CUPE New Brunswick is calling for an urgent review of the province’s workplace safety laws, following the disappointing and inadequate court ruling in the tragic death of Jimmy Martin.
Martin, an employee of the NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and member of CUPE Local 1190, was killed at work last August. The provincial court ruled earlier this month that the department violated workplace safety regulations by failing to provide safe guardrails that would have saved Martin’s life, and fined the department $125,000.
The case has clearly underlined the gross inadequacy of penalties under New Brunswick’s current workplace health and safety laws, which have resulted in no accountability for those at fault for Martin’s death.
“The end result here shows us that when a worker gets killed on the job in New Brunswick, no one is going to be held accountable. The government is just going to write a cheque to itself to pay off the fine,” said Brent Wiggins, President of CUPE Local 1190. “Instead of bringing some justice and accountability, this ruling is just adding another layer of tragedy.”
Martin’s family and even the judge who issued the ruling have called the fine “redundant”.
“We demand justice for Jimmy Martin and all the workers and families who have been failed by our government and its laws,” said Brien Watson, President of CUPE New Brunswick. “It’s time for the Premier and the legislature to act.”
“This is another example of why we need a complete review of the Workplace Health and Safety Act, with meaningful input from workers and their representatives,” said Danny Légère, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour and CUPE member. “This award clearly shows how our legislation has no teeth.”