The City of Moose Jaw is taking steps to reduce accidents after city council learned it is on the Worker Compensation Board’s “Priority Employer” list.
Moose Jaw was put on the list in March of 2018 and has been mandated by the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to decrease overall injuries by 25 per cent.
City administration asked city council to consider a second safety officer position on a trial basis to reduce motor vehicle incidents by 50 per cent in an effort to get off the watch list.
The salary for the new position would be $75,000.
Although the recommendation came during budget deliberations on Wednesday night, city manager Jim Puffalt said the salary of the new hire would be offset by saving in operating expenses for repairing vehicles.
“At very least, this would be at no cost to our budget, and at very best we will start to save a lot of those dollars. It really will start getting productivity back in from eliminating unnecessary incidents,” Puffalt said.
The announcement that the city was on the WCB’s watch list can as a surprise to veteran city councillors Heather Eby, Dawn Luhning, and Crystal Froese as they were under the impression workplace safety was getting better.
“This one just seems to be a bit of surprise for me because I don't recall like having a report or anything that we had sort of. Any issues around this,” Froese said.
“I thought our workers' compensation was those types of things are kind of going pretty well, but I guess I didn't realize that there was this much of an issue.”
A motion was passed to add the second Safety Officer on a one-year trial basis. Voting against the motion were councillors Eby, Luhning and Jamey Logan.
Luhning said she felt there was a cost as the salary would be on the books and there was no guarantee of savings. Logan also expressed concerns about the cost of the salary as well and only the “potential” for savings.