Healthy workplace briefs (Oct. 21, 2002)

Dangerous work at the border

— Canadian customs officers fear for their safety and want to carry guns but their employer, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) is refusing to listen, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette. Canada customs officers compiled a report that details the hazardous situations officers face. But CCRA ordered all copies destroyed and suspended two officers who refused. “I’m the national representative on the health and safety committee and we need this statistical information,” said John King one of the suspended officers.

Uncle covers up fatal accident

— The uncle of a boy killed in a construction accident has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice after he tried to cover up how the accident happened. Shane Stecyk, 14, was killed in July 2000, when he fell through an unprotected skylight opening in the roof of a condominium he was working on in Edmonton. He hit the floor less than a metre from his uncle, Blair Hallet. The uncle immediately called 911, but the dispatch system caught him telling a foreman at the work site, “Workers comp will be here right away, so you get that railing up right now.” Once paramedics removed the body, the foreman and two workers put up a guardrail before police or workplace health and safety inspectors arrived. Hallet even lied to family members at the hospital, telling them Stecyk had fallen between two railings.

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