© Jeff Harper - Metro Halifax
Paulette Raymond holds a a photo of her brother Tommy Raymond, who was killed in a workplace accident in 2009, during a National Day of Mourning ceremony at Province House.
Almost five years ago, Paulette Raymond’s brother went to work at a Halifax container terminal and never came home.
Tommy Raymond was 45 when he was crushed under a tractor-trailer in September 2009.
Raymond hopes the tragic death of her brother will encourage other people to make the workplace safer.
“No one wants to feel this pain. This is a life sentence for myself and my family,” she said.
Raymond carried her brother’s portrait at the Province House on Monday, where over 100 people gathered for the annual national Day of Mourning honouring workers who have died, were injured or became ill at work.
Thirty-four flags sat on a desk next to the speaker’s podium, one for each person killed while working in the province in 2013.
“Each year I come here with such hope in my heart that that table is going to be empty just once,” Raymond said. “We have 34 flags there. We should all be ashamed.”
In 2013, just over 25,000 Nova Scotians were injured on the job. More than 6,300 of them were injured seriously enough to lose time from work.
There have been two workers killed in the province so far this year.
Trevor Beckerson, secretary treasurer for the Halifax-Dartmouth and District Labour Council, said the government’s solutions should involve more than communication with employers.
“I personally don’t believe that we need to form a better relationship with employers who constantly injure workers, we need to punish them,” he said at the ceremony, receiving an enthusiastic round of applause.
Raymond does as much as she can to get people to understand that workplace safety isn’t just her issue, it’s everyone’s issue.
“That’s what’s wrong here. Most of these people don’t get it until they’re directly affected,” she said. “Why wait for that, for your life to be destroyed?”