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Release issued July 18 by Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador

Development of a registry of former workers of the Baie Verte Asbestos Mine
Friday, July 18, 2008

The development of a registry of former mine employees is a proactive approach, created through a collaborative partnership between the workers’ compensation system, a union organization and a community group. The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission), the Baie Verte Peninsula Miners’ Action Committee and the United Steel Workers (USW) have worked collaboratively toward the development of the Baie Verte Miners’ Registry.

 

The Registry will help identify former mine employees of the now defunct Baie Verte Mine who may have developed asbestos-related diseases and determine their general state of health. The Baie Verte Asbestos Mine was established in 1955 and ceased operations in 1992, employing approximately 3000 workers. Former employees of the mine, including contractual employees, will be asked for their consent to participate in the registry, which will include providing their employment history, asbestos exposure information and health status. Memorial University of Newfoundland’s, research unit, SafetyNet, will be responsible for carrying out the work necessary to complete the Registry.

 

“The Commission recognized the link between emerging asbestos-related illnesses in workers of the Baie Verte Asbestos Mine and the need to find a better way to work with the injured workers, labour and the community,” said Ralph Tucker, Chair, Board of Directors, Workplace, Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. “This new collaborative approach between the Commission, the USW and the Baie Verte Miners’ Action Committee is a positive step in the right direction in addressing the emerging issue of occupational disease for the workers of our province.”

 

“I want to congratulate the parties involved on their efforts to bring this initiative forward to assist the former mine employees, “ said Minister Shawn Skinner, Minister for Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. “Together, those involved in this process recognize the value of creating a registry.”

 

“I am pleased with the dedication, hard work, co-operation and commitment to this issue from the Commission and the USW,” said Lars Hoven, a representative of the Baie Verte Peninsula Miners’ Action Committee. “I know the same commitment and co-operation will continue in the future on any issues that may arise.”

 

“This is a breakthrough agreement for the United Steelworkers and workers everywhere, and with the critical information obtained through the Registry it will be a turning point for fair compensation for victims of occupational disease. We hope this announcement will set the pattern for other Boards and governments across Canada as they too strive for justice for workers and their survivors,” said Nancy Hutchison, United Steelworkers, District 6 Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator.

 

Work on the Registry will begin in July 2008, which will include additional information communicated publicly on how parties can become involved in the Registry process. To contact the Baie Verte Miners’ Registry call: 1888 737 7250 or visit: www.baieverteminers-registry.ca.

 

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About the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission

Serving over 16,000 employers and approximately 12,000 injured workers, the Commission is an employer-funded no fault insurance system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and fair compensation to injured workers and their dependants. The Commission is committed to educating workers and employers about workplace injury and prevention, and to promoting a positive safety culture for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

 

About the United Steel Workers

The United Steelworkers at the beginning of the 21st century barely resembles the mostly-male industrial union of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. But the increasing diversity of the membership has only strengthened the basic principles on which the union was founded.

Workers employed in the steel industry and in mining – two of the union’s traditional jurisdictions – total about 65,000, out of a total membership in Canada of 280,000. Steelworker members can be found in every sector of the economy – from factories to offices, to hospitals, university campuses, hotels, warehouses, bakeries, banks, transportation and communication workers and many more. More than 20 per cent of Steelworkers now are women, and there is a growing membership among visible minority workers.

 

About the Baie Verte Peninsula Miners’ Action Committee

The Baie Verte Peninsula Miners Action Committee was formed in July 2004 in response to a meeting held by the USW to talk to the people in the Baie Verte area about Advocate/Baie Verte Mines and health and environmental issues. Since its inception, the Baie Verte Peninsula Miners Action Committee has become a liaison between the people of the area and the USW in pursuit of justice for the former workers of the asbestos mines in Baie Verte.

 

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Deborah Inkpen
Director of Communications
Workplace Health, Safety and
Compensation Commission
709-778-1590, 1-800-563- 9000
deborah.inkpen@whscc.nl.ca
www.whscc.nl.c

Peter D. Birt, Department Head
Communications & Information Systems, United Steelworkers
800-234 Eglinton Avenue Eas
Toronto, Ontario, M4P 1K7
416-544-5966
Fax -416-487-9852
pbirt@usw.ca
www.usw.ca

 

 


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