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Richmond, B.C., April 27, 2012 —Workers, employers, and families are gathering at Day of Mourning ceremonies across B.C. today and tomorrow to pay tribute to those who have died on the job.
Workplace incidents and illnesses claimed the lives of 142 workers last year. Of these, 51 deaths occurred due to diseases related to workplace asbestos exposure. A further 29 workers died in job-related motor vehicle incidents, and 14 died from falls. In 2011, WorkSafeBC also accepted 103,798 injury claims.
“We cannot forget that each of these numbers represents a real person,” says WorkSafeBC president and CEO Dave Anderson.
“These were people with hopes and dreams who wanted to do a good job and come home safely from work at the end of the day. Their loss is felt by their families, their workplaces, and their communities. We also cannot forget that many of these tragedies were preventable. That’s why we must all learn from them and work together to make our workplaces safer,” Anderson says.
“Today we gather to remember 142 people who tragically lost their lives on the job in B.C. Along with their families, friends, and co-workers we join together to remember, and to commit to doing even more to prevent these tragic workplace deaths from happening in the future,” said Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government.
The Canadian Labour Congress began the Day of Mourning tradition on April 28, 1984. Canada became the first country to formally observe the occasion when the federal government officially recognized the Day of Mourning in 1991. It has since been recognized provincially, municipally, and around the world.
Because April 28 falls on a Saturday this year, some communities and workplaces are marking the Day of Mourning today, in order to observe the event during traditional working hours.
Among today’s events, WorkSafeBC is hosting a memorial at 10:30 a.m. at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver, where the Olympic Cauldron will be lit. The ceremony will be webcast live on the WorkSafeBC website — WorkSafeBC.com — so that workers, employers, families and other interested people unable to take part in their local ceremonies can share in the proceedings.
People can also make dedications to fallen workers online at www.dayofmourning.bc.ca, a memorial website for families and friends to express their thoughts and condolences.
WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a board of directors that serves about 2.3 million workers and more than 200,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.’s workers and employers in 1917, where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.
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