Ceremonies Across B.C. Remember Workers

RICHMOND, BC, April 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, thousands of workers, families, employers and union members are remembering those who lost their lives on the job with ceremonies across British Columbia. In 2015, there were 122 work-related deaths in B.C. Of those, 72 were due to occupational disease, mainly from exposure to asbestos decades ago and 50 resulted from traumatic injury including nine from motor vehicle incidents (MVIs).

Gerry Salmon, a WorkSafeBC Prevention Officer died in a Motor Vehicle Incident in 1982 on his way to present a safety talk in Creston B.C. His daughter, Mary-Jaye Salmon, a current WorkSafeBC Prevention Officer, will recount her family's story at today's commemorative ceremony at Jack Poole Plaza jointly hosted by the BC Federation of Labour, the Business Council of British Columbia and WorkSafeBC.

In 2015, the highest numbers of work-related deaths by industry sector were in construction (29), manufacturing (27), service (18), primary resources sectors (16) and transportation and related industries (13). Work-related deaths from occupational disease increased from 38 percent of all deaths in 2006 to 59 percent in 2015; while traumatic injury deaths decreased from 62 percent of all work-related deaths in 2006 to 41 percent in 2015. No young workers died in B.C. last year, but in the four years previous to that, 16 young people died from their work.

Matthew Bowcott, seriously injured at work in his late teens, is also speaking at the Vancouver ceremony. A dramatic new video depicting the workplace incident that changed his life will be launched today in more than 100 high schools across the province as part of the B.C. Day of Mourning Schools Project, which is a joint partnership of the B.C. Labour Heritage Centre, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the B.C. Teachers' Federation and WorkSafeBC.

The work-related death rate in 2015 for all deaths has decreased by more than 40 percent when compared with the rate of all work-related deaths in 1996 in B.C.


Mary-Jaye Salmon, daughter of fatally injured worker Gerry Salmon:

"I know first-hand what it feels like to get that knock on the door, and to be given the worst imaginable news. Since becoming a WorkSafeBC officer I've dealt with 13 fatalities and each one took me back to my loss. In a split second, everything changes."

John Beckett, Chair, WorkSafeBC Board of Directors:

"Work-related traumatic deaths have been on the decline in our province and in our country, and we have a provincial injury rate at the historic low of 2.23. But one death is one too many. Today, occupational disease remains the single leading cause of work-related deaths. We can and must do everything we can to prevent traumatic and occupational disease fatalities from happening today and into the future."

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour:

"We pause on the national Day of Mourning to honour those whose lives were tragically cut short or changed forever by injury in the workplace. No words can adequately capture the impact of this kind of loss on families, co-workers and communities. We must all work together to build a culture of safety that makes workplace tragedies a thing of the past, and ensure everyone goes home to their families safely at the end of the work day."

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors that serves 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 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.

The Matthew Bowcott Story  https://filetransfer.worksafebc.com/download?domain=worksafebc.com&id=92ed65ccf2b84377b2d5115ab05735d4-0d22ac8779ca40268e104133fc7fe9d5



Video with caption: "The Matthew Bowcott Story". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20160428_C4630_VIDEO_EN_677062.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20160428_C4630_PHOTO_EN_677062.jpg&order=1&jdd=20160428&cnum=C4630

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2016/04/28/20160428_C4630_PDF_EN_677026.pdf

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2016/04/28/20160428_C4630_PDF_EN_677029.pdf

For further information: Media Inquiries: Trish Knight Chernecki, Senior Manager, Media Relations, WorkSafeBC, trish.chernecki@worksafebc.com, Tel: 604 232-5814, Cell: 778 871-5841


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