‘We need to start paying attention to these deaths’: Day of Mourning ceremony hears

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By Emily Kitagawa for Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - As the sun cast morning shadows on Sunday, about 100 people gathered outside Province House to remember those who were injured or killed on the job.

About 100 people gathered outside Province House on Sunday to remember those who were injured or killed on the job.

Paulette Raymond, who lost her brother to a workplace accident, was among those who spoke at the annual Day of Mourning ceremony.

With tears in her eyes, she recounted how her brother, Tommy Raymond, was crushed under a tractor-trailer in 2009 while working at a Halifax container pier.

“[The day of mourning is] an extremely sad place to come but if speaking about his death will just help one person go to work the next day and maybe work a little safer, that’s my goal,” said Raymond after the event.

As Raymond spoke to the crowd, behind her 32 small Nova Scotia flags fluttered in the wind. The flags represented the 32 people who died in 2012 on the job in Nova Scotia—an increase from the 27 deaths the year before.

In light of those numbers, Raymond doesn’t think much has changed in terms of workplace safety since her brother’s death. She said her brother’s old workplace has implemented a few new safety procedures, but “it doesn’t make us miss him any less.”

“We need to start paying attention to these deaths,” she added.

She believes workplace safety needs to be addressed in the school system, as kids hunt for their first part-time jobs.

“We need to reach those kids … and have them grow up to be the adults that are in turn going to work safely and teach everyone around them to do the same.”

Behind the ceremony, a construction crew and a crane were hard at work. Leonard Preyra, MLA for Halifax-Citadel and Sable Island, spoke to the crowd on behalf of Premier Darrell Dexter and remarked of the backdrop.

“It’s just striking to see them … working out here under conditions that I guess for them would be relatively safe but to me looks pretty dangerous,” he said.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, Sable Island

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