02/13/2012 01:58 EST | Updated 04/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia labour minister voices concern about workplace deaths

HALIFAX - Labour Minister Marilyn More says she is concerned about the number of workplace deaths that have happened in Nova Scotia so far this year.

There have been seven deaths in a little more than a month, which the government says is a cause for concern because between 2007 and 2011, an average of 25 workers died on the job.

The deaths this year include two trucker drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents, two fishermen who drowned, a farm worker who was killed by a falling tree and a worker who was crushed underneath equipment he was cleaning.

All of those cases are under investigation.

The government says a shipyard worker also had a fatal heart attack.

What's also different about this year is that almost half of all workplace deaths in recent years have been the result of chronic illnesses.

So far this year, only one death is the result of an illness.

More is asking employers and workers to consider the risks they face on the job.

"This is a tragic start to 2012 and all of us must take immediate action to avoid further injuries, illnesses and deaths in our workplaces," she said in a statement Monday.