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Falling back on an out clause under the Freedom of Information Act, the Workers Compensation Board is refusing to name Nova Scotia's high risk employers, stating that the information could be misconstrued or taken out of context, negatively impacting those employers and causing them financial harm.
It's a glib stand in light of the fact 12 Nova Scotia were killed on the job in 2007 and more than 32,000 - were injured at work. Revealing the identities of these employers and those fined for unsafe work conditions should not be a matter of debate before the Supreme Court, as the case now stands, but a matter of social responsibility and courtesy. Indeed, some duties come at a higher risk than others and with it the knowledge that adequate training and concern for the employee's safety is at the forefront of every employers mind. However, that does not guarantee this is the kind of world we live in.
Frankly, it should be the role of the Minister of Labour to seek out the names of high-risk employers from WCB and publish his findings annually and with summary of the accounts identifying whether or not the injurious occasion resulted in a fine, if the injury was within reason of the Health and Safety Act or if workplace conditions were changed to prevent further injuries in the future.
Releasing this information in no way an act of shame on the behalf of the employers but a social duty to Nova Scotians everywhere to be informed about the prospective dangers they could face in the workplace. Workplace injuries do not just affect WCB: they affect taxpayers, their families who must care for them and live with the reduction to the quality of life they once enjoyed; and the economy as a whole knowing their numbers has diminished by one. Any reason for an employee not to return to work as a result of a workplace injury or the accumulative strain they endure is a reason for us to reconsider what we consider acceptable and promote dialogue about what can become preventable and what is inevitable. Doing so puts our workforce at the forefront of the world's stage knowing ours is a machine that is well oiled and need not stop.
Not doing just leaves the door open for one more WCB claim…or worse.

Organizations: Workers Compensation Board, Supreme Court

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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