Concerns swirl around rising number of workplace deaths in N.S.

By CityNews Halifax Staff

According to the Workers Compensation Board, more Nova Scotians died at work or because of their work in 2022 than the previous year.

Released on March 16 the numbers show that there were 24 work-related deaths in Nova Scotia, which is an increase of 20 in 2021.

Of those deaths, they say nine were from acute traumatic injuries on the job across a range of industries, including fishing.

Eight deaths were related to occupational diseases stemming from past exposures, seven by health-related issues like heart attacks, which may or may not have been related to work.

The WCB's Nova Scotia interim CEO Shelley Rowan says in a statement that fatalities are a stark reminder of the importance making sure safety is the first priority in every workplace.

The releases states WCB Nova Scotia and the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration continue to work closely with industry and other partners to promote workplace safety. 

But Nova Scotia Federation of Labour president Danny Cavanagh said in a release on Friday that the number of deaths is “unacceptable”. 

“No matter how it gets spun by the Workers’ Compensation Board or the province, 24 is 24 too many,” Cavanagh said. “Sadly, very few – if any – have led to criminal charges under the Westray Act.”

Together, the organizations, along with safety associations, conduct workplace visits and education and awareness campaigns, as part of ongoing efforts to improve workplace safety throughout the province.

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