In 2016, 144 people in B.C. died from work-related diseases and traumatic injuries.
Those lives were remembered at a Day of Mourning ceremony held in Nanaimo’s Pioneer Waterfront Plaza at noon Friday. It was one of 30 such observances held in communities across British Columbia.
About 60 representatives from labour organizations, unions, political parties, emergency services workers and people who had lost friends and family members, turned out to share their stories, such as the loss of a father, expressed by Don MacFadgen, WorkSafe B.C. supervisor of prevention field services.
“Like some of my colleagues at WorkSafe, I have a family history,” MacFadgen said. “My father passed away in a mining rescue accident 44 years ago, when I was seven years of age, and one of the things that I think informed my career choice was just knowing the impact that … a loss has on a family even to this day.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of WorkSafe B.C., formerly known as the Workers Compensation Board of B.C.
MacFadgen said young workers continue to be at highest risk for death or injuries on the job.
Chantel O’Neill, of the Canadian Labour Congress, also recognized the approaching 25th anniversary of the Westray Mine explosions that killed 26 workers in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992 and admonished the federal government to ensure the laws that arose from the investigation into the mine disaster be enforced.
About 1,000 workers are killed on the job across Canada annually.