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NAOSH week highlights importance of stopping workplace deaths

By COS staff

From May 4 to 10, North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week will take place with the theme of “Make Safety a Habit.”

Led by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), NAOSH Week focuses on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace and raises understanding and awareness of safety and health issues.

Each year there are more than 200,000 workplace injuries or illnesses in Canada. NAOSH Week seeks to increase awareness of the role of health and safety professionals, encourage investment in occupational safety and health, and support workers to work safely.

"North American Occupational Safety and Health Week is an important opportunity for us all to come together and focus on our efforts to ensure that a successful and safe work day is enjoyed by Canadian workers every day. Sometimes we are not as safe as we think and we lose colleagues, friends and family members to uncontrolled workplace hazards," notes Andrew Cooper, CSSE president.

Annual workplace related deaths increased to 977 in 2012 (from 919 in 2011) according to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada. Safety standards vary between provinces, regulatory bodies and organizations.

At the launch of NAOSH week in St. John's, N.L. CSSE called for a national strategy to prevent occupational fatalities.

"The patchwork can only get us so far. When it comes to life and limb, we must do better," said Cooper.

NAOSH Week occurs every year during the first full week of May and is aimed at raising awareness about occupational safety, health and the environment in an effort to prevent work injuries and illnesses. The NAOSH Week logo — three hands forming an equilateral triangle — portrays the three participating nations — Canada, the United States and Mexico. This symbolizes joint venture, cooperation and the commitment to the common goals shared by all occupational safety and health partners.

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