Bill Routley and Ellen Oxman pay their respects at Lake Cowichan’s Forest Workers’ Memorial Park.

Bill Routley and Ellen Oxman pay their respects at Lake Cowichan’s Forest Workers’ Memorial Park.

National Day of Mourning – tough lesson in job safety

Cowichan Lake residents gathered at the Forest Workers’ Memorial Park to remember

On Saturday April 28, Cowichan Lake residents gathered at the Forest Workers’ Memorial Park to remember those who have lost their lives, or who were injured in work place environments.

There were approximately 70 people who attended the event. Speeches were given by WCB representative, Bob Smits, Lisa Arlint who lost a family member due to a work place accident, and Cowichan Valley M.L.A. Bill Routley.

Routley says that Lake Cowichan was an important place to acknowledge and respect those who have lost their lives or been injured on the job because it is the industrial heart of the area. He says that this year it is especially important to make companies and employees aware of safety issues especially in light of the recent tragedies in Burns Lake and Prince George.

Routley pointed out that it is up to management and employees to be aware of dangers within a workplace environment, and that the blame cannot fall on the equipment itself. “Workers need to be more careful,” he said. “They are not robots, and they need to help prevent workplace accidents.”

He also says that the official opposition in B.C. is frustrated that the provincial government did not immediately order a stop work, especially since the Prince George accident was a “double boom” incident. “The mills have been shut down now, but it had to happen twice before any action was taken.”

Routley says it is important to remember the people that have been injured or who have lost their lives and not get caught up in the statistics. However, he did point out that last year there were 143 work place accidents.