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Day of Mourning remembers the 151 B.C. workers who died last year

It’s National Day of Mourning – a day to remember the lives lost or forever changed by workplace injury and illness in B.C. and across Canada.

Last year, 151 workers in B.C. lost their lives on the job.

In a joint statement, Premier John Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains say we must stand together, “offering our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and coworkers who lost someone close to them.”

“COVID-19 has pushed everyone in B.C. to improve occupational health and safety practices and reduce risks, but there are hazards in the workplace beyond the virus,” they say.

“This spring, we lost several workers in the span of a few short weeks because of traumatic injuries at their work. It was a sad reminder that we must always remain vigilant about health and safety in the workplace – every day, without exception.”

Back in March, multiple people died on the job on Vancouver Island: On March 16th, two Gabriola men were killed while pouring a home foundation; on March 15th, a 41-year-old Comox man was killed while working at a logging facility on Mount Connolly, near Port McNeill; and on March 1st, a 54-year-old Gold River man was killed while working in Tree Farm License 19.

READ MORE: Labour Minister ‘deeply saddened’ by recent workplace deaths

By law, Horgan and Bains say every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work, and employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their workers and taking the necessary precautions to protect them from hazards.

“In addition, WorkSafeBC remains focused on making sure COVID-19 safety plans are in place for every workplace, keeping people safe and businesses open during the pandemic,” they add.

“We want all workers to return home healthy and safe at the end of the day. Anything less is unacceptable. It’s vital that we remember the important lessons we have learned over the past year. This will help strengthen the safety of B.C.’s workplaces today and for years to come.”

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