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

Alberta launches advisory council for farm safety • Quebec groups push for reform of OHS system • WorkSafeNB launches seat belt campaign for the workplace

Alberta launches advisory council for farm safety

CALGARY — A new advisory council, including members from industry and government, will be formed to work on ways to reduce injuries on farms and ranches in Alberta. The farm safety advisory council, co-chaired by government and industry, is being formed in response to recommendations from industry stakeholder consultations. The council will advise the government on how to enhance farm safety education and training. “This council will bring industry and government together to find ways to reduce farm injuries without increasing the regulatory and financial burden on our producers,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Jack Hayden. “We need to work together to find solutions.” The co-chairs and council members will be announced in the New Year. Members will include representatives from farm safety organizations, municipalities, agricultural organizations and farm workers. Once established, the council will develop a joint industry-government action plan on farm safety, addressing the co-ordination and communication needs identified by industry in recent consultations.

Quebec groups push for reform of OHS system

MONTREAL — The Quebec Employers Council and the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec are pushing for an in-depth reform of Quebec’s occupational health and safety system. With 2010 marking the 30th anniversary of the safety system — which costs employers $2.4 billion annually — the council and the two groups are proposing a number of modifications to laws governing this area. The current occupational health and safety system has existed for more than 30 years and society has changed significantly in that time, said Yves-Thomas Dorval, president of the Quebec Employers Council. The recommendations aim to make the health and safety system less expensive and improve its performance by correcting various problems, especially in terms of prevention, overpayments, return to work, medical assistance, preventive withdrawal and system management.

WorkSafeNB launches seat belt campaign for the workplace

FREDERICTON — “Buckle up and stay alive — because you're not the only one along for the ride.” This is the message WorkSafeNB is promoting in a new campaign targeting workers who operate motorized vehicles such as forklifts, tractors and backhoes. The campaign launched Nov. 15, 2010, with radio ads and is supplemented with materials such as a hazard alerts, posters and decals. The campaign is intended to remind both workers and employers seatbelts must be worn not only in cars and trucks, but in heavy equipment and other motorized vehicles, and the law will be enforced. Many workers who wear seatbelts in their personal vehicles do not wear them at all in their work vehicles, said Richard Blais, chief compliance officer with WorkSafeNB. Health and safety officers will not only ensure seatbelts are being used, but they are  visible and in proper working condition. Violations may result in written orders, fines and stop-work orders.

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