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The Day of Mourning is held across the country every year to commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. Organizer Mark Gaehring says the event started in this city when six survivors met in the rain six years ago to remember and honour their loved ones.

Gaehring says B.C. lost 142 workers last year, 71 from exposure and 71 from accidents, numbers he calls “horrific”. Six of those were from the Peace Region.

“Up here with all our oil and gas, we really do have to think that there are going to be health problems over the exposure to gases and chemicals,” he argues. “Everyone deserves to go home at the end of the day.”

However, some numbers are improving, as Gaehring points out the number of deaths of workers under 25 years old has dropped. That’s why having a specific day for the nation to recognize the work-related deaths is so important.

“It’s all a matter of making that young worker aware of the dangers on the job,” he says. “They’re always eager and we have to hold them back.”

He says it’s about reaffirming the commitment to workplace safety.

Fort St. John’s Day of Mourning will take place Saturday, April 28 at 11 a.m. at Centennial park.

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