Accord changes will improve offshore safety, says minister
Amendments to clarify occupational health and safety regime for offshore oil workers
The Newfoundland and Labrador government is making changes to the Atlantic Accord which it says will improve health and safety for people who work in the offshore oil industry.
National Resources Minister Tom Marshall said the amendments were made with the support of the federal government, and will create a comprehensive and clear occupational health and safety regime within the Accord.
"It's important that we do this ... that we go from what could best be described as a patchwork quilt of different regulations into one modern, single, comprehensive occupational health and safety regime."
Critics acknowledge the changes will strengthen offshore health and safety by taking the power to oversee it out of the hands of the natural resources minister and passing it to the minister responsible for occupational health and safety.
Changes don't go far enough, says Payne
But Lana Payne, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, said the changes don't go far enough.
"It's a positive step forward for health and safety for workers in the offshore, but it's not an independent safety agency," said Payne. "And that's ultimately what we do need for the offshore, and we'll be continuing to push and advocate for that."
Marshall agrees there's still a need for an independent safety regulator, adding the province will continue to push for that.
However, he said the federal government, which would have to sign off on it, has not been co-operating on that matter.