Sunday December 03, 2017

Are employers getting away with too many injuries and deaths on the job?

Approximately 350 people die on the job every year in Canada.

Approximately 350 people die on the job every year in Canada. (Canadian Press)

Listen to Full Episode 1:52:58

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: Workplace safety

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One worker dies on the job, on average, nearly every day in Canada. 

Duncan McCue

Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue.

In the past month, a contract worker in the oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alta., died when he was buried while digging a trench. A subway-track maintenance worker with the Toronto Transit Commission died after he was pinned between two vehicles. Three workers died in an ammonia leak at a B.C. hockey arena.
 
They may sound like isolated incidents scattered across the country. But add cancers and long-term illnesses developed in workplaces and 850 workers died last year in Canada.
 
After a CBC News investigation this week, many are asking whether employers pay a high enough price when workers are killed on the job.
 
The investigation revealed few employers end up behind bars for violating worker safety laws and rarely face maximum penalties. The average fine imposed on employers after a workplace fatality is $97,000 dollars.

Do negligent employers face enough punishment for unsafe workplaces?
 
What kind of pressures are workers feeling? Have you ever been in a workplace where workers felt they had no choice but to get the job done even if it wasn't safe?
 
Employers are obliged to make work sites safe and numbers of workplace deaths have been dropping since the 1980s. Is there enough training and safety education in your workplace or are people cutting corners that lead to accidents?
 
Our question today: "Are employers getting away with too many injuries and deaths on the job?"

GUESTS

Katie Nicholson
Reporter with CBC's investigative unit

Stephen Hunt
District Director of the Western provinces and the territories for the United Steel Workers

William Gardner
Lawyer specialising in workplace health and safety, partner at Pit Blado in Winnipeg  

Steve Bittle
Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa

What we're reading

CBC News

The Globe and Mail

Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada

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