National Workers Day of Mourning
Prince George, B.C. – Today is the National Day of Mourning for workers who died either on the job, or as a result of injuries sustained in the workplace.
Ceremonies to mark the day are planned for most cities in across the nation, including Prince George, where a memorial service will be held at noon at the Workers Memorial on Queensway at the foot of Connaught Hill.
Last year, there were 122 work related deaths in B.C., Seventy two of those deaths were the result of occupational disease, mainly exposure to asbestos from decades ago. 50 deaths were from traumatic injury including nine from motor vehicle incidents.
In 2015, the highest numbers of work-related deaths by industry sector were in construction (29), manufacturing (27), service (18), primary resources sectors (16) and transportation and related industries (13).
Work-related deaths from occupational disease increased from 38 percent of all deaths in 2006 to 59 percent in 2015; while traumatic injury deaths decreased from 62 percent of all work-related deaths in 2006 to 41 percent in 2015. No young workers died in B.C. last year, but in the four years previous to that, 16 young people died from their work.
“Work-related traumatic deaths have been on the decline in our province and in our country, and we have a provincial injury rate at the historic low of 2.23″ says John Beckett, Chair of the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors “But one death is one too many. Today, occupational disease remains the single leading cause of work-related deaths. We can and must do everything we can to prevent traumatic and occupational disease fatalities from happening today and into the future.”
A dramatic new video depicting the workplace incident that changed the life of Mathew Bowcott is to be launched today in more than 100 high schools across the province as part of the B.C. Day of Mourning Schools Project. In Prince George, Kelly road Secondary is the school taking part in the project. The project is a joint partnership of the B.C. Labour Heritage Centre, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and WorkSafeBC.
The video is below, and a warning, this video does contain some graphic images.
“We pause on the national Day of Mourning to honour those whose lives were tragically cut short or changed forever by injury in the workplace” says Minister of Jobs Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley Bond “No words can adequately capture the impact of this kind of loss on families, co-workers and communities. We must all work together to build a culture of safety that makes workplace tragedies a thing of the past, and ensure everyone goes home to their families safely at the end of the work day.”