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A pattern of needless, completely preventable workplace deaths

Editor’s Note:  Here’s a press release from one of the biggest union-conglomerations in the Canadian construction industry, following the deaths of two construction workers in the past 10 days in Ontario.  I think it is worthy of some comments. Fire away, folks.

June 27, 2014

Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario: Outcry Over Second Construction Worker Death in Same Week

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 27, 2014) – Ontarians are again in shock and mourning after a construction worker was hit by a dump truck and killed this morning in Milton. “We are tragically witnessing a pattern of needless, completely preventable workplace deaths,” noted a distraught Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building Trades.

The death follows another incident earlier this week when 22 year-old Sarmad Iskander died after falling from a condo construction site in downtown Toronto. “These unspeakable tragedies where people go into work to provide for their families, and never come back are not just unacceptable, they are incomprehensible and we must end them now,” said Dillon, urging the Premier to take drastic action.

“I expect this epidemic of workplace deaths and injuries to be addressed head-on by the government in next week’s Throne Speech, to ensure that every possible effort is made to prevent further carnage,” urged Dillon.

“When you’re going into work to do a job, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a police uniform or construction gear, every worker in Ontario has the right to expect a safe work environment that employers must provide and governments must enforce,” stressed Dillon who added that “Workplace deaths should never happen — period.”

He added that “All workers, regardless of their uniform, should have the same respect shown to them by our elected leaders, if we are to bring this issue to the forefront of people’s minds in driving the change we need.”

“Ontario’s Prevention authorities, the Ministry of Labour, WSIB, employers and organized labour bear the responsibility to protect workers from harm and the only way we will see safer workplaces is if they all step-up to the plate,” said Dillon.

The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario represents 150,000 trades workers throughout the province.

Posted by
Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. The worker has to take some responsibility and initiative on safety as well. Does not matter how many rules and reg,s the government make . Its time to bring back common sense and being aware of the situation around them . I lift and move buildings ,so no room for a mistake on the job sight or second chances.

  2. I agree, you can make all the rules you want but in the end the worker has to be the one to watch the surroundings. As an employer i cannot watch every minute of the day that an employee is safe. The employee or any one in the area of the worksite has to have both eyes open and be aware.

  3. We deffinetely don’t need more government involvement. The cost of doing business is skyrocketing for honest contractor.
    Everyone is responsible for safety on any site be it work or home.
    Common sense has become very uncommon.
    These deaths and injuries will never stop.
    No matter how many laws and precautions are enacted there is nothing that can be done about human error.

  4. Be it a doctor, a lawyer, a construction worker or (god forbid) a politician, people will make mistakes and have accidents. Imperfection is in our nature. Complacence is also a mistake, but don’t throw away the baby with the bath water.

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