New approach needed to workplace accidents

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal printed the following letter from long-time Injured worker activist, Steve Mantis.

Yesterday while helping to prepare for the Thunder Bay event recognizing the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job I had a disturbing encounter. I met a skilled tradesman (let’s call him John) who traveled to Alberta for work. He was working on a pipeline in 2013 when a co-worker with a heart condition passed out. John immediately went to help.

He lifted his co-worker out of the equipment and began to administer first-aid. John was successful in helping to save this man’s life and they stay in touch to this day. John’s co-worker was a big man weighing close to 260 pounds. While performing this Good Samaritan act, John’s back was injured rupturing four discs in his spine.

John remained at work, traveling 100 kilometres each way for physiotherapy covering by the WCB. But after four weeks, his doctor pulled him off the job as his condition was getting worse. This was quickly followed by a layoff from the employer.

John returned home to Thunder Bay, luckily getting lots of support from his family, but has been unable to return to work and is now being considered for surgery. But he has received no financial compensation from the WCB. Instead of being recognized for his good deeds, he is denied any help from the organization started 100 years ago to provide compensation to injured workers.

Afterwards, another one of John’s co-workers who didn’t offer to help in that crisis said he didn’t step forward because be had been burned previously when he did help others.

What lessons are we to learn here?

Let us join together on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m., at the Lakehead Labour Centre to recognize the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job and reconfirm our commitment to help each other when in need.

Steve Mantis

Kaministiquia

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