Saskatchewan just got safer

REGINA, June 10 /CNW/ - Today, over 130 Saskatchewan business and community leaders declared their commitment to the health and safety of their employees and communities at an historic public signing event. Co-sponsored by WorkSafe Saskatchewan and Safe Saskatchewan, over 200 people attended the official signing of Saskatchewan's first Health & Safety Leadership Charter.

"For years, Saskatchewan has had the dubious distinction of having the second worst injury rate in Canada and the highest rate in Canada for injuries that occur outside of the workplace. There is an attitude here that injuries are inevitable. We as leaders felt it was time to stand together to create a cultural change - in our own organizations and in the wider community. This Charter is about publicly committing to that change," explains Gord Moker, CEO of Safe Saskatchewan. "WorkSafe Saskatchewan and Safe Saskatchewan partnered to create this event for informed leaders to publicly declare our commitment to injury prevention within our organizations and our communities. Our goal is that safety be adopted as a core value which will result in an attitudinal and behavioural change in our province."

Peter Federko is the CEO of the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board, a partner in WorkSafe Saskatchewan. "The cost of injury in this province is astronomical - financially and emotionally. Working together, Saskatchewan business leaders can be instrumental in improving the lives of Saskatchewan people. They can improve the economic environment for business and save millions of dollars in health and social costs. And they can do it one workplace, one community, and one family at a time," says Federko.

The principles in the Charter are adapted from the Conference Board of Canada's CEO Health and Safety Leadership Charter. Moker explains, "The principles in the Conference Board Charter were substantially what we wanted for Saskatchewan and Conference Board was gracious enough to allow us to modify them for our purposes. Here in Saskatchewan, we are honoured that we had an abundance of leaders step forward to take part in this important event- not just in the private sector, but leaders in our public sector, educational institutions, and other organizations."

WorkSafe Saskatchewan and Safe Saskatchewan had hoped to partner with Conference Board on this event and have the encouragement of the Conference Board, and the Conference Board has been watching the action in Saskatchewan with interest. "They are impressed," says Federko. "Nationally, they had just under 70 signatories at their first signing, and we have about 130 companies represented at this inaugural event. We think a partnership with them is a definite possibility in the future."

Safe Saskatchewan and WorkSafe Saskatchewan intend to make this an annual event.

Fast Facts:

    -  Saskatchewan has the second worst workplace time-loss injury record in
       the country.
    -  Away from work, Saskatchewan's injury hospitalization rate is twice
       the national average.
    -  Unintentional injury means an injury caused by an incident such as a
       fall, motor vehicle collision, drowning, poisoning, electrocution,
    -  Saskatchewan's death rate due to unintentional injury is 1.4 times
       higher than the national average.
    -  Unintentional injuries have a negative impact on the individual, their
       family, their workplace and Saskatchewan communities' growth and
    -  Every year, preventable injuries create a drain of $1 billion on the
       provincial economy.


Safe Saskatchewan is a provincial consortium of public, private, cooperative and non-profit sector founding partner organizations. The not-for-profit organization aims to raise awareness of the impact of unintentional injuries in Saskatchewan, coordinate provincial injury prevention initiatives, and support all organizations and programs undertaking injury prevention in the province.

WorkSafe Saskatchewan is an injury prevention and workplace safety partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour (AEEL). Through the partnership, both agencies offer programs and support that help employers and workers develop workplace health and safety programs. You can reach WorkSafe Saskatchewan at 1-800-667-7590. For information from AEEL, call 1-800-667-1783 or 1-800-567-7233.

Mission: Zero was founded in 2008 as an initiative to eliminate workplace injuries in Saskatchewan. In 2010, Safe Saskatchewan adopted Mission: Zero for its awareness campaign. The intent behind Mission: Zero is to bring about faster and deeper reductions to the provincial injury rate. Saskatchewan has the second highest workplace injury rate in Canada, and the highest rate of unintentional injury overall.


For further information: For further information: Heather Becker, Manager, Social Marketing Planning and Communications, Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board, (306) 533-9746; Lara Ludwig, Gryphon Communications for Safe Saskatchewan, (306) 665-2494 Ext. 2

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