Manitoba launches global review of workplace health, safety

Manitobans will be able to go online to review key information about workplace safety and health (WSH) enforcement actions with employers as part of a new series of initiatives aimed at improving worker safety.
The province will also undertake an independent global review of workplace safety and health enforcement and prevention, according to Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the Workers Compensation Board.

"We want to ensure that all Manitobans go home safely after work and that employers are accountable to Manitoba workers," said Howard. "While this review is underway, I have directed my department to make better use of administrative penalties in instances where employers have demonstrated a willful disregard for WSH orders through non-compliance and repeat offences."

The review will be used to develop a comprehensive five-year strategy that transforms the way Manitoba approaches workplace injury and illness, she said. It will include:

•a review of the Workplace Safety and Health Act

•a review of public awareness initiatives, as well as education and training

•an external evaluation of the Workers Compensation Board's rate-setting model.

The resulting review will be a collaborative effort of industry, labour and technical stakeholders, the Workers Compensation Board, the Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, Manitoba's Workplace Safety and Health and Manitoba's new chief prevention officer, said Howard.

"We are striving to develop a new strategy that will transform the way we approach workplace injury and illness," she said. "This new strategy will address the needs of modern workplaces by combining best practices for injury prevention with effective, creative solutions for enforcing and promoting safety and health."

Manitoba Family Services and Labour has worked closely and collaboratively with stakeholders to reduce workplace injuries and significantly reduce Manitoba's time-loss injury rate, said the government. The number of inspections done annually has increased to more than 12,000 from 1,000 and the number of safety and health officers has more than doubled.