'One too many': Wife of Nova Scotia worker killed on job site speaks out on National Day of Mourning
“One illness to live with, one injury to endure or, most of all, one life taken, is one too many,” Vicki Dickson said Thursday at Province House.
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On March 10, 2011, Kevin Dickson woke up, got dressed, kissed his wife, told her he loved her, and left for work.
He never got to go through that routine again.
Vicki Dickson, speaking Thursday at the National Day of Mourning ceremony at Province House, said she doesn’t want anyone else going through what her husband experienced on that fateful day.
He was killed working on a construction site near Timberlea, when a steel plate he was loading onto a truck broke free of a chain supporting it and collapsed a pole, which hit him in the head. It was the incorrect chain to use and the pole, made by the company he worked for, was found to have cracks and other faults that made it weak.
“Kevin was a man who didn’t go anywhere on the job site without wearing his hard hat; he was a safety conscious person,” said Dickson.
“He nor any other employees were ever trained in the proper way of lifting or rigging. He was doing what he had always done,” she said.
Dickson stood in front of 27 Nova Scotian flags, one for each worker killed on the job in 2015.
Her husband’s employer was fined $75,000 for Dickson’s death, which she compared to “a slap on the wrist” in relation to what happened to her husband.
“One illness to live with, one injury to endure or, most of all, one life taken, is one too many,” she said, “but until employers are required to be more diligent in regards to safety, and fines are increased so much that they become a deterrent, or even a possibility of a jail term, these incidents will continue to happen.”
Bill C-45, also known as the Westray Bill, enacted in 2004, made it possible to hold employers criminally responsible for workplace related injuries and deaths.
Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, said at the ceremony the law isn’t being used nearly enough, with only two charges laid under it.
“It’s time for the negligent employers, directors and executives to be held criminally accountable for serious injuries and deaths of workers,” he said.
Unions call on government to help Canadians on the job "breathe easier"
Unions across Canada called for a ban on all asbestos products as part of this year’s National Day of Mourning.
Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, spoke at the local ceremony Thursday at Province House, and said exposure to asbestos causes more than 2,000 deaths per year.
He said although some advances have been made in eliminating the use of asbestos, such as the Canadian government’s ban on its use in government projects, the overall import of products containing asbestos is on the rise.
“We call on all politicians to lobby and push the feds to work to implement a comprehensive ban on asbestos so we can all breathe easier,” said Cavanagh.