Asbestos-related disease tops causes of workplace deaths in Sask. in 2016

Asbestos-related disease tops causes of workplace deaths in Sask. in 2016

More than a third of workplace fatalities in Saskatchewan last year were due to asbestosis, according to the Workers' Compensation Board's latest annual report.

The report, tabled in the Saskatchewan Legislature Wednesday, noted 31 workplace deaths in 2016.

Of those deaths:

- One was due to heart attack.

- Four were due to motor vehicle accidents.

- Nine were reported as traumatic deaths.

- Fourteen were due to occupational disease, 13 of which were asbestosis.

Asbestosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos particles.

Saskatchewan was the first province to pass a bill that made it mandatory to report asbestos in public buildings, information which would be disclosed in a public registry.

Last year, people in a building leased by the government had to be evacuated after an asbestos scare.

That prompted advocates to point out a "loophole" in the registry, as private property owners aren't required to divulge information relating to asbestos in their buildings.