Day of Mourning marked in Red Deer

A sombre crowd took time to remember those who lost their lives or were injured on the job on the National Day of Mourning at City Hall on Thursday.

A sombre crowd took time to remember those who lost their lives or were injured on the job on the National Day of Mourning at City Hall on Thursday.

No doubt the death of the worker who was killed on the Nova Chemical’s Joffre site was foremost on everyone’s mind. It was the first workplace fatality at the petrochemical plant in nearly 40 years.

Ryan Hawley, Parkland Regional Safety Committee chairman, said it was incredibly unfortunate when you look at how safety is part of the culture at Joffre.

“It was their first accident in over 30 years,” said Hawley. “It’s incredibly sad. That’s the place where if there is a safety culture, they have it. Hopefully they can find out why it happened and stop it from ever happening again.”

As is a regional arm of the Alberta Construction Association, the committee provides education and training about safety throughout Central Alberta. It is made up of local volunteers from Central Alberta trade and construction associations and the Worker Compensation Board. It works with employers, workers and schools to promote health and safety.

Hawley said they are starting to see more companies embrace a safety culture where it is not just having a policy and procedures in place but having the attitude that if something is not right, it will be reported without fear of repercussions.

He said this starts at a young age where youth are taught about safety from a behaviour sense in the schools.

“We work with high school kids so that by the time they get into the apprenticeship programs safety is just normal,” said Hawley. “And when the boss is looking the other way, they don’t know anything else but to behave safely.”

The crowd heard that last year there were 125 fatalities in Alberta, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board. There were more than 900 workplace-related fatalities across Canada in 2014.

Dan Trottier of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering Central Alberta chapter said it is a stark reminder of the fragility of life. He said the statistics continue to reinforce the needs to be vigilant and ensure all come home safely at the end of the work day.

Safety is becoming more of a priority with companies and people want to work for companies that do, said Dan MacLennan, executive director of the Alberta Construction Safety Association.

“This week we saw some tragic deaths and there is a ripple effect with everyone who is affected and it goes and goes,” said MacLennan. “People want to be safe at work. We talked to people today who are losing their jobs … There is no excuse for not having the highest safety standards … There is never an excuse to endanger others.”

Labour Minister Christina Gray said every worker has the right to a safe, fair workplace and to come home safely at the end of the day.

“I believe employers, workers, labour groups, industry organizations and government all have a responsibility to make that happen,” she said. “The Alberta government is working to improve health and safety on all job sites. We will continue to make sure employers are taking all necessary precautions to keep workers safe.”

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety and police are investigating the death at Nova Chemicals.

Just Posted

Former Red Deer teacher gets six-year prison sentence for child sexual exploitation

Norman Joseph Howes pleads guilty to three charges against 11-year-old

Central Alberta ranchers reeling from China’s beef ban

Disappointed beef is caught up in latest trade dispute

Red Deer Public School District doesn’t expect funding ‘doom and gloom’

Red Deer Public School administrators aren’t panicking over possible education budget cuts… Continue reading

Busts lead to four arrests, $130,000 of drugs and cash seized

Community is safer without drugs and guns on the street: Police inspector

Goalie Roberto Luongo retires after 19 NHL seasons

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida goalie Roberto Luongo has decided to retire after… Continue reading

Europe, you’re up! Yankees top Blue Jays 8-7, head to London

Yankees 8 Blues Jays 7 NEW YORK — Buckingham Palace and Westminster… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake spending $2 million to upgrade busy intersection

The intersection at Erickson Drive and Hwy 20 will see improvements this construction season

Longtime volunteer recognized at Mayor’s Garden Party

Sue Barthel was the honorary senior recognized at the annual Mayor’s Garden… Continue reading

Maskwacis youth found dead on reserve

The remains of 16 year old Houston Omeasoo found

Duncan announces $30 million to promote safety and inclusiveness in sport

TORONTO — The federal government is investing $30 million over five years… Continue reading

Raptors president Ujiri addresses rare off-court issues during NBA title run

TORONTO — Even a championship can come with hiccups. Toronto Raptors president… Continue reading

Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mouse that roared was heard. Months after workers… Continue reading

Most Read