One worker killed and another in a medically induced comma as a result of COVID-19 exposures in an Alberta meat packing plant – this after weeks of calls for better precautions.
In response Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is demanding
among other steps, the government open a criminal investigation of the circumstances that resulted in the meat packing worker death.
But what is the law that supports such an investigation? And what has been the outcome of other similar investigations? This will be the subject of the next in a series of COVID-19 webinars hosted by the Workers Health & Safety Centre.
Be sure and register early as webinar space is limited.
COVID-19 and workplace criminal negligence
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 11:00 am - 11:30 am
Webinar participants can ask questions and provide survey feedback. Webinar space is also limited to Ontario residents only.
Watch us on Facebook Live
We will also be streaming the webinar live in real time to an unlimited Facebook audience. To view the live stream, click this link on the above date and time: https://www.facebook.com/WHSCtraining/live
Can’t watch live?
We will record and post the session to our Facebook
platforms and the PowerPoint supporting the session to our dedicated COVID-19 web page
Details of the Alberta tragedy
The meat packing worker who died is reported
as being in her 60s. The other, gravely ill worker is reported as being in his 50s. Their names have not been released.
As early as April 1st
, one news outlet reported union demands
for employers to increase the space between each employee’s work area at the Alberta meat packing plant, even if line speeds drop. “We’re calling on all these employers to look themselves in the mirror and say no matter what happens we did everything we could to keep food on the table and everyone safe,” said Thomas Hesse, president of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 401, with 32,000 members in Alberta, mostly in food processing and retailing.
Health and safety inspections at the plant were conducted by smart phone
concluding the meat packing plant was safe to remain open, days after dozens of COVID-19 cases were confirmed.
As of yesterday, another news outlet reported
a total of 1,084 cases of COVID-19 linked to the meat-packing plant and 710 workers testing positive for COVID-19. Those cases we are told represent nearly a quarter of all cases in Alberta.
Thomas Hesse is now repeating his demands
for better measures to safeguard members of his union, including immediate closures of workplaces that experience COVID-19 outbreaks, much needed social (physical) distancing measures and “unannounced daily spot checks” by health and safety inspections.
To learn more: