Alberta workplace deaths rise 24 per cent

More people died after being injured in Alberta workplaces in 2007 over the previous year, although the total number of accidents was down, statistics released Thursday by the province showed.

There were 154 deaths in 2007, up from 124 in 2006, an increase of 24 per cent. At the same time, injuries were down by six per cent, from 36,701 to 34,227.

"On one hand we're making great gains when it comes to reducing workplace injuries," Hector Goudreau, the minister of employment and immigration, said in a news release.

"On the other hand, there are still far too many workers in Alberta getting killed on the job."

The rising number of deaths is unacceptable, said Goudreau, who promised his department will step up efforts to get the safety message out to workers and industry.

Gil McGowan, head of Alberta's Federation of Labour, said there are far too many people being killed at work.

"Frankly what's happening here is that the pace of development in this province is putting people's lives at risk," he said. "Employers are speeding up trying to get jobs done and corners are being cut and one of the first corners unfortunately that's cut is usually health and safety."

While the number of fatalities is significantly up, Goudreau's department said that compared to the increase in the workforce, the rate is consistent with figures over the past 10 years.

CBC, Thurs Apr 17 2008

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