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Workplace Safety

When Day of Mourning is personal

For Bill Stunt, National Day of Mourning on April 28 is more than a square on a calendar – it’s personal.

Bill’s son Karl was working at a ski resort. Karl was on the top of a maintenance cage used as a platform for inspecting and working on the ski lift and the structures that support it. He had been on top of the cage as it entered the station at the bottom of the hill and was struck in the head. Karl was found hanging from a safety harness. He had been assigned this responsibility without the proper training. He was just 25 years old.

While April 28 is set aside annually to honour and remember all those killed or injured at work, Bill thinks of it as “my” day of mourning too.

“I think of Karl all the time,” Bill says, but he most often thinks of his son when listening to music. “Karl was a huge music fan … I miss his enthusiasm and all the things he used to talk to me about music.”

While a family’s memories are very personal, Day of Mourning is a chance for them to gather in community with others who share their passion for preventing future tragedies. Throughout the year, Bill finds that community through an organization called Threads of Life – the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support. Threads of Life is a registered charity dedicated to supporting families after a workplace fatality, life-altering injury, or occupational disease. Bill chairs the Threads of Life board of directors. He is also a volunteer speaker, sharing his experience to help people understand the lasting impacts of an injury or death on the job.


Bill Stunt

Member and Chair, Threads of Life

How does Threads of Life support families like yours?

After a work-related death or serious injury, you feel so alone. Nobody you know has really been through this. Through Threads of Life you meet others who are on a similar journey. We offer peer support programs as well as opportunities to learn healthy coping skills through online workshops or in-person events.

What does Threads of Life do to help organizations create safe and healthy workplaces?

By sharing our own experiences, we help people to understand the consequences of a work injury or death, to see the faces behind those statistics. We have volunteer speakers who go into workplaces and schools and make presentations, carrying that message about the importance of safety. We also have an annual walk called Steps for Life, which gives companies and individuals a chance to support families and build awareness around health and safety.

How can others get involved?

Anyone who is personally affected by a tragedy can just visit Threads of Life’s website or email or call to connect with the programs they need free of charge. For others, we have opportunities to volunteer, to sponsor events, or to donate. We welcome anyone who is aligned with our mission of supporting families and preventing future tragedies.

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