Remembering lives lost on the job

day of mourning feature pictureTrent Ernst, Editor

April 28 will be the Day of Mourning, when workers across the country remember people who got sick or were injured or killed on the job.

In 2015, 122 people in BC were killed on the job, while 102,707 claims were filed due to workplace injuries. That’s more than 2,800 claims each and every week. 103 of those weekly claims are for long-term disability claims.

The most dangerous occupation remains General Construction, though this is partially due to the fact that it is has more workers than many other sectors.

Mining saw 11 work-related deaths, placing it in one of the top five most dangerous activities, behind Wood and paper products (15 deaths) and Transportation (13). It was tied with Public Administration, which also saw 11 deaths in 2015.

The number of people killed this year is down from a five year high last year, when 175 people were killed on the job.

Workplace injuries and illnesses resulted in nearly 2.6 million lost days of work across the province.

The most dangerous place for workers was the Greater Vancouver area, which saw 25 people killed on the job in 2015, though this is due to the region’s high population.

The Peace River Region had four work related deaths, which ties it with Kitimat–Stikine, Fraser–Cheam and Central Fraser Valley for the third most dangerous region to work in the province, behind the Columbia–Shuswap, with five work related deaths.

WorkSafeBC, the BC Federation of Labour, and the Business Council of British Columbia will co-host a ceremony at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Jack Poole Plaza, where the Line of Work dedication to British Columbia workers is located. The Olympic Cauldron will be re-ignited for the ceremony, as a sign of respect for fallen workers.

Across the country, 919 people were killed on the job in 2014 (statistics are not available for 2015.) In the last 20 years, 18,039 people have died, or an average of 918 deaths per year, and more than 2.5 deaths every single day.

One of the saddest statistics is the number of young workers killed on the job. Threads of life has created a LifeQuilt, a large quilt dedicated to the thousands of young people under the age of 24 who have been killed or injured on the job. The quilt is comprised 100 squares, each one dedicated to a young person killed while on the job.

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