Hants County taking steps towards improved workplace safety

Ashley Thompson
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Arlene Vogler knows too well how quickly a workplace accident can turn a parent’s world upside down.

She learned this devastating reality the hard way on Jan. 13, 2005.

Addressing a crowd of about 110 people, the Halifax resident recalled her son’s final moments during the fourth annual Steps For Life walk hosted at Smileys Provincial Park May 4.

Vogler’s son, Jonathan Audit, moved to Alberta to work in the oil fields. He landed a job as a well tester, and often told his mother he’d found his calling.

On the day he died, 21-year-old Audit was asked to descend into a separator shack to remove some bolt heads. Audit, who was not supervised while attempting to complete the requested task, was found unconscious two hours later.

“The trial revealed that the supervisor did not do a hazard assessment of the area,” said Vogler, who noted that her son was not equipped with a gas monitor.

It took paramedics two hours to arrive at the scene of the tragedy because the work site was 60 kilometres in to bush, Vogler added.

Vogler said her son suffocated to death as the direct result of a preventable accident.

“I’m here to prevent another family from living the nightmare I live every day.”

She urged walkers to ask questions, refuse unsafe working conditions and do their part to ensure their workplace is safe.

“By doing this, you could save a life,” she said. “You could save your life.”

The five-kilometre walk brought in more than $8,000 for Threads of Life, a charity dedicated to helping families impacted by workplace tragedy. 

Organizations: Threads For Life, Steps For Life

Geographic location: Hants County, Halifax, Alberta Brooklyn

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