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Remembering those affected by workplace-related injuries, illness and death

Today is the National Day of Mourning and across Canada communities are recognizing those who were hurt, fell ill or lost their lives due to work-related incidents or disease. Here are the facts from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS):

  • The National Day of Mourning has spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.
  • In 2013, 902 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada. While it’s the lowest total since 2000, this number still represents 2.47 deaths every single day.
  • In the 21 year period from 1993 to 2013, 18,941 people lost their lives due to work-related causes (an average of 902 deaths per year).

Every day but in particular on this day, the CCOHS reminds employers to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries by establishing safe conditions in the workplace.

That is our mission here at DriverCheck. Physician owned and operated, our priority is prevention and we do our best to assist employers in making their workplaces healthy and safe.

Have you asked yourself, how safe is my business? Are my workers properly protected? When you hire an employee, do you ensure they are physically fit to perform their work without jeopardizing their health and safety and the safety of others?

Unfortunately, many employers tend to exercise complacency when it comes to health and safety risks, assuming that if it isn’t regulated, it isn’t worth addressing. This is one of three dangerous attitudes that can lead to workplace injuries:

  1. “My workplace is safe. We use common sense.”

The so-called ‘common sense’ approach to safety sensitive work, which overlooks the need for formal health and safety training or medical testing to mitigate health and safety hazards, is risky. For example, sleep apnea testing isn’t regulated in the U.S. or in Canada, but that doesn’t mean a sleep apnea problem doesn’t exist. In fact, a 2009 study by the Public Health Agency of Canada found that over one in four Canadian adults (26%) are at a high risk of having sleep apnea. If any of these respondents are in safety sensitive positions, they could be putting themselves, their co-workers, and the public in danger. Sleep apnea testing can ensure these individuals are identified, treated and safely returned to work.

  1. “Ignorance is bliss. What I don’t know can’t hurt me.”

The belief that if you don’t look for any health and safety regulations that affect your industry or your workplace, you don’t have to comply with those rules, is a dangerous attitude that could lead to unnecessary injuries and illnesses and unnecessary costs and fines for your company. Occupational health and safety regulations (and any other safety-related regulations) are established to protect workers and their employers, as well as the public and the environment. Anyone and any business has an obligation to seek out applicable legislation that impacts the workplace at all levels – federal, provincial, and municipal – and compliance will improve worker health and safety, productivity, and your corporate image.

  1. “There is no benefit to investing in health and safety.”

The benefits of investing in health and safety are well established. An article published in Canadian Occupational Health and Safety just this week highlighted a Nova Scotia-based company that saw lost-time injury claims cut by 50 percent after putting a bigger focus on safety. Not making the investment could open your company up to preventable workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses, and increased workers’ compensation costs.

If you have any questions about how to improve health and safety in the workplace and what medical testing and/or assessments may be required or recommended for your safety sensitive work environment, feel free to get in touch! You can reach out to us here or on Twitter @DriverCheckCA.

(Statistics from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website)