When Brenda Lapierre’s son Jamie walked out the door for work on Feb. 9, 2000, she never thought it would be the last time she would see him.
The 21-year-old was working as a deckhand on a barge in Point Tupper when he was killed on the job. While entering the hold, he fell off the ladder into the airtight confined space that had no oxygen.
“The air is supposed to be tested. There was supposed to be a spotter,” said Lapierre, who now lives in Lower Sackville. “He wasn’t properly trained for the job he was doing. The people on the job that day should’ve made sure it was safe.”
Yesterday, Lapierre spoke about the impact of Jamie’s death at CFB Halifax, where the Young Workers Memorial LifeQuilt is on display as part of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. She hopes Jamie’s story will make a difference in protecting the lives of other employees.
“It’s been very hard, especially for his father, who still works there,” she said during an interview.
“It’s so hard to have someone like him drop out of your life. He was a bubbly kid, always on the go.”
The Young Workers Memorial LifeQuilt is a patchwork quilt featuring photos and short biographies of 100 young men and women from across Canada who died in the workplace.
“The whole purpose of it is to raise awareness and get people thinking about the fact that it could happen to you or your daughter or son,” LifeQuilt representative Carolynn George said. “We need to take the necessary precautions and look out for one another and ask questions when we’re feeling unsafe, get the proper training and even refuse unsafe work if you believe that your life is in danger.”