Workplace fatalities down, more needs to be done: WCB

The WCB says the number of workplace fatalities in Saskatchewan is trending slightly lower this year than at the same time last year. Getty Images

The number of workplace fatalities in Saskatchewan is trending lower so far this year than in 2016.

But the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) said the number of lives lost on the job remains unacceptable at 22.

READ MORE: Sudden death at Saskatchewan workplace

The leading cause of workplace fatalities has been occupational disease in three of the last five years.

Board vice-president Phil Germain said better prevention and safety training are helping to reduce deaths, which totalled 31 for all of 2016.

He added that intervention and safety campaigns are also having an impact.

But he said it’s clear more needs to be done.

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“It is not acceptable for anyone to be injured on the job let alone be killed while working,” he said Thursday in a release.

“This is not about a number. These are fathers and mothers, sisters, brothers, parents and children, whose lives have been cut short, and the impact to families and their communities is forever life-altering.”

READ MORE: Meadow Lake company fined in workplace death

As of Oct. 31, there were 12 deaths related to a disease that developed because of workplace conditions such as asbestos exposure.

“Some fatalities are related to old exposures to asbestos, but we firmly believe there are many workers today who may be exposed to asbestos during renovation projects,” Germain said.

“For this reason, we are working with partners to create awareness and improve training for employers and workers who may come into contact with asbestos.”

There were four fatalities in motor vehicle accidents, four deaths from traumatic injuries on job sites and two from medical complications as a result of earlier injuries.

Germain said everyone shares in the responsibility of keeping workplaces safe.

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