25 years since the Westray Mine explosion

 

Today we mark 25 years since the Nova Scotia Westray mine explosion, mourn the workers who died in that preventable accident, and vow to continue to fight for safe and healthy workplaces.

In the early morning hours of May 9, 1992 an explosion shook the village of Plymouth in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. In an instant, the lives of 26 men ended.

No one was ever held to account for the negligence that caused those deaths. That underground methane explosion claimed the lives of 26 workers and prompted years of lobbying by the United Steelworkers that finally resulted in Bill C-45 changes to the criminal code that allowed for the prosecution of negligent employers.

“The OFL will continue to push for employers to be criminally investigated when workers are killed or injured on the job. Safety standards must be followed, to guarantee that each worker who enters a workplace will return home safely at the end of the day,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “Twenty-five years ago the Westray explosion took workers away from their families and communities. As a labour movement, we must ensure that this does not happen again in any workplace.”

The OFL launched its “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign in 2009 following the deaths of  four workers at Metron Construction, to demand jail time for bosses whose criminal negligence results in a worker’s death. The campaign paid off in 2012 when Metron received Ontario’s first criminal conviction since the Criminal Code of Canada was amended in response to the 1992 Westray Mine Disaster.

This May 9, mark the 25th anniversary of the Westray Mine disaster by joining the campaign to protect workers from being killed or injured on the job by clicking here.

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