Five Additional Safety and Health Officers Part of Long-term Strategy: Howard 

The province is hiring an additional five safety and health officers to help prevent workplace injuries and illness, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced today. 

The Honourable Jennifer Howard

The Honourable Jennifer Howard

“Reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the job is a priority for all Manitobans,” said Howard. “Inspections are an essential tool for enforcing safety and health legislation and helping create safer workplaces.” 

The five new officers are key elements in the long-term strategy to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses in Manitoba and fulfill a commitment in the last election to add 20 new safety and health officers, said the minister. 

Fifteen officers were hired in 2008 and 2009.  The addition of five new positions brings the total to 74 safety and health officers, up from 54 in 2007. The additional staff has helped to reduce the time-loss injury rate by about 30 per cent since 2000, for savings of over $100 million annually to the Manitoba economy, the minister added. 

She said the additional staff will:

· reach more workplaces across Manitoba;

· increase inspection and enforcement activities in high-hazard industries such as construction and manufacturing, and enable more proactive initiatives in sectors such as agriculture and healthcare;

· establish more occupational safety and health committees and workplace safety and health programs;

· increase enforcement in workplaces most likely to employ new, young and immigrant workers; and

· develop and deliver new programs to increase training and education opportunities for workers and employers. 

The additional officers hired to date have helped increase the annual number of inspections to approximately 10,000 in 2009 from approximately 1,600 in 1999. 

“Despite current economic challenges, Manitoba continues to grow.  We have new construction in our urban centres, major hydro development, the floodway expansion and new infrastructure projects across the province,” said Howard.  “As Manitobans continue to build this province, it is extremely important that we make all job sites safer for the sake of workers and their families.”