tp-edm-lukaszuk

Alberta Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk launched the workplace safety website on Thursday. ((CBC))

Alberta's new workplace safety website was heralded by the provincial government Thursday as a big step forward, but critics are already saying it doesn't go far enough.

Information from most companies in the province is on the website, and Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said the website is the first of its kind in Canada.

The database is searchable by number of lost-time claims and fatalities and those numbers can be compared to other companies in the same industry.

"If you were to be considering another career or perhaps moving to another employer, I would suggest to you that from now on, one of the things you should do is look up that other employer first and see … whether you really want to engage in employment with that new employer," Lukaszuk said.

Liberal critic Hugh Macdonald said much of the information on the site was already available and important details are missing.

Written orders need to be public, critic says

Macdonald wants the province to release information about companies that have written orders filed against them by provincial inspectors.

"Last year, there were over 14,000 inspections in Alberta at worksites. There were over 9,000 written orders," Macdonald said.

"Surely, if a restaurant with a bad record can have their information public … employees have the right to look at what the inspector found on their job site."

Injured ironworker Brent McGillis was also skeptical about the website.

"It's really more showboating than actual changing policies to make it safer on the worksite," he said.

Other critics say Alberta should increase the number of surprise inspections and issue fines on the spot for safety infractions, similar to what is done in five other provinces.

"It would empower the workers," said Nick Lepora of the Calgary and District Labour Council. "They'd feel more in control."

Lukaszuk said additional information might be added to the website in the future.