SASKATOON – North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week was proclaimed by the Saskatchewan government Monday.
This year’s theme is “make safety a habit.”
Mike Carr, Saskatchewan’s deputy minister of labour relations and workplace safety, says it’s a North American initiative to raise public awareness and have employees pay close attention to workplace safety.
“When you look at Saskatchewan, as a provincial jurisdiction, we continue to have the second-worst injury rate in the country,” said Carr.
He added there’s a great need for employers to train new workers to identify potential hazards.
Last month, Saskatchewan’s Worker’s Compensation Board reported there 35 workplace fatalities and around 31,000 injury claims in 2013.
Those numbers are down from 2012 when there were 60 workplace deaths and nearly 33,000 injury claims.
To help raise workplace safety awareness, a number of events are being held throughout Saskatchewan during the week.
A luncheon in Saskatoon on Tuesday at Prairieland Park will feature a keynote address from B.C.’s Josh Dueck, a Paralympic gold medalist.
He was coaching athletes in 2004 when he went too fast down a demonstration jump and severed his spine.
“The ripple effect is far further, far greater than I could have ever imagined. It’s still a tough time for some people. My mom still doesn’t know quite how to digest the reality of her baby boy being a wheelchair,” said Dueck.
He has become one of the best sit-skiers in the world, representing Canada in four events at this past Winter Paralympics in Sochi, winning a gold and silver medal.
NAOSH week started in 1997, marked by an agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.