North Pole Workshop Boasts Stellar Safety Record; Rest of Area Logs Injuries

A northern toy manufacturing operation looks to be headed for yet another safe production season, according to the Worker's Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and its colleagues in Canada's North. Despite crafting hundreds of millions of toys annually and distributing them globally, the North Pole workshop has never reported a workplace injury.

"Our safety officers attribute this workshop's stellar safety record to an effective health and safety program," says Dave Grundy, director of communications and information for the WCB of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, which includes the magnetic North Pole. "In fact, last month, Santa's workshop became a certified Go Safe Worksite."

In addition to the busy manufacturing facility, the secretive operation's distribution channels bring a host of additional hazards, which are clearly being well managed, the WCB said. The mix of cold temperatures, air freight operations, heavy lifting of toy-filled sacks, animal husbandry, confined spaces, and visits to slippery rooftops would require stringent hazard identification and control.

Controlling workplace safety hazards is an important concern for all employers--because workplace injury is all too real, says the Nova Scotia WCB. In 2006, there were nearly 6,000 Nova Scotia workplace injuries in manufacturing and nearly 1,500 in transportation and storage. There were more than 100 real-world injuries related to work on or about rooftops, including 13 falls, and dozens of injuries due to ice and winter conditions. And more than 1,500 Nova Scotians were injured during overexertion in lifting. In fact, 61 percent of the province's time-loss injuries were musculoskeletal, stemming primarily from the way work is designed and carried out.

"Regardless of industry, at work and at home, safety shouldn't be the stuff of make believe. Injury prevention comes from real, concerted efforts at all levels--it's not magic," says Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO of the WCB of Nova Scotia. "Workplace injury takes an incredible human and financial toll in not just our province but throughout Canada and the world. At this time of year, it seems fitting to remind employers and workers how incredibly important workplace safety is. We wish all Nova Scotians a safe and happy holiday season."

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