A day to mourn

Workers in Parksville pause for those killed on the job

Lisa Arlint speaks about her father’s death

Across Canada April 28 was observed as a National Day of Mourning and in Parksville a small group gathered to remember workers who have been killed, inured or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.

Bob Smits and Ellen Oxman of the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council led the gathering at the community park with a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational diseases in British Columbia.

A total of 142 workers died on the job in B.C. last year.

Each year in Canada, 1,000 workers will be killed at work.

Oxman said the numbers are unacceptable and more must be done to to keep workers safe.

Lisa Arlint reiterated that message when she spoke to the group about the devastating loss to her family after her father was killed working in the woods.

Six years after it happened, the daughter and family of falling contractor Rusty Testawitch still hasn’t recovered from the fact that he was killed while working in northeastern B.C.

Arlint held back her tears as she spoke on behalf of her family on Saturday, April 28 at Day of Mourning ceremony honouring workers who have died on the job.

“It was five days before Christmas, and Dad had two cut trees hung up on a standing tree. He tried to free them by felling the standing tree, but it came down on top of him,” Arlint said.

“My Dad lay there all alone, suffering for four hours. Just before he passed, my uncle found him, and he died in his brother’s arms.”

Testawitch was 52 years old, running a small business — a strong, healthy family man who never had a workplace injury before.

She said it was the saddest Christmas ever when they lost their dad.

“Our hearts weren’t in it. We put a tree up for my nieces and nephews, but didn’t want to.  Mom left the funeral arrangements to us.  ‘Whatever you want,’ she said.  I remember shopping on Boxing Day for clothes to bury Dad in.”

She said the pain has been lasting but she has found the strength to talk about the experience in hopes of raising awareness about work place safety.

“Feeling awful about Dad taking his shift that terrible day, my brother will never work in the bush again.”

The Grande Prairie mother of two said it isn’t fair that her dad didn’t get to see his grandchildren.

“Being without him is so hard,” she said.

“On happy occasions, we’re always reminded he isn’t there. Dad’s missed four grandchildren — my children and my sister’s. Some times are worse than others — my wedding, buying our first home, bringing our babies home from the hospital.

The family will live with this forever, paying the price for my father’s death,” said Arlint.

“I hate that company. Maybe they didn’t kill Rusty Testawitch, but they didn’t do a good job of keeping him alive. There were no safety people, no protocol for emergencies like my Dad’s.

“I’m angry, and Dad would be, too. He was a stickler for safety. If his men couldn’t afford boots, he’d buy them boots. He made sure they had safety training. If one of his employees died on the job, it would’ve devastated my Dad.”

Arlint said she wants workers and employers everywhere to take the example of her father to heart.  She said everyone should work hard to ensure workers are safe – because incidents like this are preventable, and because it’s the right thing to do.

 

Just Posted

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

Oceanside RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Nanoose Bay traffic update: paving postponed but closure extended on Northwest Bay Road

Mainroad Contracting halts paving while City of Parksville waits on contractors

Group aims to preserve French Creek tree

Save Estuary Land Society says bald eagles used tree for nest

Farewell to Parksville Beach Festival for 2019

People’s Choice Awards tallied, organizers report another successful year

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting in Port Hardy begins in Campbell River

James Reginald Butters, 24, killed in 2015 after RCMP responded to call of male uttering threats

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

Most Read