WINNIPEG – More needs to be done to protect Manitoba workers from workplace hazards, especially young workers.
That is the conclusion of a brief to the province from the Canadian Union of Public Employees which represents 24,000 Manitoba workers in health care, education, municipalities, social services, day cares, utilities, airlines and other sectors.
The province has shown its concern for workers health and safety, says CUPE Manitoba President Paul Moist, but as long as there are workers who die or are injured on the job, theres clearly more we need to do.
Its not just a question of regulation, says Moist. We need strong enforcement. We need to ensure that hazards are detected and action is taken before another worker loses their life or loses a limb.
CUPE points out that joint committees with representation from employers and workers can play a key role in promoting health and safety but that without adequate powers and resources they cant do their job. The brief also says that if compliance with the law is not cheaper than the penalties for violations, employers wont invest in safety. It calls for strict enforcement and escalating fines for repeat offenders.
CUPE is also calling for action to raise awareness among young people about workplace hazards and workers rights.
We think students should learn in school about the hazards they face in the workplace, says Moist. Every parent in this province wants to ensure their sons and daughters know their rights to refuse unsafe work.
CUPE will be presenting its recommendations to the Workplace Safety and Health Review Committee today at 2:10 p.m. in Room 200 at 401 York Street. The committee is wrapping up province-wide hearings and will be recommending changes to the provincial government in the coming weeks.
We commend the province for establishing this review and were asking that they make improved workplace safety a top priority, says Moist.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men across the country.
For information contact Paul Moist at 981-2873