The current occupational health and safety regime no longer corresponds to today’s realities.
FTQ – Quebec Federation of Workers
This Tuesday, February 25, the Employers Council, the Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in an open letter, called for the modernization of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. For a rare time, we agree with the employers, but not for the same reasons. The FTQ has been asking successive governments for 40 years to better protect workers with, among other things, safety representatives in all workplaces, which is opposed to passing employers on.
In their open letter, employers’ associations complain about accepted deafness claims and the costs associated with them, which in 2018 were twice as numerous in Quebec as in Ontario. However, they forget to say that the maximum noise exposure standard is 90 decibels (dba) in Quebec and 85 in Ontario. Quebec bosses are making bottom-line savings by refusing to add noise-canceling devices to their machines. So Quebec produces deaf people because the employers do not reduce noise at the source.
The bosses also complain about the paperwork that our doctors must fill out for the follow-up of occupational health and safety cases. Once again, they ignore that in 2018, 71% of complaints to the Office of Medical Assessment came from employers, who are therefore primarily responsible for processing times which leads to the accumulation of paperwork to be completed.
What employers refuse to understand is that the more prevention there is, the less there are accidents at work and occupational diseases.
Instead of constantly feeling sorry for themselves without offering anything constructive, employers should work together to ensure that our workers can practice their trade safely and without fear of being victims of a work accident or occupational disease. Yet employers are aware that every dollar invested in prevention saves up to $ 10 in compensation, rehabilitation and lost productivity.
The FTQ is impatiently awaiting the bill on the modernization of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that Minister Jean Boulet has promised to introduce. Last year, more than 100,000 workers suffered an employment injury. And each year, more than 200 workers die, victims of an accident at work or an occupational disease. It can no longer be tolerated, it must stop! As employers put it so well in their letter, “We deserve a more efficient and accountable system.