Kingston student’s life forever changed by father’s workplace death

Click to play video: 'Queen’s University student shares her story on National Day of Mourning for workplace deaths'
Queen’s University student shares her story on National Day of Mourning for workplace deaths
WATCH: Alyssa Grocutt's father died in a workplace incident when she was 11 years old. Now, she's dedicating her life to workplace safety – Apr 28, 2023

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning, a day to remember and honor those lives lost or injured due to a workplace accident.

The day also serves as a reminder of the dangers in many professions — and to raise awareness to improve health and safety in the workplace to prevent future tragedies.

For Alysa Grocutt, a student at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., the annual observance hits close to home.

“July 8th, 2008, is a day I’ll never forget. My dad was killed in a workplace safety incident. He was working as a heavy-duty mechanic up in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, and he was run over by a 797 haul truck.”

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It’s tragic stories like hers that inspire people like Janet Heyman, chair of the Kingston and District Labour Council, to push for better on-the-job safety for everyone.

“It’s a day that we recognize all those that have lost their lives, and a day that we commit to continuing the fight to have safe and healthy workplaces for all.”

Grocutt is completing her PhD at Queen’s University researching improvements in workplace safety standards as a career path set in motion by the devastating loss of her father when she was just 11 years old.

“Even then, right after he died, I said that I never wanted him to be forgotten, or my mom and I to be forgotten. I wanted to do what I can to prevent these occurrences from happening to other people.”

She says every year in Canada more people die in the workplace than there are murders.

“In reality, there’s approximately 1,000 workplace fatalities every year. That includes physical safety incidents on site, but also illnesses that cause death later. And there are approximately 700 murders in Canada (annually), so (there are) several hundred more workplace fatalities than murders.”

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Click to play video: 'Remembering workers killed in workplace accidents'
Remembering workers killed in workplace accidents

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