Construction injuries rise in Manitoba

Workplace accidents up 22.5 per cent since 2001

Manitoba's $4-million construction boom is having unwelcome side-effects with 3,340 construction workers getting hurt on the job in 2005, according to a new report.

The number of injuries represents a 10 per cent growth from 2004, according to statistics released by the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba.

The increase in injuries in 2005 is only part of a larger trend. Since 2001, the number of workplace injuries in the construction industry has grown by 22.5 percent, with a total of 14,875 people injured on the job.

Overall, workplace injuries fell 12 per cent from 2000 to 2004 in Manitoba. But construction is one of the few industries where the number of injuries is growing.

Between 2000 and 2005, 18 construction workers were killed on the job and another 17 died from workplace-related illnesses such as asbestos poisoning.

Much of the blame for increased injuries is due to the increase in construction jobs. The government has invested billions of dollars for highways, bridges and new hydroelectric dams.

Manitoba's ministry of labour has acknowledged the problem and has hired three more safety officers to inspect construction sites.

New workplace safety standards, which took effect Feb. 1, require employers to address hazards posed by dangerous workplaces, such as working in confined spaces or with asbestos.

New regulations taking effect at the end of April prevent anyone under the age of 18 from working in a high-risk job such as construction.

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