Residents of Woss, B.C. remember derailment deaths on National Day of Mourning

Residents of Woss, B.C. remember derailment deaths on National Day of Mourning

It was an emotional day in the small town of Woss. B.C. on Friday during a National Day of Mourning service to remember workers killed or seriously injured on the job.

Last week, a logging train derailment in the community on north Vancouver Island killed three workers and injured two.

Dan Rushton, regional district director for Woss, said the day of mourning brought home the loss felt in the tiny community.

The service was held at Woss Heritage Park.

"Times like this, as a small community, we just all pull together and look after one and other best we can," Rushton said.

The National Day of Mourning is observed each year on April 28. The B.C. Federation of Labour says 144 B.C. workers were killed on the job or died from occupational diseases in 2016. 

The train derailment occurred on the Englewood Railway, a 90-kilometre long spur line operated by Western Forest Products.

Real families

WorkSafe B.C. investigators are still investigating the accident, according to spokesperson Trish Knight Chernecki.

Knight Chernecki said every job site has the potential for serious incidents, which is why employers need to pay attention to risk management and develop a health and safety program.  

"These are real people with real families and as we heard… from Woss, it's devastating."

She said that during her involvement with WorkSafe B.C. over the past 15 years, she has seen initiatives develop, which were inspired by the annual reminder.

"For this period of mourning, this day we're all united in two things: mourning the dead, yes, but recommitting and reaffirming to making workers' safety foundational to every work place."

Worksafe B.C.'s role is to consult, educate, and when necessary, use enforcement to motivate employers to comply with the provincial Worker's Compensation Act and the occupational health and safety regulation.

With files from the CBC's All Points West