A week for workplace safety

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May 5, 2015 8:15 AM

May 3 to 9 is North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, and activities are already underway to promote safety in Lloydminster.

“We had a ceremony at city hall on April 28 for Day of Mourning, a few minutes of silence ... which is kind of the kickoff,” said Dorothy Carson, executive direction of the Lloydminster Construction Association (LCA).

The Lakeland Regional Safety Committee (LRSC), which operates out of the LCA office, has a series of events planned for NAOSH week, with the goal of spreading safety awareness. NAOSH week started in 1997 and has its origins in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, when Canada, Mexico and the United States were discussing workplace safety.

This week events will be taking place across Lloydminster. These include the Steps for Life Walk at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on May 3, the sixth annual Try-a-Trade at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds and the NAOSH barbecue at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre on (LGCC) May 8. All week long at the LGCC the Lloydminster Fire Department will be running fire extinguisher training workshops.

The week’s festivities, while focused on workplace safety, has a greater goal to educate about safety in general. At the Try-a-Trade event, visitors can practise their hazard-spotting skills with the chance to win door prizes, and at the barbecue displays will be set up and ATCO Electric will provide a “high-voltage demonstration.”

“(We) just want to make safety a priority, whether you’re working or at home,” Carson said. “It’s (about) changing the culture and being proactive when it comes to safety and reminding people that you also have to be safe at home and in the community as well as in the workplace.”

For Carson, advocating for workplace safety isn’t just a one-week deal. The LCA holds public meetings five times a year with construction safety advisors from Alberta and Saskatchewan speaking and answering questions. In November, the LCA will hold its annual Lakeland Regional Safety Conference at the exhibition.

“Last year we put on our first Lakeland Regional Safety Conference. We brought in five speakers to talk to about 75 people regarding safety,” she said. “And then we had a fellow that had been injured in a workplace accident and he just provided a heartfelt story about what he went through.”

The LRA also runs six Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) courses monthly. The ACSA provides Certificates of Recognition, which some companies look for when contracting construction work. The LRA also offers the National Construction Safety Officer program, which trains safety officers.

“There are too many people lost and injured in the workplace and we just need to make people realize that,” Carson said. “We’re looking for employees to make it home safely at the end of the day.”

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