It can happen suddenly — a workplace accident.
Every year in Canada, nearly 1,000 workers die as a result of their jobs.
For the families left behind, they face a tough road. But there is one organization, Threads of Life, that offers support to 2,500 families across Canada and awareness to employers on workplace safety.
On Saturday, in Kingston, Ont., Global News met one family who lost a husband and father killed on the job and learned of their involvement in a fundraiser to help support others.
The fundraiser, called Steps for Life, took place on Saturday and saw more than 100 people participate in Kingston.
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“We all go to work and expect to be kept safe by our employer,” said Cori Fleck, who lost her husband in a workplace accident in August 2016.
Fleck participated in the fundraising event, along with her two young daughters, and the mother of her late husband also flew in from Scotland to participate.
Russell Fleck, a 45-year-old carpenter, was using a pneumatic nail gun when it misfired. A nail ricocheted off the lumber and struck him, piercing his heart.
“The medical professionals did their best to help save him. But unfortunately, the injuries were too severe,” said Cori Fleck, “He did pass away, but we were able to say goodbye and be around him. He never regained consciousness.”
In Canada, three workers are injured or killed on the job every day. And according to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada, 291 workers were killed in the workplace in 2017.
In 2018, 5,000 walkers participated in Steps for Life across Canada, raising $750,000 for families of workplace tragedy. Fleck raised just over $1,500 this year alone.
“For me, the biggest part was connecting with people who have gone through a similar tragedy, which was really important for me — to know that you can survive this,” Fleck said.
On Saturday’s walk in Kingston, 21 victims of workplace accidents were honoured, ranging in age from 14 to 70 years old.
Part of Fleck’s volunteer work with the organization involves holding seminars on safety — which is the charity’s key message.
“We all go to work and expect to be kept safe by our employer. And I think training is important. It is a basic right to be safe on the job,” Fleck said.