(November 1, 2013) - Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of our employees is of utmost importance in ensuring we have a strong workforce, able to provide services to residents of the NWT. We have been working aggressively to uphold and enhance occupational health and safety across all Government of the Northwest Territories’ worksites.
To this end, we are pleased to confirm the launch of the GNWT’s corporate Occupational Health and Safety Training Program. OHS training helps all employees understand the value of health and safety to reduce workplace injuries. There are two streams. One focuses on training for all staff, including specialized training that addresses risks in certain occupations or worksites. The second focuses on training for OHS committee representatives to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to manage OHS effectively in their workplace. Courses will be available on the GNWT training calendar by the end of this calendar year.
Mr. Speaker, the training for all staff is being delivered in partnership with the Northern Safety Association. This association, formed in 2007 and funded by the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission, is mandated to work with partners to reduce human, social and economic losses as a result of workplace accidents and injuries. The goals of the Northern Safety Association are to foster a commitment to workplace health and safety workers and employers; to save lives and reduce workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses; to reduce all costs associated with workplace accidents; and to strive to provide proactive programs and services that will contribute to creating a sound foundation for a safer, healthier and more profitable future for workers and employers.
Mr. Speaker, among the many services offered by the Northern Safety Association to workers and employers is the delivery of quality safety training.
The Association has access to specialized occupational health and safety training through its provincial and territorial partners and offers a combination of on-line and in-person training opportunities. We are pleased to advise that the Northern Safety Association and the Department of Human Resources are partnering on elements of the corporate Occupational Health and Safety Training Program to make occupational health and safety training available to all GNWT employees.
Departments and agencies are actively working to manage injury claim costs, apply health and safety practices and ensure their workplaces comply with health and safety standards. The Department of Human Resources continues to develop guidelines to support implementation of our Occupational Health and Safety Policy, approved and implemented earlier this year. There is a webpage dedicated to the GNWT’s occupational health and safety program and its requirements to provide employees information and tools. Quarterly OHS coordinators meetings are held to develop skills, hear from safety experts and share best practices.
Mr. Speaker, the GNWT is a safe Employer when one examines occupational health and safety related metrics such as time loss claims and number of workplace safety and health accidents across the GNWT.
Mr. Speaker, it’s clear: Better safety means healthier employees, which in turn means more effective programs and services.
We are committed to ensuring that the Department of Human Resources continues its work to lead the corporate framework that supports departments and agencies as they implement the GNWT’s occupational health and safety program within their respective mandates.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.