Day of Mourning for workers in Kelowna
There was a moment of silence at Rutland's Ben Lee Park on Friday afternoon to remember BC's fallen workers.
About 100 people gathered for a ceremony to honour the memory of people who have died on the job, as labour groups hold events around the province to observe a Day of Mourning.
The North Okanagan Labour Council says this week's deadly sawmill explosion in Prince George is reminder of why BC needs safe places to work.
"No worker should have to go to work and possibly lose their life," says Council president Carole Gordon.
Last year alone, 142 British Columbians were killed as a result of a workplace injury or hazard.
At least 6 of those people lived and worked in the Okanagan.
The message stressed at Friday's event was that communication is key when it comes to making workplaces safer.
Workers who aren't killed when accidents happen on the job are often left with serious injuries.
27-year old Jessica Vliegenthart of Kamloops is one of those workers.
She lost the use of her legs in 2004, while on a summer job fighting wildfires in the Northwest Territories.
Vliegenthart was thrown from the pick-up truck she was riding in when the driver lost control and crashed.
"If we make it (safety) a conversation, then close calls will be talked about, safety practises will be openly discussed and things will be changed before a tragedy happens, so we're going left going 'what happened?'"
Vliegenthart, who is now studying law in Victoria, is an advocate for workplace safety and travels the province to tell the story of her life-changing accident and recovery.
A new bench, complete with plaque, near Ben Lee Park's south entrance was unveiled at the ceremony and will serve as a memorial to workers who have died or been injured.
Labour groups across BC are observing an annual Day of Mourning.