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We all share their loss

By Lauren Smith

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning. A day when we commemorate the Canadians who were injured, killed, or suffered illness as a result of work.

In 2012, Alberta lost 145 workers. Four of those workers were under 25 – two cases of trauma and two motor vehicle accidents, all resulting in death. The other 141 deaths? They were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, even grandparents. That’s 145 Albertan families who suffered loss because of a workplace illness and injury.

Our Heads Up team member, Melissa, recently sat down with Bruce Stanley, who lost his father in 2002. Below is his story of loss.

 

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Not an ordinary day

As Bruce Stanley prepared for the day, a reporter on the news mentioned something about an accident involving a school bus, but Stanley didn’t pay much attention – until later that morning, when he received a devastating phone call.

“A police officer told me that my father had been injured in a bus accident, the same accident I had seen on the news,” recalls Bruce. “It wasn’t until later, when the detectives came to my dad’s house that we learned he had passed away.”

Bruce’s father, Robert Stanley, spent over 15 years working as a school bus driver and was on his way back to the garage that morning after dropping off some charter passengers. Suddenly, as Robert drove under an overpass, a boulder crashed through the bus’s windshield, striking Robert in the chest and causing fatal injuries.  

“I was angry, shocked and upset. When I saw the school bus on the news that morning, I never imagined that my dad was the driver,” states Stanley.

From tragedy to change

At the time of his father’s death, Stanley was working as a safety representative in the trucking industry. However, the loss of his father inspired him to dedicate his career to workplace safety, specifically with drivers.

“Four years ago, I began working for my dad’s old employer as a part-time driver on the weekends and a year later, I was asked to take over the safety position for the company,” acknowledges Stanley.

As a Safety & Risk Manager, Stanley looks after the safety of over 500 bus drivers spread out over four different areas: Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Edson and Fort McKay. He ensures that buses meet all required safety standards and he enforces safety compliance among all drivers. He also oversees safety training to ensure that best practices are being followed by the entire company.

Under Stanley’s leadership, his employer received their Certificate of Recognition (COR) last year, awarded by the Government of Alberta to companies with health and safety programs that meet established industry standards.

Stanley has also made big changes to how the organization handles workplace injuries, working closely with WCB – Alberta regarding claims management procedures and signing up for their Occupational Injury Services (OIS) program.

In dad’s memory

For Bruce, losing his father as he did inspires him to do all that he can to improve and enforce safety in the workplace. He’s seen the ramifications of not doing so first hand.

“My dad’s death is what drives me, what sets my destiny as far as my career. Every day, I go to work with a purpose – to try and educate and protect as many workers as possible,” he explains.

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We can all make a difference by working to keep each other safe every day. You have the right to ask your supervisor questions about safety and to refuse work that you think is unsafe.  

One Response to “We all share their loss”

  1. […] over a week ago, but the National Day of Mourning was held on April 28th. We talked a bit about it here, but the day was recognized across Canada, including here in […]


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