B.C. mill deaths resonate on annual day of mourning
Published Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:36PM EDT
Days after a deadly explosion at a B.C. sawmill, labour groups are marking an annual day of mourning for workers injured or killed on the job.
In a prepared statement, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress has offered his condolences to the union that represents the two fallen mill workers in Prince George.
"The deaths and injuries at Lakeland Mills in Prince George… are heartbreaking for you, your members, and indeed, for the entire labour movement," he said in the note.
The two employees -- both men in their 40s -- died after a sudden explosion triggered a massive fire that tore through Lakeland Mills. Investigators haven't pinpointed the cause of the blast, but are looking at whether the presence of combustible sawdust was a factor.
The incident is the second deadly explosion at a B.C. sawmill this year, and has prompted the province to announce all sawmills will now be inspected for safety.
Meanwhile, labour groups across Canada are remembering the men who lost their lives that day, along with other workers who have died or have been injured on the job.
In a statement issued Saturday, Liberal labour critic Rodger Cuzner called on employers to ensure workers have access to safe equipment and thorough training.
"Our workplaces above all else must be environments that foster safety for its workers, no matter the industry," he said.
According to Cuzner, at least three Canadians are killed on the job every day and thousands more sustain some type of injury.
Events are being held across Canada to mark the National Day of Mourning for Workers Injured or Killed on the Job. These include:
- Carbonear, N.L.: Wreath laying ceremony at council chambers to memorialize employees who have died at work
- Cranbrook, B.C.: An educational day will be held at the College of the Rockies. Seminars include stress in the workplace, planning for retirement, and young worker education.
- Edmonton, Alta.: Officials will unveil a monument created to honour workers who have been killed or injured on the job.
- Hamilton, Ont.: A moment of silence and wreath laying ceremony has been planned at City Hall. If weather permits, a procession might also take place.