Alberta is under-reporting workplace injuries by a factor of 10, according to information released today by the Parkland Institute.
The University of Alberta-based non-partisan research institute also concluded that unions protect workers from unsafe workplaces.
A fact sheet written by Athabasca University Professor Bob Barnetson shows that while the only talks about the approximately 53,000 injuries in 2009 that resulted in lost or modified work the total number of workplace injuries in the province in the same year was about 10 times that number.
“The reason for the discrepancy,” Barnetson in a Parkland press release, “is that the only injuries the government discusses in public are the disabling injury claims. By not reporting on those injuries which do not result in lost or modified work, they are under-representing the true rate of injury by a factor of 10.”
Making it Home: Alberta Workplace Injuries and the Union Safety Dividend also highlights that what really makes a difference in reducing injury rates is direct worker participation in Occupational Health and Safety efforts.
This is one of the reasons union membership provides workers with a significant safety dividend, especially in Alberta, the only jurisdiction in Canada where joint worker-employer health and safety committees are not mandatory for any size of workplace.
Unions also encourage worker safety in other ways:
- By supporting workplace safety education
- By empowering workers to exercise their right to refuse unsafe work
- By representing workers at compensation hearings
- By providing a voice to lobby for improved safety legislation
“The data … shows that unions provide a significant safety dividend that benefits all Alberta workers,” he concluded.