April 28 has been designated the national Day of Mourning, a time when we all come together to remember those who have lost their lives due to work-related incidents or occupational diseases. Last year 158 workers died as a result of their work.
Sadly, in a recent three-week period alone, 11 more workers in British Columbia died while at work. These deaths are not isolated to a specific industry or workplace; they happened in construction, forestry, marine, tourism, and transportation — and in locations throughout the province:
|March 22||In Burnaby, a worker struck by a falling excavator bucket|
|March 25||In Penticton, a roofer died as the result of a fall|
|March 26||In Quesnel, two logging trucks collided on a highway|
|March 28||In North Vancouver, a worker fell at a construction site|
|March 28||In Whistler, a ski guide was buried in an avalance while guiding a heli-skiing group|
|March 30||In Vancouver, a worker was found unconscious and later died in hospital|
|April 2||In Port Alice, a worker at a logging camp was found deceased at the worksite|
|April 3||In Golden, a worker for railway company was found deceased in a vacuum truck|
|April 6||In New Westminster, a worker was struck by vehicle in a freight/container yard|
|April 9||In Elkford, a worker died when equipment rolled into water|
|April 9||In Prince Rupert, a worker suffered a suspected cardiovascular event after a fishing boat capsized|
While it is too early for us to know the exact circumstances of each of these deaths, we want to remind employers of their responsibility for the health and safety of their workers.
Employers have an obligation to comply with Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the Workers Compensation Act of British Columbia. This means that workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. They have the right to be properly trained, and the right to refuse unsafe work. But it’s more than a legal obligation. It’s the right thing to do. You owe it to your workers to ensure they go home to their families, friends, and loved ones healthy and safe at the end of the day.
We ask all employers to stay focused and to prioritize workplace safety. We also encourage you to honour those who have died by taking part in a Day of Mourning event in your region. For more information about this year’s Day of Mourning events, visit dayofmourning.bc.ca. For more information about creating a safe and healthy workplace, visit worksafebc.com.