A National Day of Mourning, remembering those that lost their lives due to a workplace injury or illness is happening tomorrow in Grande Prairie.
Spencer Beach, an international advocate of workplace safety is also going to be speaking at the event. Grande Prairie and Area Safe Communities Executive Director Cindy Blinston says she’s very grateful to have Beach speak as part of the schedule tomorrow.
“He’s going to speak at noon, following the ceremony for about an hour-long presentation. He will also be available for questions afterward. His story is definitely thought-provoking and inspiring at the same time,” she says.
Even though progress has been made, Blinston is adamant that workplace-related injuries and deaths are still an issue.
“In our view, even one workplace-related death is too many. In 2021, Alberta statistics show that we lost 178 lives in workplaces. The ripple effect of those losses goes well beyond just affecting those 178 people,” she says.
“For Safe Communities, we do a lot of education with youth and are trying to create a safety mindset throughout life. The Grande Prairie Regional Safety Committee is an organization that is working with high schools to talk about safety careers with youth and promote that as much as possible,” she explains.
“We also offer a program for young farmworkers, which we developed a couple of years ago. We want to provide youth just starting out on farms with more information on preventing injuries and also being aware of the hazards around them.”
Blinston says it is important for people to think about their workplace environment and never be afraid to communicate.
“If you don’t really know how to do something, ask. Every one of us has a responsibility to ask questions and be aware of any potential hazards. Employers also need to remind themselves that new people entering the workplace don’t know what they know. We need to check-in and make sure that we are providing the appropriate training,” she adds.
The memorial ceremony begins at 10:45 a.m. in the memorial garden at Safety City on Thursday with a moment of silence at 11 a.m. Some snacks and refreshments will be served, followed by Beach’s Safety Matters presentation afterward. His presentation is free to watch, but people are asked to register online at Eventbrite prior to the event.
All of it happens at 10318 92 Street in Grande Prairie.