The City of Lloydminster proclaimed April 28 the Day of Mourning for those who have died or been injured due to work related accidents. Flags were lowered to half mast at city hall and there was a moment of silence to show respect for people who have been lost on the job.
During a speech at city hall, Mayor Rob Saunders said this was a day to stop, reflect and remember. Last year, 39 men and women in Saskatchewan as well as 169 in Alberta lost their lives from workplace illnesses or injuries.
“While we take time to remember these individuals and their families, it is important to remember that those lives will not be lost in vain,” he said. “By bringing people together, relevant groups, organizations and individuals, we can all help to make our workplace a safer and rewarding environment.
Safety in the workplace is not the responsibility of one individual, but the culmination of everyone’s efforts.”
Saunders said safety is the top priority in city operations, a day-to-day practice, and something that’s “always on our minds with every task we take on.” The city has a full-time safety manager, Megan Coulture, who works with every department, co-ordinating all of the training for city employees.
“So it’s something that we live and breathe every day and it’s part of our working lives. We just want to protect each other so we all go home safe at the end of the day,” said Saunders.
After the Day of Mourning proclamation there was a pre-registry for the Steps for Life event that raises funds for the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support. The five-kilometre annual walk takes place on May 3 at Bud Miller All Seasons Park.
Saunders says Steps for Life really hits home because it sends the message that people impacted by workplace injury or illness are regular people like everyone else.
“A lot of the people that we see that have lost their lives or have derived illnesses or injury are young people and it’s very sad to see young people end their lives so soon. It just reminds us that we really do need to look after each other.”
Jennifer Keach, chairperson for the Lakeland Regional Safety Committee, said it’s good to be partnered with the city because it helps ingrain the message of safety within the community.
“It’s great because having the City of Lloydminster partner with us in the Day of Mourning means that they believe in it,” she said. “The more people that you can get to be on board and buy into the safety itself, it becomes a culture at that point and then you don’t have to worry about changing behaviour, if that’s the culture already established.”
Both Steps for Life and the Day of Mourning are part of the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week, which holds events and activities that promote awareness to health and safety in the workplace across all industries.