Nfld. & Labrador

Construction workers laying down their tools for workplace safety

In the past 18 months, a construction worker was killed in a paving accident and one fell to his death in downtown St. John's.

In 2018, there were 3 fatal accidents, nearly 300 serious injuries in the sector, says Jackie Manuel

Nearly 4,000 construction workers will take a break Friday to think and talk about workplace safety. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Nearly 4,000 construction workers in the province are laying down their tools and taking a moment to talk about safety on the job Friday.

Over 50 companies and organizations signed up for the second annual Construction Safety Stand-Down, hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association, says Jackie Manuel, the association's CEO.

"The start of our construction season last year was terrible, we had a number of tragic accidents, and we just really wanted to highlight the importance of workplace safety," Manuel said.

"Awareness is huge. Whether it's one, whether it's 29, nobody gets up and goes to work and plans to have an accident that day."

Jackie Manuel is the chief executive officer of the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

2 deaths in last 18 months

In the last 18 months, a worker fell to his death in downtown St. John's and another was killed in a paving accident.

In 2018, there were three fatal accidents and two workers died of occupational diseases, Manuel said. There were also nearly 300 injuries severe enough to keep people off the job.

"And that's just the construction industry."

All companies and organizations participating in Friday's safety stand-down — and that includes a few municipalities, Manuel said — will take some kind of break so managers and workers can have a chat about working safer.

Some companies plan lengthy activities and workshops, and some will gather in the morning in the parking lot to have a chat, she said.

"[It's] a chance to stop, reassess, and think about what are the hazards here in my workplace? Am I doing — as an employer or as a worker — everything that I can do to make sure that we work safe every day?"

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Anthony Germain

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