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New Film Highlights Workplace Tragedies

New Film Highlights Workplace Tragedies

A new film seeks to explore the impact of workplace accidents in construction in a deep and meaningful way.

Many workers and employers across Canada are aware of the impact workplace injuries can have on people’s lives and the danger is well known throughout the construction industry given the high rate of injuries on building sites.

As Canadians joined in the International Day of Mourning to raise awareness about safety and commemorate workers and families impacted by workplace accidents, a new documentary aims to drive home the message.

Commissioned by the Christian Labour Association of Canada, Before Days End aims to go beyond usual dos and don’ts and challenge its audience to reflect upon and engage with the topic at a deeper level.

Chronicling details of five separate real-life incidents, the film provides first-hand accounts from victims and their families.

“The lift that he was on can become confusing,” explains Dave Gerber in the film.

Gerber’s son Kyle, a construction worker, became incapacitated due to a workplace injury and eventually died in 2008 at the age of 25.

“Once its rotated 180 degrees the forward control is reverse and the reverse control is forward,” Gerber says. “

I believe that he got into a situation where he was more than 180 degrees around, and he was in between some roof trusses in some close tolerances and I believe he pushed the lever to go forward and it went backwards and pinned him. I think it would have been rather sudden and firm. In other words I think it would’ve knocked the wind right out of him.”

workplace accident

Image Source: CTV News

Gerber does not believe it took long for his son to become incapacitated and suffocate. While his workmates brought him down as quickly as they could, they were too late and Kyle went too long without oxygen.

“I never had a meaningful conversation with him after the twelfth (day of accident),” Gerber says.

“I had a conversation with him, he didn’t respond, at all. As time went by it became more evident that he wasn’t going to recover.”

Mike Fryer, US Navy safety specialist at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, says the film hits hard, and that despite having seen a large number of safety videos, this was the first time he and six of his colleagues who watched the film together were emotionally impacted.

In addition to personal accounts, the film includes a number of sobering facts. It says there are more than 200 construction-related deaths in Canada each year – almost one per day according to Association of Worker’s Compensation Board of Canada figures. The film also notes that in 2010, the industry accounted for more than one in 10 (26,924) of the almost 250,000 time loss workplace injuries and that on average, 26 workers under the age of 30 lose their lives on building sites each year.

The CLAC hopes the film will not only remind workers and employers not only to become conscious of daily blessings but also the importance of exercising extreme care on the job.

“To all workers out there in high risk jobs: Slow down. Trust your gut. And get home safe,” the film concludes.

By Andrew Heaton
Top Image Source: Mac Building Group

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