Last year, Alberta’s workplace fatalities totaled 144, a 15% increase from the previous year’s total of 125, despite the economic downturn which resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs across Alberta’s worksites.
A large portion of these fatalities took place on Alberta’s construction sites. In the last year, construction sites and other high-risk worksites have been targeted by frequent and surprise safety inspections, as part of the province’s plan to improve the health and safety conditions on Alberta’s worksites. The goal is to ensure that employers and workers avoid taking shortcuts when it comes to health and safety.
A glaring issue in Alberta's worksites is a lack of proper fall protection, which has remained a constant problem over the last few years, making up a significant amount of last year’s infractions, most resulting in a serious injury. Fall-related incidents resulted in 8 construction deaths last year, which, according to Dr. David Swann, could have been prevented.
While Alberta’s construction sites have been working towards enhanced safety practices and full compliance with safety standards by embracing innovative safety technologies, creating a culture focused on and committed to proactive health and safety will continue to be essential in improving QHSE practices across the industry.
Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann believes that Alberta is not as committed to safety and enforcement as the province should be. “It’s very easy to be complacent around these issues because everyone feels they’re doing what they can do when, in fact, virtually every injury incident is preventable,” says Swann. “We’ve got a culture that doesn’t really reinforce safety first.”
The adoption and use of digital technologies and QHSE management software to mitigate safety risks has been on the rise across construction sites, ensuring worker compliance with health and safety regulations, with IoT enabled devices allowing the collection of critical safety data and enabling construction companies to gain insight and create proactive measures to prevent worksite incidents and safety risks.
The Province’s increased focus on safety inspections and commitment to improving health and safety at work-sites is a step in the right direction, reinforcing the idea that worksites must strive to make safety their top priority, but more still needs to be done to make sure that these work-site safety improvements aren’t just temporary. With QHSE software solutions and incident management software such as iTrak, worksites can automate QHSE/EHS processes and create a continuously improving generative safety culture.