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Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.


Day of Mourning honours workers who died, were injured or became ill on the job
On April 28, we remember those who have died, were injured or became ill at work. The Day of Mourning offers employees and employers a chance to publicly renew their commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace. 

Day of Mourning ceremonies were held across the province. In Halifax, the event was held at Province House. The speakers included Tony Tracy from the Canadian Labour Congress, Danny Cavanagh, President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, and Stuart MacLean, WCB Nova Scotia CEO. 

“The human impact of workplace injury in our province remains unacceptable,” said MacLean. “While it is true that fewer people are hurt, and fewer people die at work in an average year today than decades ago, there can never be any acceptable number of fatalities. 

“Each fatality is a human story – of loss, of tragedy, of heartache. Each is a preventable death. Each is a person who should be here today, but is not, because something happened at a workplace.”

MacLean also introduced Charmaine Salter, a speaker from Threads of Life. Salter spoke passionately about her father, Ronald Garland, an electrician who died from lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The same cancer, Mesothelioma, has killed 48 Nova Scotians in the past 10 years. 

“When something goes wrong at work, and someone gets hurt, there isn’t always a sharp pain, or an explosion, or a hurricane at sea,” said MacLean. “Sometimes, tragedy strikes silently. It takes years to manifest, and when it does, it does so as occupational disease.”

The ceremony was organized by the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour to publicly acknowledge those affected by workplace tragedy. The Day of Mourning is commemorated across Canada and in more than 100 countries. 

In 2016, 20 workers in Nova Scotia lost their lives at work or because of work-related injuries, diseases or conditions.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Westray mining disaster. On May 9, 1992 in Plymouth, 26 men went to work and didn’t come home. Glenn Martin was one of them. His brother Allen spoke at the Halifax ceremony. 

“Think, live and preach safety as there is no job in the world worth your life. If it doesn’t look safe or feel safe, it’s not – get out of there,” said Mr. Martin. “All Glenn and those other young men wanted was to go to work, collect a pay cheque and come home.”

For more information on the Day of Mourning, and to hear Glenn Martin’s story, visit http://dayofmourning.ns.ca.

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