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A lack of prevention and weak enforcement of health and safety laws are the prime reasons the workers compensation system is financially stressed. That was the central message of a brief presented by CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador to a provincial task force on workers compensation.

We believe the prevention of injuries is the paramount consideration in lowering compensation costs, said health and safety representative Roger Wells. For instance, back injuries, which rose 23 per cent between 1998 and 1999, are highly preventable.

The brief focuses on employers responsibilities, recommending zero tolerance for workplace injuries and adoption of the view that all injuries are preventable.