Sunday, April 28, 2019 was the National Day of Mourning, and the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver was lit to mark the day. Deceased workplace accident victims were honoured in memorial services across the province. Hundreds of surviving family members, workers and union leaders paid tribute to victims who succumbed to work-related injuries or illnesses.
According to WorkSafeBC, 131 workers lost their lives in 2018. While this is 27 fewer deaths than in 2017, authorities say more needs to be done to improve occupational safety. Harry Bains, the B.C. Minister of Labour, said workplace safety should be the first priority of employers and employees.
Survivors of workplace injuries shared their stories at various locations where people gathered on the Day of Mourning. One of them was a bus driver who told mourners of an incident in which he was attacked while driving, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries. Miraculously, no passengers or pedestrians were killed when he lost control of the bus, travelled over sidewalks and smashed into a building.
Working is a part of the lives of almost every British Columbian, and all work environments should be safe enough to allow everybody to return home safely at the end of each day. Anyone who is injured in a work accident or surviving family members of those who died in on-the-job accidents can seek financial assistance through BC's workers' compensation insurance program. Legal counsel can advise on injury claims and help to simplify the often complicated benefits process.