B.C. retailers team up to reduce workplace accidents

13 organizations share best health and safety practices in new booklet

In an effort to reduce the number of injuries among young and new workers in the retail sector, a number of leading B.C. retailers have come together in a campaign to reduce workplace accidents.

The 13 organizations share their best health and safety practices in a Health and Safety guide for New Retail Workers, a practical guide released on Wednesday by the Retail Council of Canada, Retail B.C. and the Workers’ Compensation Board.

According to the B.C. WCB, 34 young workers are injured on the job every day and about five per cent of all claims come from the retail sector.

“The WCB is particularly pleased that these larger-sized retailers with in-house health and safety expertise have come together to share their best practices with smaller retailers who may not have those resources," said Roberta Ellis, the WCB's vice-president, prevention.

"When it comes to safety there are no trade secrets," said Laurie Lowes, manager of health and safety at London Drugs, one of the participating companies.

"For many workers retail is their first job," said Kevin Evans, Western vice-president for Retail Council of Canada. "It's an ideal opportunity to shape safety-conscious work habits, and with this collaborative project BC retailers and the WCB are providing young workers, their parents and their employers with the learning tool they need."

Retailers involved in the project were London Drugs, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, H.Y. Louie/IGA, Hudson's Bay/Zellers, Safeway, Overwaitea/Save-on-Foods, Sears, Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Kerrisdale Cameras, Buy Low Foods, Mountain Equipment Co-Op and Costco.

Hard copies of the Health and Safety Guide For New Retail Workers can be ordered by contacting Retail Council of Canada at (604) 926-2177, or Retail BC at (604) 736-0648. Copies can also be downloaded at www.retailcouncil.org, www.retailbc.org; or http://youngworker.healthandsafetycentre.org.

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