PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS WOULD STRENGTHEN WORKER SAFETY IN MANITOBA
– – – Changes Would Provide More Tools for Enforcement, Enhanced Legislation: Howard
Proposed amendments to the Workplace Safety and Health Act would make Manitoba’s safety and health laws among the strongest in Canada, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“Manitoba has some of the strongest health and safety laws in Canada,” said Howard. “These amendments will give us new tools to make sure workers are safe and that we are working with employers and employees to prevent workplace injury and illness.”
The province worked with the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health to complete a thorough review of the Workplace Safety and Health Act, said Howard. The council made recommendations to strengthen Manitoba’s enforcement abilities, particularly for administrative penalties in the form of fines.
The new provisions would clarify responsibilities, enhance protections and ensure appropriate measures are taken in cases of clear disregard for worker safety through:
providing immediate fines for activities presenting an imminent risk to workers or for backsliding to unsafe conditions after an improvement order has been issued,
strengthening protections when a worker refuses unsafe work,
enshrining workers’ rights in legislation and penalizing employers that prevent workers from exercising their rights,
requiring a workplace safety and health representative in every workplace with five or more workers,
requiring in regulations under the legislation mandatory safety and health orientations for all new workers, and
providing a framework for the new chief prevention officer to review workplace injuries and deaths and report to Manitobans on prevention efforts.
“Every worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace and every family has the right to expect their loved ones will return home safely at the end of each shift,” said Howard. “Work-related injuries and illnesses are preventable and, with the contributions of the Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, together we are making Manitoba the safest place to work in North America.”
The amended legislation would take effect in the fall of 2013.