N.S. workplace deaths prompt warning
Seven workplace deaths in Nova Scotia since the beginning of the year have prompted the provincial government to issue a warning about safety in the workplace.
Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 25 workers died on the job each year.
Marilyn More, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, said that given those numbers, so many deaths so early into this year is cause for concern.
"This is a tragic start to 2012 and all of us must take immediate action to avoid further injuries, illnesses and deaths in our workplaces," More said in a statement.
"Whether one works on a hectic shop floor or a seemingly safe office, we need to change our 'I've done this a million times so it must be safe' mind-set."
This year, two truckers died in separate motor vehicle accidents, two fishermen drowned while checking on lobster crates at low tide, a farm worker was killed by a falling tree and a man who was sandblasting was crushed underneath equipment he was cleaning.
All of the incidents are being investigated.
The seventh workplace death was of a shipyard worker who had a fatal heart attack on the job.
"We've seen seven fatalities and six of them have been acute deaths, so things like motor vehicle accidents, incidents at work with either falls or things falling on people," said Jim LeBlanc, the executive director of Occupational Health and Safety for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
"We're not seeing the typical type of activity that we see in workplaces."
In recent years, almost half of all workplace deaths were caused by chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease. So far this year, only one workplace death resulted from a chronic illness.
"Employers and employees need to remain vigilant to the risks facing them at work," said LeBlanc.
"In so many investigations, we find that most injuries could have been avoided if more consideration had been given to the task and how it was to be done."