Steelworkers Call for Health and Safety Reforms Following Report into Worker’s Death

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Que. – The United Steelworkers union (Syndicat des Métallos) is reiterating its call for legislative reforms to implement prevention mechanisms in all  workplaces, following a government report into a worker’s death at a manufacturing plant in Trois-Rivières.

Quebec’s workplace health and safety agency, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), this week released a report following its investigation into the death of Daniel Moreau, who was killed at the Margarine Thibault plant on Oct. 5, 2019.

Among the causes of the fatality, the CNESST report cites poor management of inspection and maintenance procedures regarding the power supply of a motorized pumping system, which compromised worker safety.

The CNESST investigation reinforces the longstanding need for legislative reforms to implement mandatory prevention mechanisms  in all workplaces, the Steelworkers union says.

“One fatality is one too many. It’s important to learn from this to improve health and safety in the plant for the future. The CNESST recommendations are important and we will work internally with the employer to ensure they are implemented,” said union representative Luc Laberge.

The Steelworkers union is renewing its call for stronger prevention mechanisms in all workplaces, particularly by enforcing joint workplace health and safety committees and worker-designated  safety representatives.

“In a workplace that has such prevention programs and measures in place, there is a constant review of ways to improve the health and safety of workers. We know that prevention is much more effective when workers are involved and when that involvement is required by law. A workplace like Margarine Thibault would benefit from being subject to prevention mechanisms under the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety,” Laberge said.

The United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos, affiliated with the FTQ (Quebec Federation of Labour), is the largest private-sector union in Quebec. It represents more than 60,000 workers in all economic sectors.

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