Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

Safety in the news: a sobering reminder

By Melissa Babcock

When I began my Google search for the latest edition of Safety in the news, I noticed a trend amongst the results that popped up and it wasn’t good. It seems that the most recent news related to workplace safety is full of stories about unsafe workplaces, injuries and worst of all, fatalities. I’m hopeful this isn’t the beginning of a trend and more of a reminder that workplace safety is something we must always keep top of mind – our very lives could depend on it.

Trying to drive change from tragedy. Wiremu and Marcella Edmonds lost their son Robert in a workplace accident in 2013. The 23-year-old, a fifth generation bushman, was crushed by a falling tree. Since then, his grieving parents have dedicated themselves to raising awareness about improving workplace safety, specifically within New Zealand’s forestry industry.

A troubling increase. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workplace fatalities in the U.S. are currently the highest they’ve been since 2008. In particular, the number of worker deaths from the oil and gas industry has risen dramatically, calling into question the effectiveness of the Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s policy of enforcing workplace safety rules, as opposed to focusing on education and prevention.

Hits a little closer to home. A recent report released by the Parkland Institute contained some disconcerting statistics. The report claims that not only do more than half of teens employed in Alberta suffer from workplace injuries each year, but up to 70 per cent of young teens (between the ages of 12 and 14) are performing illegal and unsafe work. Reports like these are why campaigns like Heads Up exist – to increase awareness of workplace safety so young workers know about their rights in the workplace.

Have you been particularly affected by any safety-related stories lately? If so, leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.

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