Last week, after a particularly bad year for workplace accidents, 4000 construction workers took a break from their jobs to take a moment to reflect on safety. More than 50 companies and organizations joined in the second annual Construction Safety Stand-Down, a program hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association.
In 2018 alone, across Canada, there were three fatal accidents, and two workers died of occupational diseases. One worker fell to his death and another 54-year-old man died in a paving accident. Plus there were 300 injuries severe enough for workers to lose time from work.
All of the companies participating in the Stand Down are taking breaks to gather together and discuss safety, including both managers and workers. Some planned day-long meetings and seminars, while others just expected to get together in the parking lot for a chat.
Says Jackie Manuel, of the Safety Association, "[It's] a chance to stop, reassess, and think about what are the hazards here in my workplace? Am I doing — as an employer or as a worker — everything that I can do to make sure that we work safe every day?"
The worker who fell to his death in downtown St. Johns, Ontario, fell from the top of an eleven-story Hilton Inn that was under construction. It was not clear at the time of writing what factors led to the man’s death, but the owner of the hotels said that it was “a very sad day” for the company.
Some internet commenters were not so optimistic of the Stand-Down. Said one: “Talk, talk, and more talk. We can talk until our ears bleed, but if there is no action and commitment from the highest level, then it’s all for nothing. We are all good at talking and I think we like to hear ourselves speak. However at the end of the day everyone knows money talks and BS walks. For people working in the safety field it’s a vicious cycle and one of many reasons why some leave the field. Come on people let’s see commitment regardless of cost and timelines.”
To read more about this, check out the CBC.