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Buzz%20Hargrove%20article - ‘ Dying to work Buzz Hargrove...

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Unformatted text preview: ‘ Dying to work: Buzz Hargrove, Globe & Mail, 19 July 2000 David Ellis, an 18-year-old student from Burlington, Ont, became en- tangled in a commercial dough mixer in a bakery. He died on Feb. 17, 1999. It was his second day on a job that was to last only three weeks. At almost the same time, 19-year-old Tilbury worker Jared Dietrich died on his second day on the job because there was no proper guarding on his machine. Ivan Golyashov, 16, was killed in a similar accident to David’s, in an unguarded dough maker in a Toronto bakery. Steve MacDonald, 20, was killed three months after Ivan when he became entangled in a metal lathe in Milton. Increasing numbers of young ' workers across Canada are being killed or injured on the job as a result of failure on the part of governments and employers to provide adequate health and safety training and education. Add to this neglect machinery that isn’t properly safeguarded and you have a recipe for the kind of tragedies that are all the more disturbing because they are preventable. Why is there so much interest in tax cuts - mostly for the wealthy — when there aren’t enough inspectors to monitor even 1 per cent of the workplaces where our young are losing their lives or ' becoming disabled? How many more will die before governments and employers take action to prevent these senseless losses? Most workplace deaths among young people in the past 10 years across Canada have been in non- imion environments. As Maureen Shaw, president of the Industrial ,Accident Prevention Association, rightly pointed out to The Globe and Mail recently, "if they (young workers) ask questions or refuse to ' do something unsafe, theyfll lose their job." This risk is often true in non-union situations. But most workers in Canada have no union to protect them if they stand up for their rights, so who will take on the responsibility to keep young workers safe? Our children have been cared for by their parents or care-givers since they were small. We taught them to be careful crossing the street and to wear seat belts. When they went to school, their teachers explained the need to be cautious with sharp objects and to be wary of strangers. Why should this education and training stop at the workplace door, one of the most dangerous places in Canada? Even the fast-food industry, where so , many of our young peOple work, is dangerous. Hot fat (almost synonymous with fast food) burns and disfigures many young workers. In all federal and provincial legislation in this country, employers are obliged to provide a healthy and safe workplace and to provide education, training and in- struction to workers in safe work procedures. Why is this legislation not specific enough to be enforced, especially for young workers? We need specific legislation employers to provide education and training for at least two weeks before any person new to the workplace, ' especially a young person, is allowed to work Many of the yomg workers killed in the past 10 years in Canada died within the first two weeks on the job. Wouldn’t it be better if they were trained properly? Small employers don't have to develop these programs. Dozens of training programs are available, for example, from the Ontario Workers Health and Safety Centre. Legislated requirements for health and safety education and training must be improved and vigorously enforced. Employers should be prosecuted up to and including jail terms if they fail to provide efl‘ective health and safety education and training. The employer of David Ellis, the 18- year—old bakery worker killed by the unguarded dough mixer, went ' to jail for three weeks. If David Ellis had been murdered on the street, would a three-week sentence he considered justice? Some will argue that a detailed health and safety education and , p 7 training requirement would be one more regulation hurting the ability of business to make a profit. This is not true. It would simply mean that all employers in the cormtry would be compelled to do the same thing - with no disadvantage to any one company. We send our children to school for a dozen years so they will learn, among other skills, how to attend regularly and work diligently. Employers benefit from this discipline. Surely, at a minimum, they should be required to conduct life and death education and training in return Buzz Hargrove is president of the Canadian Auto Workers union. ...
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