Worker safety critical issue as Labour Day approaches

Prairie Post, August 24 and Star Phoenix, August 29 – Chris Mulhall

Job safety paramount

Enough with just posting a sad Facebook status or a ‘Thumbs up”  for yet another story of a Saskatchewan worker dying trying to make a living. Have we become so accepting of the fact that some of our friends, family and neighbours will be killed on a job site that our outrage barely registers beyond a comment on social media?

I am not writing to point fingers at corporate greed, a lax safety culture, or politicians. There is plenty of blame to go around, some of which is rightly placed at our own feet.

This is not just rant about our self-professed impotence in dealing with a systemic problem rooted in our modus operandi. I would like to ignite a real conversation about our core beliefs that pertain to our social responsibility and commitment to worker safety as the paramount concern for any business in Saskatchewan.

Every April 28, our National Day of Mourning, too many names are read aloud from the register of the Roll Call of the Fallen; too many candles are lit to represent yet another life that was extinguished, leaving another family in the shadow of a future without their loved one. It should be our societal shame that we continue to lose people when we clearly have not done enough to change the culture of passive acceptance to this atrocious trend.

It is time to demand real change, a proper accounting of the cost of business when a life is taken — not just some financial penalties, but a realization and commitment to the principle that safety is paramount, regardless of costs. Training and safety measures must be strengthened by every employer, while third party inspections must also be increased and more thorough.

Our communities should have every right to demand and enforce higher safety, environmental and social licence standards of businesses that wish to operate in them. Part of this change is to reassess how we understand industries’ relationships with our society and our expectations of those relationships.

Too much is at stake, too many lives are at risk, to continue down our current path.

For the Prairie Post article, click here.

For the Star Phoenix article, click here.

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