OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Postal sector workers are calling for action following a new report that puts the spotlight on increasing injuries in federal workplaces, particularly workplaces run by Canada Post.
Success is No Accident, produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, is an investigation of declining workplace safety among federal employees. The report was released the day before April 28th, the global day of mourning for workers injured or killed on the job.
The report praises the provinces for working "diligently to drive down the number of workplace injuries," resulting in a 25% drop. Federally-regulated workplaces, however, tell "a completely different story, with the disabling injury rate actually rising 5% over the past five years." This percentage represents thousands of injured workers, observes the report, showing that "HRSDC has in fact been moving backwards in workplace safety since 2002."
Harsh words are reserved for Canada Post, which the report calls "perhaps the worst example of inaction on workplace injuries." The Crown Corporation shows "by far the worst overrepresentation of disabling injuries" with postal workers experiencing disabling injuries at 3.5 times the average for the federal jurisdiction and postal contractors making up fully 20%. Despite these startling numbers, the report finds a "disturbing trend" of "stonewalling" investigations on Canada Post's part.
One problem, according to the report is little external pressure on federally-regulated employers to follow labour law when it comes to disclosing injury rates. They are allowed to "self-report" through annual "hazardous occurrences" surveys. No penalties or fines exist for failing to submit these surveys.
Representatives from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers say they are saddened but not surprised by this dangerous state of affairs.
"Who else would be allowed to get away with mutilating and maiming workers to such an extent?" said Gayle Bossenberry, CUPW 1st National Vice-President. "We're relieved to see a study that confirms some of what we've been experiencing."
The union has been sharply critical of Canada Post's safety programs, including a series of videos targeted at injured workers. Such "behaviour-based" safety training tends to put the responsibility for health and safety onto workers rather than placing the onus on the employer to work towards prevention and safer workplaces. Bossenberry calls this "unacceptable."
"Canada Post brags that its injury rates are falling but the likelihood is that fewer accidents are being reported and more workers are being forced to take the blame for getting hurt," Bossenberry stated. "Obviously Canada Post needs strong external enforcement to clean up its health and safety act."
SOURCE Canadian Union of Postal Workers
For further information: For further information: contact Aalya Ahmad, CUPW Communications, at (613) 327-1177