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Alberta labour group wants changes to laws after 15-year-old boy dies on the job

EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour hopes the death of a teen at a work site will prompt change in youth labour laws.

A 15-year-old boy was killed during a gravel crushing operation near Drumheller on Saturday, when he became tangled in a conveyer belt.

The federation says Alberta’s youth labour laws are “among the worst in Canada.”

Federation spokeswoman Siobhan (SHUH-VAHN) says only if someone complains about something seemingly unsafe or questionable, will someone from the Alberta government come out and inspect it.

She adds it’s particularly concerning for youth, who may be reluctant to come forward out of fear of losing the job.

Occupational Health and Safety is investigating.

“We send our children out in the world, and this is not what you want to happen,” Vipond said, expressing her condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of the boy.

In 2005, a 15-year-old boy was also killed while on a forklift at a worksite in Strathmore.

“From that, we did not get mandatory training of forklift drivers. So, we need to review the health and safety standards,” Vipond said.

“This death will trigger an investigation. At that point, hopefully, we will get into a situation where we are looking at these rules meaningfully.”

In addition to improving qualifications and inspections, AFL wants a review of whether the operation of some heavy machinery should be prohibited for adolescents.


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