News briefs: OHS news from across Canada and around the world

Mid-year report card on OHS in Nova Scotia • Number of inspections on the rise in Saskatchewan • Sask. WCB collects record premiums, posts surplus • Nova Scotia issues warning about WHMIS training firm • Extend OHS protection to farm workers: AFL

Mid-year report card on OHS in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX — A total of 14 parties in Nova Scotia have been charged with 41 infractions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act this year, according to figures released by the province. The charges range from failing to provide information to an occupational health and safety officer to not taking reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of people at a workplace. Last year, 32 workers died and 7,200 lost-time injuries were reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board, numbers that Labour and Workforce Development Minister Marilyn More called “unacceptable.” As of June 30, the department had been advised of six workplace deaths during the first half of this year.

Number of inspections on the rise in Saskatchewan

REGINA — In 2009, there was a 24 per cent increase in the number of onsite safety inspections in Saskatchewan. A total of 794 stop work orders were issued and there was a 200 per cent increase in referrals to the Ministry of Justice on non compliance issues, a record number, according to statistics released by province.

Sask. WCB collects record premiums, posts surplus

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board posted a $3.6 million operating surplus in 2009 and had record high employer premium revenue thanks to a robust provincial economy. The WCB is fully funded at 111 per cent, and it reported a drop in the injury rate to 3.4 per cent, the lowest level in “at least 18 years,” it said.

Nova Scotia issues warning about WHMIS training firm

HALIFAX — The provincial government is warning Nova Scotia businesses about a company that is attempting to sell health and safety training. The company is falsely claiming workers need to be retrained about the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) due to recently amended legislation. People who have received such sales calls are advised to contact the Competition Bureau at Although WHMIS legislation may be changing in the near future to comply with international standards, no recent changes to health and safety legislation would require workers to be retrained.

Extend OHS protection to farm workers: AFL

EDMONTON — The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is urging the provincial government to include farm workers in health, safety and employment standards legislation. AFL president Gil McGowan said reports the province is likely to ignore an Alberta judge’s recommendations to cover farm workers is a step down a “dangerous path.” A judicial inquiry in 2008 saw Alberta judge Peter Barley recommend the inclusion of farm workers in laws ensuring workplace protections. Alberta is the only province where farm workers are excluded from occupational health and safety laws, as well as legislation governing hours of work and overtime, statutory holidays, vacation pay, the right to refuse unsafe work, being informed of work-related dangers and compensation if they are injured on the job, the AFL said in a press release.

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