Rio Tinto lowered the flags to half-mast this morning in recognition of National Day of Mourning on April 28. (Facebook photo)

District, local unions pay respects to fallen workers for National Day of Mourning

In 2019, 140 people in B.C. died from a workplace injury or disease

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic the District and a number of local unions want workers to know the daily risks they take on the job do not go unnoticed.

In a joint statement with UNIFOR Local 2300 the District acknowledged the challenges in the context of workplace safety presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by the virus, and we have used this time to evaluate our way of doing things and to ensure our employees are protected from the risk of transmission in the workplace,” the statement reads. “We all have a responsibility to keep our workplaces safe and ensure that everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.”

Similarly, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 1304 said the day was a chance to renew their committment to workplace safety.

READ MORE: B.C. communities mark National Day of Mourning

“The firefighter/paramedics employed by the District of Kitimat are committed to providing safe and appropriate care to all residents of this community, and in doing so, may sometimes find themselve s in situations of higher risk,” the release notes. “Over the years the parties have worked together to ensure that staff are sufficiently trained, that safe work practises [and] procedures are implemented and followed and that a culture of health and safety is at the forefront of everything we do.”

The group also said the day was a chance to strengthen the relationship they have built between employees by engaging them in conversations on things like teamwork and cohesiveness in the workplace.

“We especially recognize all employees who are safety representatives, who research and develop safety initiatives, who train new employees and who participate in incident investigations. Your leadership and commitment to health and safety within our organization does not go unnoticed.”

A number of local companies also took initiatives to honour the day and workers lost over the years. Rio Tinto lowered the flags at its Plant Protection site to half-mast in recognition of the day, while JGC Fluor BC LNG Joint Venture (JFJV) shut down all equipment at their site for two minutes at 10:30 a.m. in a moment of silence.

The National Day of Mourning is observed in Canada every year on 28 April to commemmorate people who have been killed in the workplace or through occupational hazards.
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