Time to Outlaw Stuntmen and Heavy Construction…
I read with great interest today the BC government’s soon-to-be-implemented ban on smoking in all indoor places and some outdoor places. Particularly noteworthy is the ban on smoking rooms in pubs, which aims to protect the workers from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Putting aside the fact these pub owners spent upwards of $50K each to build these specially ventilated smoke rooms in order to comply with the government’s edict of a few years ago, it got me thinking: they’re on the right track here – why are we allowing people to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of earning a living???
Indeed, it’s time we took a good hard look at outlawing stuntmen, whose sole purpose is to put themselves in harm’s way for a few bucks. And what about athletes? They routinely suffer significant injuries for the sake of their careers.Looking at the WorkSafe stats for 2006, the worst offenders are those employed in heavy construction: they had an unacceptable injury rate of 13 injuries per 100 person-years of employment – atrocious! How can we, as a just society, allow these people to engage in their chosen livelihood? Disgusting.
Hot on the heals of the ill-fated heavy construction workers are the warehouse workers (9 injuries per 100 person-years of employment). It seems quite obvious we should immediately endeavour to make BC the first “warehouse-free zone” – hopefully neighbouring jurisdictions will take note and follow our lead!
We ought also to consider barring metal and non-metallic mineral products employees from exposing themselves to the perils inherent in their chosen careers – their injury rate of 8/100 person-years is a black mark on this province! And while we’re at it, I’m exposed to the peril of paper cuts on a daily and continuous basis – unacceptable!
And here we begin to see how deeply rooted the politics of smoking have become: we’re now set to pass laws which preclude our neighbours earning their keep by (voluntarily, remember) selling their services/labour in a way we insist they cannot be trusted to decide (and, of course, without asking them their opinions). Why shouldn’t an adult human assess any particular occupational risk and decide for themselves whether the reward is worth that risk? That’s what the race car driver or the policeman or the fireman or the coal miner does, and we don’t consider that “odd” or worthy of governmental intervention…