Editorial — Safety must come first at workplaces

The owners of a Langley mushroom farm had no regard for the safety and lives of their employees.

The testimony at the coroner’s inquest into the tragic and senseless deaths of three mushroom farm workers in 2008 is demonstrating one very clear fact.

The owners of the farm were negligent, loath to obeying basic safety rules and even court orders, and had no regard for the safety and lives of their employees.

Because their employees were recent immigrants, they were treated in a way that no employee should ever be treated in this country — certainly not in the 21st century.

The owners have already been fined in provincial court and it is unlikely that there will ever be any more charges laid against them. However, this inquest and the earlier court proceedings must not go to waste.

The provincial government and Worksafe B.C. must mount an extensive and permament campaign, to educate farm workers about basic safety. Any farm that has employees must have a health and safety committee, as is the case at other workplaces.

In addition, Worksafe B.C. must conduct random, unannounced checks on any business — farm or non-farm — that appears to ignore basic safety precautions.

While Worksafe must be understanding when running into minor violations, it must crack down on major ones, and must have the power to levy fines and even close businesses until proper safety conditions are in place.

No one should have to fear for their life, simply by going to work. Some workplaces are more dangerous than others — that is a given. But by adopting proper safety protocols, risks can be diminished and hopefully all but eliminated.

No amount of inspections and rules will change the attitudes of people who are determined to operate outside the law. However, they do understand money.

If their businesses are closed, they will begin to take safety seriously.

Just Posted

Aldergrove dog and trainer audition for America’s Got Talent

Dancing duo raise bipolar awareness in tribute to afflicted wife

Remaining grocers in Aldergrove welcoming new customers

Safeway’s May closure coincides with major changes in other stores

Aldergrove envisions what the Valley could like like through UBC students’ blueprints

‘Why hasn’t this already happened?’: Interurban rail meeting pushes for transit past 276 Street

Langley riders Laskin and Bennett nominated to Canadian Equestrian Team

Among 12 selected for Pan American Games in Lima, Peru

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read