Workplace Health and Safety: A Question of Balance

January 20, 2011 at 12:41 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday was the funeral of Toronto police office Sgt. Ryan Russell. Russell was killed in the early hours of January 12, 2011 when he was hit by a stolen snowplough.

Thousands lined the streets. Newspapers and media reported extensively on the proceedings. The Toronto District School Board even had a moment of silence.

Today at my workplace, there was an hour-long presentation on workplace health and safety. The stories the speaker told were heartbreaking. Young workers and old, people just trying to earn a buck ended up injured or killed. almost every day in Canada, people are killed on the job. In 2007,  the figure was over 1,000. Who knows how many are injured in the workplace? (the speaker at the presentation lost part of his arm in a workplace accident when he was 19) Every year in Canada, there is a Day of Mourning to remember those killed on the job. It barely rates a mention in the media.

It’s not a question of arguing who has lost more or who is a hero. A life is a life. And a worker killed on the job is a worker killed on the job. The charging of Russell’s accused killer with first-degree murder (which means he planned in advance to kill Russell) and canonization of Russell suggests otherwise.

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Further reading: Enzo Di Matteo of Now Magazine has an article  on  how Russell’s death has been situated in the media and elsewhere.

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1 Comment

  1. Construction Deaths « Notes from Underground said,

    […] letter below appeared in the October 14, 2011 edition of the Globe and Mail. I made a similar observation in January of this year, but this makes the point […]

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