August 27, 2019 9:03 pm
Updated: August 28, 2019 7:59 am

Asbestos exposure leading cause of work-related deaths in Saskatchewan

WATCH (Dec. 16, 2016): Saskatchewan family that lost loved one to cancer applauds proposed asbestos ban.

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WorkSafe Saskatchewan says asbestos exposure has been the leading cause of work-related deaths in the province for the last decade.

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Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related lung diseases were responsible for 23 per cent of the 388 fatalities accepted by the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) from 2009 to 2018.

READ MORE: Partnership helps create psychologically healthy work environments in Sask.

While there is increased awareness of the hazards of asbestos exposure, it is still likely some workers in the province will be exposed putting them at risk of disease.

This is why WorkSafe Saskatchewan recently launched a provincial awareness campaign to educate people on the danger of asbestos. The goal is to help homeowners and tradespeople identify where asbestos may be present in homes and workplaces.

“Asbestos-related lung diseases are preventable,” said Kevin Mooney, the WCB’s interim vice-president of prevention and employer services, in a press release.

“Before any contractors and homeowners begin renovation work, they should hire a professional abatement team to identify and remove asbestos from a home or workplace.”

WorkSafe is also hosting informational displays at Home Depot stores in Regina and Saskatoon featuring a video from Saskatchewan resident Raeleen Minchuk Prokopetz, who was diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma after being inadvertently exposed to asbestos when she was younger.

WATCH: When it comes to asbestos, assume there is a risk

Many homes and buildings in Saskatchewan were built before 1990, so they might contain asbestos, according to WorkSafe.

“We want to remind and educate construction contractors and homeowners that asbestos is still an issue,” Mooney said.

“If you take proper steps before starting any construction project, you can protect yourself and others from asbestos exposure.”

For more information, visit WorkSafe Saskatchewan online.

WorkSafe Saskatchewan is a partnership between the province’s WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.

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