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North American Occupational Safety and Health WeekThe mayor of the Municipality of Cumberland says safety on the job is just as important today as it was 65 years ago when 75 coal miners were killed in the Springhill Bump.

 Murray Scott attended the observation of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Cumberland Campus on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, on behalf of the municipality.

“This community is no stranger to accidents, injuries and deaths in the workplace through Springhill’s mining heritage,” Mayor Scott said. “To see the efforts across North America to prevent such tragedies and workplace accidents and injuries is reassuring and shows how far we’ve come in that time.”While there has been a financial cost of initiating and implementing safeguards on the job, the mayor said the cost is even higher for those who are injured and killed on the job and their families who have suffered the consequences long after the incident that took the life or seriously injured a loved one.

“It’s important that we understand men and women are going to work every day and their families are expecting them to come home safe,” the mayor said. “It’s important that institutions, like NSCC, industries, municipalities and government do everything they can to keep employees safe and prevent accidents in the workplace.”

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week has been recognized since June 1997 as an agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Before that, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering’s Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week was observed between 1986 and 1996.

Celebrated during the first week of May every year, the goal is to raise awareness about occupational safety, health and the environment in an effort to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. It aims to bring workers, companies, employers and other industries together to reduce workplace accidents.

NSCC Cumberland principal Don McCormack said this year’s event, which included a flag-raising ceremony in front of the campus, is the 26th time it has participated in occupational safety and health week activities.

“Together we can create safer workplaces and safer communities,” the principal said. “The college has continued to celebrate NAOSH celebrations by helping to raise safety awareness among all our students, staff and faculty as well as those in our community. Workplace injuries are preventable and with improved workplace safety awareness such incidents may be eliminated.”

It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of the work being done by occupational safety and health professionals and by encouraging safe and healthy activities within the workplace such as active support for the work of the joint occupational health and committee or the workplace health and safety representative.

“Workers, management, government, educators and students all share the responsibility for fostering, promoting and supporting health and safety in the workplace,” McCormack said. “With this spirit of partnership and the realization that workplace health and safety concerns us all, we will succeed in reducing injuries in the workplace.”

Twenty-four Nova Scotians lost their lives on the job or because of workplace-related injuries or illnesses in 2022. That’s up from 20 in 2021.