Work safety advocates say there’s plenty of work to be done

May 3, 2018

General Electric workers among participants at National Day of Mourning ceremony at Peterborough City Hall

Each year hundreds of people in Canada die of work-related injuries.

And each of those deaths is preventable.

At a ceremony at City Hall in Peterborough on Friday, advocates said there’s still plenty of work to be done for worker safety

“It’s not about working safely around the hazards, it’s about safe work and how to achieve it,” said Loretta Michaud, director of information services for the Worker Health and Safety Centre.

Many people at the ceremony were former workers of General Electric in Peterborough who claim they got sick from chemical contamination at the plant. Some were family members representing diseased workers.

One of those workers was John Ball, who is in palliative care after a life of working at the plant. He was a major advocate for workers rights and workplace safety who helped ring the alarm on the dangers of toxic substances.

Michaud says conditions are improving and training is increasing. Temporary workers are also seeing more protections than ever before.

“We have a measure of fairness in our workplaces against the growing wave of precarious work,” Michaud said. “If they kill a temporary worker they’re going to pay.”

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The Peterborough and District Labour Council (PDLC) is the central body of union locals in the Peterborough area (Peterborough County plus Omemee) who are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

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