Monday (April 29) is the National Day of Mourning and the District of Mission held a brief ceremony to remember and honour those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.
The ceremony, and others like it held around the province, allow people, companies and governments to renew their commitment to creating healthy and safe workplaces.
The Mission ceremony, which took place at the public works facility, included remarks from Mayor Pam Alexis, Harminder Gill representing CUPE 1267, Captain Nick Rychkun of the Mission Fire Rescue Service and others.
One speaker, Mission resident Mark Johnson, shared his personal story of being injured while on the job.
“This is a very important day. I wish that we didn’t have to have this day.” Johnson told the crowd.
However, he said things happen at the work site and people do get hurt, or killed.
“When I was 21-years-old I was pulled into a conveyor belt at a saw mill. My arm snapped in half, wrapped around a machine… I have no use of my left arm. It just hangs here.
“Do you know how many hours you spend over and over and over just thinking what if? What if? What if?”
He said you constantly wonder what would have happened if you did something differently. However, it’s too late.
‘Sometimes you don’t get to come back from your mistakes. People say ‘everybody gets a second chance.’ No. Not everybody gets a second chance. I got a second chance at life, I was very lucky to not die … I don’t get a second chance at a left arm.”
Johnson now speaks at schools, work places, colleges and universities to share his story and try to get people to think about safety.
He said no matter what your job –from fire fighter to office worker – you can encounter an unsafe working condition.
“It doesn’t matter what your job is, you have the right to refuse unsafe work.”
Johnson said no company or job is more important than people.