New Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is a good first step to safer workplaces

Nearly a year to the day since the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) first called for a robust strategy to address workplace deaths and injuries, the new strategy released by WorkSafe Saskatchewan is a good first step to safer workplaces.
“While it took longer than we had hoped, the federation of labour is happy to see the release of this new strategy,” said SFL President Lori Johb, “working people were consulted throughout the process of developing the new strategy, and I truly believe the professionals at the Saskatchewan WCB really do want to address the crisis we are seeing in workplace deaths and injuries in this province,” she added.
Based on a new WCB internal definition of a serious injury, 22,594 Saskatchewan workers suffered a serious injury from 2010-2018. In that same time period, 354 fatalities were accepted by the WCB.
“No worker should ever be killed or injured as a result of their job,” said Johb, “we have a long way to go; it’s our hope this strategy will point our province in the right direction,” she added.
While the new strategy includes many aspects to be optimistic about, there are a number of things the provincial government can do right now to help create safer workplaces:
• Publish all incident and investigation reports online;
• Require OH&S committees to file meeting minutes with the OH&S Division;
• Review how WorkSafe’s Mission: Zero enforces its Health and Safety Leadership Charter;
• Update and expand the Young Worker Readiness Certificate course, and move the course from being from online to being delivered and tested in-person, and;
• Expand rights to include the right to refuse unsafe work on behalf of someone else.