A day to remember those lost to workplace accidents
To the Expositor:
The National Day of Mourning is the one day a year we gather together to remember and honour all those impacted by workplace tragedies.
All workers who have been killed on the job or suffered life altering injuries or occupational diseases have written history for us in the hopes that we have learned from their losses. Their losses have brought about changes in laws and policies and procedures, making our workplaces a safer place.
While our awareness of these losses is heightened at this time, we must remember those impacted with workplace losses, who live everyday with the rippling effect of these tragedies. Their lives have been forever changed.
The lives of all family members associated with the individual either killed or injured on the job have been shattered, fragmented and injected with insecurities, often including financial worries.
Unknown to many is the emotional warfare that takes place; the depression, the indecisiveness, a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, being misunderstood and a feeling of being very alone. They need much support from family and friends as they travel this forever journey of uncharted waters.
If we have learned anything from reviewing past incidents, we know taking preventative steps is crucial to maintaining optimum quality of life.
Remember laws, policies and procedures and personal protective equipment are put in place to save your life, not to cause undue frustrations.
Know your rights as a worker. You have the right to refuse unsafe work. Report near misses as they are a workplace tragedy waiting to happen. The life you save may be your own. You are not replaceable. The cost of a job should not be your life. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety. As the poem states: “I could have saved a life that day, but I chose to look the other way.”
I belong to The Threads of Life, a national, charitable organization that supports 3,200 family members that have been impacted by workplace tragedies. We have an annual walk the first weekend in May, The Steps for Life Walk. We are walking in 28 cities across Canada. We walk in memory and honor of those impacted by workplace tragedies. For more information about our organization, please go to www.threadsoflife.ca
We need to lengthen our stride to prevention. We cannot afford to miss a step; a step in time saves lives.
I am remembering my son Brent Wade killed on the job on November 9,1999.
On this day, light your own candle in honour and reflection of the thousands of lives forever changed.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those living with the effects of workplace tragedies. They are forever in our hearts.