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“Killer Contraventions” – meaning (most simply and in this context are) the most common violations of safety protocols, procedures and regulations that, well, ‘kill’ or cause workplace injury and the serious outcomes that follow.  The Killer contraventions are Falls, Struck-by, Trench Collapse and Electrocution.  However, what is not so ‘simple’ is how they are defined and or categorized differently from province to province across Canada, and to us, this makes no sense.  It’s time for consistency and, in fact, it’s overdue. 

As workplace safety experts, we at Cobalt Safety advocate for a harmonizing of these life-saving regulations.  As I often state in my seminars, speeches and client conversations – “There are three “C’s” at your workplace right now that are dangerous, Complacency, Confusion, and bad Communication and none are against the law” The hazard of “Confusion” comes in many forms including Provincial Regulations when it comes to “killer contraventions” in Canada.

So why, after so many workplace tragedies, have governments not created a harmonized approach to Killer Contraventions?  The Americans do not have 50 different variations on these.  Can you imagine the obstacles to the intra-state movement of labour, which is vital in the present-day environment of labour scarcity…not to mention the potential for confusion and mistakes? 

After all – or as we in our industry often say – ‘at the end of the day’ a fall in B.C. is the same as a fall in Ontario or New Brunswick.  Every time you change provinces you encounter new safety laws, in some situations you have to train again. Ontario doesn’t accept working at heights training from Alberta, why not? How hard is it to come up with a Canadian Standard for Fall protection? In today’s labour market standardized regulations and training would be more efficient. Many companies are National and have to adjust their health and safety programs to meet each Provincial and Federal jurisdiction.

While we are at it let’s unify other sections of Provincial Regulations like the Joint Health and Safety Committees and others.

Let’s all start and push the conversation about harmonizing at minimum Killer Contraventions, and unified training standards to reduce confusion, and replace it with a consistent level of confidence and knowledge wherever we work.  Please help create awareness and safer workplaces by sharing on your network and, as always, I welcome any comments, questions or conversations about this or any safety issue.

Kevin Brown,

CEO Cobalt Safety Consulting Inc.

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