Harsh lessons in health and safety (editorial)

By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Is this nation’s health and safety record so poor that we can’t take our children to work? Tragically, this year’s National Take Our Kids to Work Day will not be remembered for assisting nearly 400,000 children to prepare for work, but for the workplace deaths that occurred — two 14-year-olds in Ontario and a grandfather days away from retirement in Edmonton.

Hours earlier that same day, November 1, a monument to those who have lost lives and suffered illness because of work was being dedicated in downtown Toronto by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. For those gathered at the dedication that morning, the evening news further brought home the need to change attitudes about workplace safety.

Annually, about three people a day die at work. Paul Kells, founder of the Safe Communities Foundation, bristles when the word accident is used to describe these deaths.