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Headshot - David Gardner

David Gardner

Business Manager, The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 95 Union

April 28th marks Canada’s Day of Mourning, commemorating those who suffered workplace injuries or have lost their lives due to hazardous workplace incidents or accidents. In 2019, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board reported 23 deaths while working on injury claims, and 4,873 lost time injuries and illnesses — all within the construction industry alone.

Know better and do better

An accident is an event or incident that happens unexpectedly, out of your control. Most workplace injuries, however, aren’t accidents because they’re preventable. We have the resources, knowledge, and expertise to know better and to do better. Workers are fully trained on job performance and safety measures and are fully aware of the consequences of unsafe work.

Closing the gap

The gap lies in job sites where contractors are more interested in checking off safety boxes than in diligently enforcing safety standards. When deadlines get prioritized, safety standards take the back seat. This is where discrepancies get built, liabilities are formed, and workers are expected to adhere to unsafe work. When the focus shifts from safety to project completion, workers are the ones taking all the risks to provide contractors with the final rewards. We need to close the gap between safety and deadlines, and shift our belief that we must sacrifice one for the other. We can have both. We can perform our jobs safely without risking our lives and still meet deadlines efficiently. No job is worth a life. Ask questions when unsure and say no to unsafe work. Only then will we start seeing safer job sites, safer workers, and fewer injuries and deaths.

It’s all a joke and ‘not that serious’ until it’s you or a close family member laying in a hospital bed, or worse, in a casket. Is the risk really worth it then? You don’t think something like this could ever happen to you — until it does. And it changes your life and your family’s. Say no. Stand up for your life before you risk losing it.

— David Gardner,
The International Association of
Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 95 Union
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