Canadian Occupational Safety

January/February 2021

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 16 of 47 17 doing and where we're going," says Hickman. In addition to this, the organization co-ordinates various events throughout the year, which bring together its members and raise awareness for the cause. National Virtual Family Forum Like many other organizations, Threads of Life has had to grapple with the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that two of its key events, Steps for Life and the Family Forums, have had to go virtual. This year, the National Virtual Family Forum took place from Oct. 17 to Nov. WORKPLACE DEATH AND INJURY STATISTICS (2018) Shirley Hickman, executive director, Threads of Life Source: Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) 21. Typically, the annual forum offers a place for families affected to share in their grief and support. Normally, the event has been held regionally, to allow for families to gather in person. This year was different. The virtual event instead allowed for several sessions on grief, loss, mental health, etc. to be held throughout the week. The centrepiece of the event was the incredibly moving opening ceremony, the Reflections Ceremony, where families affected by tragedy and loss honoured their loved ones. "It's very moving, it's very emotional, but it sets the tone. It's an opportunity for us to all come together, take off our day-to-day mask, as we would say, and honour the pain that's in our body and our heart," says Hickman. Participants lit candles, the ceremony hosted guest speakers from the health and safety community and the organizers did a presentation of photos and names of people affected by workplace losses, injuries and illnesses. More than70 families were honoured. COVID-19 will also have a huge impact on Threads of Life, says Hickman. Families will be impacted by effects and losses of COVID-19; on health-care workers, for example. Steps for Life Steps for Life started in 2005, with only around 50 or 60 people. In the last 15 years, the event has grown exponentially to include thousands of participants throughout Canada. "Steps for Life is an opportunity for the community to come together," says Hickman. "It's also about prevention… and honouring the lives of workers which have been permanently changed." Threads of Life provides T-shirts, brochures and staff members to help out, but each community pulls together its own volunteers. Hickman says they recommend a 5K walk in the first weekend of May. The 2020 event was the first time Steps for Life went virtual. Steps for Life was going to be one of the first walks of the spring, says Hickman. In March, the committees were already well into their planning. Threads of Life had starting planning in the preceding fall, including getting sponsors committed and doing fundraising. And then the pandemic hit. Although it was a bit of a rush, Hickman says they "were able to pull together so quickly! People did so many different things like dancing, playing basketball and recorded and shared it with us." In 2021, there will be no registration fee for the Steps for Life event. Instead, Threads of Life is asking participants to register via donation. The 2021 event may take on different forms, depending on regional and provincial restrictions. Some groups may be able to gather, while some will participate virtually as with the 2020 event. Whatever the format, Threads of Life is prepared! 1,027 fatalities were recorded in 2018 in Canada That is equal to around three worker fatalities per day Construction (199) and manufacturing (182) have the highest number of fatalities 264,438 claims for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease

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