Okanagan Traffic Control Professionals owner Traci Jeeves laments the loss of friend and former employee Belle Bourroughs to a workplace accident, while paying respect to all those who have been killed or injured on the job during Salmon Arm’s Day of Mourning ceremony held Friday morning, April 27 at Marine Park. The National Day of Mourning, held April 28, commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Editorial: Eliminate need for Day of Mourning

It is crucial to remain vigilant in ensuring that workers are protected from injury

Life can change in an instant.

Although it’s often true that little can be done in that instant, much can be done beforehand.

This year, a Day of Mourning service was held in many communities in B.C. and across Canada to remember workers killed on the job.

Also remembered are those who have been injured or became ill on the job or because of a work-related accident.

In the Shuswap over the past few years, we have heard the names of Grant De Patie, who was killed on the job at a Lower Mainland service station but whose family lives in the Shuswap; Shane Gorner, who died in an industrial accident in Salmon Arm; Devon Smith, who was injured but survived an accident fixing fences on a family farm near Enderby; and Belle Bourroughs, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while flagging in Lavington.

These tragic losses cannot be measured in words.

As well as fatalities, nearly 250,000 claims were accepted by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease. But these statistics don’t portray the number of people’s lives forever affected by these tragedies – the lives of families, friends and co-workers.

As the world of business speeds up and the value of individual human beings, interactions and connections appears to become less important, it is even more crucial to remain vigilant in ensuring that workers are protected from injury. Often it is the poor and already marginalized who become the victims of cost-cutting.

States the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety:

“It is the hope… that the annual observance of this day will help strengthen the resolve to establish safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, and prevent further injuries and deaths. As much as this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a call to protect the living and make work a place to thrive.”

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