their health and safety and employer engagement with workers and their unions is fundamental to address loss of life and limb in the industry.

The two international unions, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, bring together unions on all continents across these four industries. See more on the two global union websites: www.industriall-union.org and www.uniglobalunion.org.

Canada: ILWU – Kill a worker, go to Jail

On Sunday, the Day of Mourning, ILWU remembered the brothers we lost on the job this year: Everett Cummings and Don Jantz.

#NationalDayOfMourning #KillAWorkerGoToJail

Canada: Un seul, c’est un de trop : personne ne devrait mourir au travail – AFPC

Qui effectue un suivi?

Le 28 avril, Jour de deuil national, nous rendons hommage aux personnes décédées, blessées ou devenues malades en raison de leur travail.

Nous avons au quotidien l’occasion de prévenir les blessures et les décès en milieu de travail, mais nous ne pouvons le faire que si nous disposons des données nécessaires pour prendre nos décisions.

Au Canada, nous recueillons des statistiques sur de nombreux sujets, dont la météo, mais nous ne consignons pas avec précision les statistiques sur le nombre de personnes qui sont décédées en raison de leur travail. Par conséquent, nous ne tirons pas les leçons qui nous permettraient de prévenir de telles tragédies.

Aucun ministère ou organisme au Canada ne recense les cas de décès et d’accidents en milieu de travail; seule la Commission des accidents du travail compile ces données. Les 951 décès largement cités dans les statistiques de 2017 (la plus récente année disponible) de l’Association des commissions des accidents du travail du Canada (ACATC) ne devraient pas être le seul indice de référence pour déterminer le nombre de décès ou de blessures liés au travail. Les statistiques de l’ACATC tiennent uniquement compte des demandes d’indemnisation approuvées, et non du total réel des blessures et des décès survenus au cours d’une année donnée. Des recherches récemment effectuées au pays démontrent que le nombre de décès liés au travail pourrait être jusqu’à 10 à 13 fois plus élevé que celui indiqué dans les données officielles.

On peut conclure en l’absence de rapports que des milliers de cas de blessures et de décès ne figurent pas dans les statistiques sur la santé et la sécurité au travail. Il s’agit notamment de ceux des travailleuses et travailleurs sans couverture (les travailleurs autonomes, le personnel des banques, les travailleuses et travailleurs domestiques, de nombreux fermiers et travailleurs agricoles), des personnes décédées sur la route alors qu’elles se rendaient au travail ou en revenaient, des personnes qui se suicident à cause du stress, des cas de maladies professionnelles non approuvées, du personnel des clubs privés et des travailleurs temporaires ou sans papiers.

De plus, dans le secteur fédéral, lorsqu’une personne décède après avoir été exposée à un danger particulier, la commission d’indemnisation ne fournit pas l’analyse des causes fondamentales aux employeurs. Le coroner ne donne pas d’avis de décès à l’employeur, et la cause fondamentale de la blessure ou du décès n’est pas nécessairement prise en compte dans le programme de prévention des risques, ce qui est contraire à l’exigence. C’est comme si tout décès était un « accident ».

Mettons tout en œuvre pour que cette année 2019, le gouvernement du Canada commence à documenter et à utiliser avec précision les données probantes pour prévenir les blessures au travail et sauver des vies. Un seul, c’est un de trop : personne ne devrait mourir au travail!

http://syndicatafpc.ca/seul-cest-trop-personne-ne-devrait-mourir-travail

Canada: 951 fatalities in Canada in one year – HEU

Every worker should be able to return home, at the end of the shift, healthy and safe.

But the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada show that in 2017, there were 951 workplace fatalities in Canada, 46 more than the previous year.

And among these deaths, 23 were young workers aged 15-24.

In addition to the fatalities, there were 251,508 accepted claims for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 31,441 claims from young workers. These statistics only include what’s reported and accepted by the compensation boards, and doesn’t reflect the total number of injuries that go unreported.

But statistics don’t tell the whole story. Loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers are also directly affected.

Health care workers now have the highest injury rate of any sector in the province. And in long-term care, the injury rate is four times higher than the provincial average.

Across the health system, workers are rushed off their feet – coping with extreme workloads, short-staffing and hospitals that are routinely admitting more patients than they are designed to accommodate.

All this puts health care workers at a heightened risk for injury and illness. That’s why safer, healthier workplaces are a top priority in all unionized work sectors.

But developing and enforcing health and safety programs in a health care system fragmented by privatization and reorganization is an ongoing challenge.

In the recent round of bargaining, the Facilities Bargaining Association, led by HEU, negotiated new language to tackle the unacceptable high injury rates that deal directly with workload, violence, and the ability of OH&S stewards to enforce members’ rights to safe workplaces.

The FBA secured $8.5 million to establish a new Provincial Occupational Health and Safety agency that will benefit all health care workers. And they bargained measures to address workload, establish regional workload committees, strengthen OH&S representation, fund OH&S stewards to work on pilot projects focused on injury prevention, create an MSI prevention project, and more.

As we mark this year’s National Day of Mourning, we renew our commitment to hold all employers accountable for ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, and strengthen our resolve to use every tool we have to make health care a safer, healthier work place for all our members.

To learn more about Day of Mourning events in your community, check with your local labour council or visit the Day of Mourning BC website.

HEU news release

Canada: Governments are “largely ignoring” the Westray safety law – IAM

Day of MourningApril 28 is a Day of Mourning for thousands of Canadian workers killed or injured on the job each year, or who die from work-related diseases. On this day, we mourn, but it is also a time to insist that all levels of government do more to enforce existing health and safety laws and vigorously prosecute violations when a worker is killed or seriously injured.
The labour movement worked for years to get changes to the Criminal Code so that corporations who kill are held criminally liable. This amended law, often called the Westray law, holds employers accountable if they fail to take steps to protect the lives of their employees.
Unfortunately that law is largely being ignored by governments. There have been only a handful of prosecutions for criminal negligence and only one conviction.
It is time for fair and equal treatment before the law for workplace injuries and deaths. We have made progress protecting workers’ health and safety, but together we have to keep fighting for safer workplaces for everyone.

 

Canada: PIPSA calls for more action to stop workplace fatalities

Worker's Day of Mourning

Each year, on the National Day of Mourning, we commemorate those who lost their lives, were injured or became ill due to a work accident or occupational exposure.

Join PIPSC members and labour activists across the country in ceremonies this Sunday, April 28.

ATTEND A CEREMONY

We continue to call on employers and governments to do more to prevent such fatalities from happening in the first place. Take action with workers in Canada and email your labour minister to demand:

  • proactive inspections, a robust enforcement regime, strong health and safety committees, and a systemic approach to prevention,
  • a strong, effective workplace health and safety committee,
  • ensure consequences when employers do not fulfill their duty to ensure a safe workplace, and
  • call on your federal counterpart to reinstate the previous, stronger definition of danger in the Canada Labour Code. The right to refuse unsafe work is one of the three basic rights at work in Canada.
SEND AN EMAIL

Take the time to discuss occupational health and safety issues with your co-workers, as well as about how accidents could affect their lives.

Accidents happen so fast! Yet many are avoidable.

Canada: OFL statement for the Day of Mourning: One is too many. No one should die on the job.

On the National Day of Mourning we remember workers killed or injured on the job and commit to continuing the fight for laws that improve and enhance worker health and safety across Ontario and Canada.

“Workplace injuries and deaths are fully preventable, and the Ontario government must put health and safety first by putting worker safety at the forefront,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley.

Precarious jobs are dangerous jobs, and the PC government took away decent work laws with Bill 148, and cancelled the $15 minimum wage, leaving millions of workers trapped in precarious work.

Workplace injuries are on the rise in Ontario. In March it was reported that lost time injuries have increased by 33 per cent since 2015 and in 2018 work-related fatalities rose to 228.

The OFL’s enduring theme for April 28 is “Mourn for the Dead. Fight for the Living.” As part of its campaign, the OFL continues to ensure that criminal investigations are held whenever a worker dies on the job.

The labour movement has won victories by pushing for criminal investigations into worker injuries and deaths, demanding that criminal charges are laid when it is appropriate. The “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign was instrumental in the conviction of a construction manager after four workers were killed and one injured at Metron Construction.

“Every worker should come home safe to their family at the end of the day,” said Buckley.

This April 28, the OFL joins the Canadian Labour Congress in calling on provincial and federal governments to make the changes that will improve workplace health and safety across Ontario and Canada

  • Enforcing the laws that keep workers safe, including Occupational Safety and Health requirements in every jurisdiction and the Westray provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • Focusing on prevention. Investing in prevention the best way to save lives. Proactive inspections, a robust enforcement regime, strong health and safety committees, and a systemic approach to prevention are needed.
  • Ensuring meaningful worker participation in developing and monitoring the systems that will make workplaces safer. A strong, effective health and safety committee is a powerful tool for making workplaces safer and protecting the lives and health of workers.
  • Punishing the bad actors. When employers do not fulfill their duty to ensure a safe workplace, there must be consequences.
  • Calling on the Federal government to strengthen the definition of danger in the Canada Labour Code.

You can take action by writing to the Minister of Labour in favor of these changes for worker health and safety.

The OFL Power of Many is a campaign by the Ontario Federation of Labour and its allies in communities across Ontario, working together to protect and win decent work laws, strong public services, along with equality and justice, as well as safe and healthy workplaces and communities for all.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.

Canada: PSAC- One is too many: No one should die on the job

Who’s counting?

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning when we remember those who have lost their lives or suffered injury and illness because of their work.

Every day there are opportunities to prevent workplace injury and death, but we can’t do it without the data we need to drive our decision-making.

In Canada, we collect statistics on many things including the weather, but we fail to accurately record the number of individuals who have died as a result of their work. Because of this, we do not learn the lessons that would allow us to prevent future tragedies.

Apart from data compiled by Workers’ Compensation on workplace injuries and fatalities, no Canadian department or agency is actually counting occupational fatalities and injuries.  The widely quoted 951 fatalities in the 2017 statistics (the most recent year available) from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada (AWCBC) should not be used as the sole benchmark for work-related fatalities or injuries.  The AWCBC figures only account for approved compensation claims, not the actual total of injuries and fatalities that occurred in any given year. Recent Canadian research demonstrates that work-related fatalities could be as much as 10 to 13 times higher than official data indicates.

This lack of reporting means thousands of injuries and deaths are missing from occupational health and safety statistics. These include workers exempt from coverage like the self-employed, banking employees, domestic workers, many farmers and agricultural workers, commuting fatalities, stress-induced suicides, unapproved occupational diseases, employees of private clubs, and temporary or undocumented workers.

In addition, in the federal sector, when a person dies due to a particular hazard, the compensation board does not provide the root cause analysis to employers. The Coroner does not give employers a notice of death, nor is the root cause of the injury or fatality necessarily considered in the required hazard prevention program – as though every fatality is “an accident.”

Let’s push to make 2019 the year that the government of Canada begins to accurately document and use evidence-based recording to prevent workplace injuries and save lives.  One is too many — no one should die on the job.

News release

Canada: Teamsters Canada – “Nobody should expect or accept so many tragedies “

Facebook

Today is the National Day of Mourning, a day to remember those who died, or were injured or made ill, from their work. It is also a day people are asked to recommit to improving health and safety and preventing tragedies in the workplace.

Since November 2017, we have lost eight of our sisters and brothers to a range of accidents and derailments in the rail industry.

Their names are Dimitrios Bakertzis, Melissa Heins, Kevin Anderson, Tony Nenasheff, Pierre-Luc Levesque, Andrew Dockrell, Dylan Paradis and Daniel Robert Waldenberger-Bulmer.

Nobody should expect or accept so many tragedies in such a short amount of time. The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) published its own letter to commemorate the Day of Mourning, which includes more details and information on how railroaders are remembering.

Our other affiliates are doing their part, too. Today and tomorrow, Local Union 419 will be paying tribute to Virgilio Bernardino, a warehouse worker at Versacold in Toronto who died after being crushed by falling debris in 2003. Follow their Facebook page for pictures of the commemoration.

Work-related tragedies are on the rise in Canada. According to the latest statistics, the number of workplace fatalities rose from 905 in 2016 to 951 in 2017. Close to half of these fatalities occurred the transportation, construction and manufacturing industries, which collectively employ the bulk of our members.

Beyond the statistics and the individual lives lost, we must never forget that these tragedies affect scores of family members, friends and co-workers.

Many people are still unaware of the significance of April 28. I invite everyone to raise awareness about the National Day of Mourning by sharing this post or the countless others you will come across today. You can also light a candle or wear a black ribbon in honour of those we lost, or attend one of the many Day of Mourning ceremonies held across the country.

But most importantly, you can honour the memory of those we lost by fighting for safety of the living. That means getting involved in health and safety committees, focusing on prevention, and never being afraid to speak up when you see something dangerous at work.

All accidents are preventable, and our union will always be there for those who stick up for safety.

In solidarity,

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Canada: Teamsters Canada – Journée des personnes décédées ou blessées au travail

Facebook

Nous soulignons aujourd’hui la Journée des personnes décédées ou blessées au travail en souvenir de ceux qui sont morts, blessés ou qui ont été atteints d’une maladie à cause de leur travail. C’est aussi une journée où l’on demande aux gens de s’engager à améliorer la santé et la sécurité et à prévenir les tragédies sur le lieu de travail.

Depuis novembre 2017, nous avons notamment perdu huit de nos consoeurs et confrères à la suite de divers accidents et déraillements dans l’industrie ferroviaire. Leurs noms sont Dimitrios Bakertzis, Melissa Heins, Kevin Anderson, Tony Nenasheff, Pierre-Luc Levesque, Andrew Dockrell, Dylan Paradis et Daniel Robert Waldenberger-Bulmer.

Nul ne devrait s’attendre ou accepter autant de tragédies. La Conférence ferroviaire de Teamsters Canada a d’ailleurs publié un texte détaillé sur son site Internet afin de commémorer leurs membres décédés dans le cadre de la Journée des personnes décédées ou blessées au travail.

De plus, les sections locales canadiennes font aussi leur part. Par exemple, la Section locale 419 rendra hommage à Virgilio Bernardino, un ouvrier d’entrepôt de Versacold à Toronto, qui est décédé après avoir été écrasé par des débris en 2003. Suivez leur page Facebook pour y voir les photos de la commémoration.

Les décès liés aux accidents de travail sont à la hausse au Canada. Selon les dernières statistiques, la mortalité au travail est passée de 905 en 2016 à 951 en 2017. Près de la moitié de ces décès sont survenus dans les secteurs des transports, de la construction et de la fabrication. Ces trois industries emploient collectivement la majorité de nos membres.

Ces statistiques ne devraient jamais nous faire perdre de vue que ces tragédies touchent des membres de famille, des amis et des collègues de travail.

Il arrive parfois que les gens ne soient pas conscients de l’importance du 28 avril. C’est la raison pour laquelle je vous invite à faire connaître la Journée des personnes décédées ou blessées au travail en partageant ce message sur vos réseaux sociaux. Vous pouvez aussi allumer une bougie ou porter un ruban noir en l’honneur de ceux que nous avons perdus ou assister à l’une des nombreuses cérémonies qui ont lieu partout au pays.

Mais surtout, vous pouvez honorer la mémoire de ceux que nous avons perdus en veillant à la sécurité des vivants. Cela signifie qu’il faut s’impliquer dans les comités de santé et de sécurité, s’investir dans la prévention et ne jamais avoir peur de dénoncer les situations potentiellement dangereuses au travail.

Tous les accidents sont évitables et notre syndicat sera toujours là pour ceux qui défendent la santé et la sécurité.

Solidairement,

Le président de Teamsters Canada
François Laporte