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Steps of support and awareness for workplace safety in Sudbury

Saturday in Sudbury, organizers held the Steps for Life walk to support families affected by work-related fatalities, life-altering injuries or occupational diseases.

Organizers and participants said they want to share the key message about workplace safety and that it’s everyone's responsibility to make it a priority.

The walk is a national fundraiser for Threads of Life, a charitable organization that supports families living with the impacts of workplace fatalities, life-altering injuries or occupational diseases.

"I think it's important that families understand that they are not alone and that there is support and someone to talk to," said Holly Baril, a health and safety trainer with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

“Becoming a family member or spokesperson for Threads of Life allows you that opportunity to continue the memory of your family member.”

Joanne Wade is from Manitoulin Island. Her 22-year-old son, Brent, was killed on the job in 1999. She said she lost all hope and purpose until she became a participant in Threads of Life.

“It gave me my life back,” Wade said.

“It put living back into life or life back into living. And it gave me hope it's given me purpose. I am out there with my son's story trying to increase awareness of the importance of coming home safe."

Organizers said it's about showing empathy and support for families and also ensuring workers are aware of their rights.

"They have the right to know the hazards in their workplace," said Mike Parent, vice-president of health and safety services with Workplace Safety North.

“The right to be involved in testing and other information in the workplace and the right to refuse unsafe work. No worker has to take on a work assignment that puts them at risk.”

"It is everyone's responsibility,” added Pam Patry, a health and safety consultant at Workplace Safety Prevention Services.

“In Ontario, the internal responsibilities system is based on the fact that employers, supervisors and workers share the responsibility for health and safety. And together we work together to make sure our workplaces are safe.”

Organizers of the Walk said Threads of Life also sends families of workplace tragedies to forums where they learn coping skills. Top Stories

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