Workplace Deaths in Canada – Projected to 2020

A couple of days ago I posted an updated graphic of Canada’s workplace fatalities to 2010. This information was gathered from data aggregated from each province’s workers’ compensation board and is available on the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada website.

There is normally a one to two year lag in the data as each WCB has to finalize their records on each fatality to determine the accepted cases.  This suggests that there are a number of cases where, for a variety of reasons, the fatalities were not accepted and therefore were not reported as arising from workplace causes.

When I first started graphing this data using a popular spreadsheet, I was interested to see where this was trending. Fortunately, the spreadsheet I was using had the ability to trend the data.  When I updated the graph a few days ago I noticed that there was another feature that would allow you to project the graph forward – hence the posted graphic today.

I’m not sure how scientific the trending function is, but the result is rather sobering – a steady rise in the number of workplace deaths in Canada to almost 1200 by 2020.  Are we getting better at counting? Are we doing a better job of recognizing the toll of occupational disease?  Are we experiencing a lack of control of high consequence, low probability risks?  Is it a combination of these things and other factors?  I think we need to explore the answers to these questions and start working on changing these numbers.

April 28th is coming soon and we owe it to our working colleagues, their families and communities to do something about this.

Change the trend line on workplace deaths….cause safety to happen in your workplace….Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy.

A Walk for Asbestos Victims…in my hometown

I recently heard from a friend of mine about an event in my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario.  Linda Reinstein is the Co-founder/President/CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and she recently travelled to Sarnia to participate in the Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos.

Sarnia is the home of the Chemical Valley.  I grew up there and learned my most important safety lessons from my father, a maintenance and operations supervisor with Imperial Oil.  I  worked in “the plants” and studied Industrial Hygiene Technology at Lambton College.  During my home, work and academic education asbestos was a big deal.  It had been used in the industry as an insulator and could be found in quite a variety of other building materials. There were also a number of insulation manufacturers in Sarnia over the years.

In the last 10 years, there has been much discussion around the legacy of asbestos used in Sarnia’s workplaces. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow Sarnian’s have fallen victim to asbestos related diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. On the weekend, people came from far and wide to remember and honour those who lost their lives to asbestos.  Here are some links to more information about the Sarnia Asbestos Walk:

In the safety world, Sarnia is a bit of a paradox.  It’s large petrochemical industry is known for its incredibly sophisticated health and safety systems. Sarnia is also known as the home of an asbestos tragedy.

Cause safety to happen today in your community…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy

Forget Me Not…Coming Soon

Just want to give you a heads-up about a new feature coming up in April. I’ve been a big fan of Threads of Life over the years and was recently approached to check out their new book called, “Forget Me Not…Canadian stories of workplace tragedy from the families’ perspective”. The book will be available soon from Threads of Life and tells the personal story of workplace tragedy. The timing of the book is important as April 28th, the Day of Mourning, is quickly approaching.

I will be spending the next few weeks reading the book and will share my thoughts about its message and impact. I’m thinking that many of us in the safety world are going to find it thought provoking and an invaluable tool for story-telling in our work.

We’re often faced with cold and uninteresting statistics that don’t engage our audience. Each of the stories in Forget Me Not represents one of those statistics in a way that will draw us in to the real personal tragedy that unfortunately is visited upon families, workplaces and communities across the nation far too often.

Please watch my blog for more information over the next few weeks. I’ll be holding a draw for a lucky Canadian reader for a copy of the book. Please do check out Threads of Life’s Forget Me Not page for more information on how you can get yours.

Cause safety to happen in your workplace today…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy