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Safety street schools community

Alyssa Smith
Northern News Services
Published Friday, May 14, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - City Hall grounds became "safety street" last Friday, as part of the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission's celebration of North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week.

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Anne Clark, president and CEO of the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission, poses as Safe T. Sam. - Alyssa Smith/NNSL photo

The ultimate goal of safety street is to educate and improve upon the knowledge of safety in the community to eliminate workplace incidents and illnesses, said Anne Clark, president of the Worker's Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC).

"It's a way for us to assess skills and teach people about safety in the home, in the workplace and in the community," she said.

"Safety street is something we can build on to show people that safety isn't just about when you put on those work boots and pick up a hammer, it's about a way of life and a way of thinking."

Safety street was represented by six "houses" which were booths representing services in most communities in the NWT. The event included a corporate challenge where 12 teams from local schools and businesses went around safety street and tried to spot safety hazards.

At "safety school," put on by the Northern Construction Safety Association, teams had to answer a question about safety and then spot safety hazards in an illustration.

Margaret Woodley of the Yellowknife Co-op, which sponsored the retail house on safety street, said safety in the workplace is very important. She said that she thinks safety street is a great way to improve community awareness of the issue.

"We have a tendency to overlook hazards in our homes and workplaces," she said.

The Northern Territories Federation of Labour hosted a BBQ and served up free hot dogs during the event. Other Yellowknife NAOSH week activities included the "How safe are you?" radio contest, as well as a colouring contest.

NAOSH week started in 1997 when Canada, the United States and Mexico made an agreement to raise awareness about health and safety in the workplace.

To stay safe, just pay attention, Clark said.

"Keep an eye out for what's around you," she said. "If you think something isn't safe, don't take a chance and do it anyway.

"You have a right to know the hazards around you, and part of that is an obligation to teach yourself."

Organizers said they hope to continue the safety street concept next year, but will take their cue from NAOSH organizers.

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