Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!

Episode #: 154:† Day of Mourning Ė Lisa Kadosaís Story


Introduction: Welcome to Health and Safety to Go, broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Host: †Thank you for joining us for this episode of Health and Safety to Go. Our guest today is Lisa Kadosa from Threads for Life. Lisaís father Robert Nesbitt was killed while working in an underground mine in Sudbury, Ontario, in 2006. Today, Lisa will share her fatherís story in hopes of spreading awareness about workplace safety, and more importantly, prevention. Thanks for joining us today ,Lisa.

Lisa: Thank you for having me.

Host: No problem, so Lisa would you mind sharing your experience with our listeners?

Lisa: †Absolutely. So on the morning of March 6th my dad arrived to work at 7 am at the mine where he worked at Inco in Sudbury Ontario.† He proceeded to his line up and received his instructions for the day.† He would be working alone that day which wasnít unusual because of the experience that he had. He proceeded to the 2600 Level, which is 2600 feet below the surface. Since the area he was working in was not safe, he had to muck by remote control. To do so he would place a six-ton stand along his scoop. He would drive his scoop up the side, get close enough to get on the stand and then using the remote control he would maneuver his scoop into the brow where he would collect the nickel. Once the bucket was full he would then drive his scoop back towards him using his remote, he would mount back on to the scoop and then he would drive the scoop down to the nickel brow, where he would deposit.

The next day, the president, he had told us, when he came to speak with us, he had said it was a ďfreak accident.Ē† He said that everything that had to go wrong, for today, for this to have ended in death did.† My dad was on the stand using the remote controls, he maneuvered the scoop. The scoop got caught on a sling that was attached to the stand.† The sling is supposed to be removed from the stand every night before you set it up, but because they could not get it off, the young worker just tucked it under and during the inquest, he noted that it was a common practice to just hide it there so nobody could see it. ††My dad maneuvered the scoop back into the area, the sling got caught on the scoop which made the stand lift a little bit.† He then let go of the remote control, thinking that the scoop would stop.

I go back and think of that saying, that everything that had to go wrong today for this to end in death did, and I think how we could not foresee these things from happening.† The scoop, the remote control had a 10 second delay, now when I speak I always use the example of a lawnmower.† A lawnmower had a 10 second delay, how many people would lose their feet, get injured because of that, but we couldnít foresee this from happening.† Because there was10 second delay, the scoop continued to move on its own even though my father had let go of the remote.† He fell off the stand, the sling couldnít hold the weight of the stand, which was six tones and the stand came down on top of him.† They tell us his death was instantaneous but in my mind, I just see my father sitting there, face up, with a 6 ton stand crushing him to death.

Host: I can only imagine how hard this was for yourself and your family to digest. Why do you think itís important to support families who have been affected by a workplace tragedy?†

Lisa: †Although it was such a tragic event, I always say that I was kind of the lucky ones per say.† My dadís company Inco was very supportive, they provided us all the information that we needed, they gave us copies of the reports unedited.† I met families along the way that received a completely blacked out report.† They paid all the travel expenses, the funeral expenses, grief counselling, even daycare when we had to attend inquests.†† They have always supported us, even 13 years later and I remember at the time my friends telling me ďoh well your dad just died, they have to do this for youĒ.† But as a volunteer for Threads of Life that is not the case, so for me being a member of Threads of Life I learned itís not always the case.†† People are not as lucky as we are, in the sense that we were lucky.† This is why Threads of Life is so important.† The organization is run by volunteers who are at different stages of their tragedy and are able to support members along the way.† They have peer support groups, they have volunteer family guides and volunteer forums, which are one of a kind and are instrumental to familiesí during their journey of healing.† Providing this platform to share their stories, and learn healthy coping skills is how we can heal a community of support.† And for me I always think I would not be here today, if I hadnít found Threads of Life. I donít think I would have survived my fatherís death.

Host: †Very truly sad. In a time of such grief and shock support is so important. Having gone through this experience, if you could give one piece of advice to people about safety on the job what would it be?

Lisa: †For me, itís hard to give one.† So Iím going to mention a few more, I have 3 to note.† For me itís respect, you have to respect the rules and the policies.† You have to report potential hazards and you have to refuse dangerous work.† We have a saying in occupational health and safety and that is all policies and procedures are written in blood.† Someone had to die for these policies to be in place and we must follow them as employees to ensure the safety of others.† Reporting hazards.† The ripple effect associated with a workplace incident is more costs on an organization that any procedures or personal protective equipment or time loss or even needing deliverables.† The day my dad died over 50 men retired, never returning to work, as they couldnít imagine doing this job without him.† Itís like a brotherhood, we spend more time at work than we do with our families.† So it becomes, we want to protect our family, which is why we want to follow all the rules. Employees are doing the work every day so itís imperative that employees advise their supervisors the minute they see something is wrong so that that proper corrective measures can be implemented.† Those that are in a Supervisory position, we have a responsibility to ensure safe practices are followed every day, and every minute be approachable to make sure that our voices are heard and staff know they can come to us and our door is always open.† †We will be able to prevent injuries down the road.† Managers and supervisors also have a huge responsibility and that is to create an environment where health and safety is understood to be a priority, where workers feel comfortable bringing issues forward and implement the appropriate prevention measures, regardless of the cost.

Host:† I think you brought up an important point, from employee to supervisor or manager Ė everyone has a role to play when it comes to workplace safety. Lisa, before we wrap up, are there any closing thoughts youíd like to leave us with?

Lisa: †On March 6th, 2006 I lost a piece of myself.† My father was known and quoted for being a very safe worker and he had a keen for health and safety.† But because of a common practice not to report a potential hazard, my father was killed and will never see his family again. Workplace injuries affect everyone and itís up to all of us to prevent it.† My dad will never hold his granddaughter and she will never know her grandfather.† Sheís has been robbed of the most precious gift life has to offer. So all you people out there, the next time youíre working and you see something isnít right, just stop and report it to your local health and safety department.† Donít be afraid of getting into trouble or slowing down production. Remember Robert ďSea WolfĒ Nesbitt, a father and a grandfather with over 37 yearsí experience on the job, never thought that his job would ever take his life.† But because of a common practice not to report potential hazards, he will never see his family again.† I hope my story makes everyone realize that workplace tragedies are preventable and are not ďjust the cost of doing business.Ē

Host:† Lisa after all this time, and considering what your family has gone through these past couple of years, how are you and the family today?

Lisa: †We carry on; I mean itís a natural process of life.† When this date occurred, never thought I would be 13 years later.† I can say there isnít a day that goes by that I donít cry at one point during the day, whether itís getting a new job and wanting to call and tell him about it, or even to make a decision that I canít make without his advice or my daughterís 10th birthday, that he never made one of them, seeing a sailboat, because he loved to sail, seeing a sailboat go down the marina.† I think that he would just be sailing around the world.† Itís been difficult, my whole career changed.† I was in the police academy to be a police officer at the time and I decided to go back to university and get my degree in occupational health and safety in order to make a difference.† So for me, my life took a complete 360 in order to make a difference.† If I can prevent just one injury, one fatality or one occupational disease, I believe that my fatherís death would not have been in vain.† Itís had a huge impact, we move on, but it affects us every single day, even 13 years later.† I donít believe that will ever change.

Host: †Those are powerful words Lisa, again we are so sorry for your loss. Thank you again for sharing your story with us today. Lisa is a speaker for Threads of Life, an organization that helps families of workplace tragedy along their journey of healing by providing unique family support programs and services. Every year thousands of people across Canada walk in the Steps for Life fundraising event that follows Day of Mourning and kicks off Health and Safety Week in North America. More information about this event can be found at www.stepsforlife.ca and www.ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone.