Association of British Columbia

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Second Narrows Bridge Memorial Ceremony

Wreaths placed at the cairn on the south east entrance to the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing

Approximately 150 people came to the ceremony in Vancouver to remember the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge and the workers killed and injured there June 17th, 1958.

Two of the four surviving workers who were on the bridge that day were present for the ceremony.

Sharon and Cliff Nordquist hosted the ceremony together with Local 97 of the Iron Workers Union.

Lou Lessard spoke briefly about his 175-foot plunge from the Second Narrows Bridge into the inlet and his recovery in hospital.  It was a very poignant part of what was a very moving ceremony when Lou read the names of the 19 men killed in the accident and the four others killed before the bridge was completed.

Eric Jamieson author of “Tragedy at Second Narrows” read a passage from the Epilogue of his book and a stanza from the poem “Steel Men” by David Martins.

Cairn with the commemorative plaque naming the 23 men who died building the Second Narrows Bridge.

Dr. Phil Nuytten spoke about his experience as a 16-year-old rescue diver who was shaped by the experience to promote safety for the rest of his life.

Reverend Barry Morris led a quiet prayer as he has every year since the 1990’s.

Piper Tim Fanning from the Vancouver Police Department played a solemn ayre for the solemn procession to the plinth at the foot of the Ironworkers Bridge.

There were several political dignitaries in attendance who respected the solemnity of the occasion.  Eleven wreaths from a variety of government, safety, and labour organizations were placed at the east cairn.

The weather cooperated with a warm hazy Saturday on the 59th Anniversary of the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge, later known as the Iron Workers Bridge, and renamed in 1994 the “Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing”.

It is expected the 60th Anniversary will have a large crowd as did the 50th Anniversary.

Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing Ceremony June 17

Second Narrows Bridge.

The span that caused the collapse of the then Second Narrows Bridge. (click on image to make it bigger)

A ceremony will be held to recognize the 59th anniversary of the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge Saturday June 17th at 1 pm.

On the afternoon of June 17th 1958 during the construction of the bridge there was a shudder and a boom followed by the collapse of the span.  The span which collapsed was the central span of the bridge, the longest one at 1100 feet, requiring temporary supports to hold it in place until it reached the pier on the south side.  It was the most difficult, technically, of the seven; that single span arching high in the air, was one quarter of the length of the entire bridge.

79 workers fell from the bridge, some to bottom of the inlet; and 14 Ironworkers, four other bridge workers and one rescue diver were killed in the worst industrial accident in the Vancouver area.

Workers is the plaque providing the names of the 22 workers who died in the construction and the one worker who died in the rescue. (click on image to make it bigger)

An annual ceremony started in the 1980’s or ‘90’s to commemorate the event and recognize the survivors of the accident and others who worked on the bridge.  On the memorial cairn there is a plaque recognizing the 23 workers who lost their lives in the construction of the bridge.

The bridge was renamed the “Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing” by the provincial government in a ceremony 17 June 1994.  In 1998 the 40th anniversary event was recognized by a small crowd.  The 50th anniversary had a much larger crowd of survivors, family members, local political officials, and others including Eric Jamieson the author of the book “Tragedy at Second Narrows”.

Over the years speakers have included: Dr Phil Nuytten, a then 16 year old commercial diver who rushed to the scene, Lucien (Luc) Lessard a survivor of the accident who plunged 175 feet from the bridge and into the channel, and Tom Berger a then young lawyer who represented the workers at the Royal Commission of Inquiry investigating the accident.

The memorial ceremony will be held at 1 pm on the southeast side of the bridge on Fellowes Street, on the street and in the garden of the adjacent property, followed by a piper leading a walk to the wreath placing at the cairn beside the highway at the foot of the bridge.

To reach the location, take Boundary Road to the north end and go one block on Fellowes to North Kootenay.  Parking is limited so you may need to park two or three blocks away.

Cairn with the plaques and the Bridge sign behind it.

Plaque mounted on the cairn in 1994 by the provincial government for the renaming. (click on image to make it bigger)

 

2017 Day of Mourning in Vancouver

Michael Lovett injured as an 18 year old high school graduate only a few months on the job at a sawmill in Mission.

The main British Columbia Day of Mourning Ceremony returned to Hastings Park from downtown Vancouver April 28th this year.

The Day of Mourning Ceremony recognized the 144 workers who lost their lives in 2016 due to a workplace injury or illness and their survivors.

The sponsoring organizations: WorkSafeBC, the BC Federation of Labour, and the Business Council of BC hosted the ceremony in the Centre Grounds courtyard at Hastings Park followed by the piper-led solemn march to the park setting of the Workers’ Memorial Sanctuary.

In Vancouver, attendees heard presentations from representatives of the sponsoring organizations and Michael Lovett injured as an 18 year old high school graduate only a few months on the job at a sawmill in Mission and Renee Ozee the mother of Scott Ozee a 23 year old electrocuted on the roof of a house in White Rock.

Although workplace fatalities often may be considered as accidents which cause a rapid loss of life; 85 of these deaths were due to occupational diseases acquired in the workplace after a long history of exposure.  Three of the occupational diseases are caused by historical exposures: Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and lung cancer cause their deaths years after workers exposure ended.

Renee Ozee the mother of Scott Ozee a 23 year old electrocuted on the roof of a house in White Rock.

Ceremonies were held at many public locations throughout the province and at workplaces hosted by municipal councils, labour organizations, and employer groups.  WorkSafeBC sponsors memorial cairns and presentations from injured workers and their families at many events.

This year the event sponsored by the BC Federation of Labour as its main event was held in Victoria with a ceremony and March to the Legislature after many years in the Vancouver area.

Occupational Health and Safety Week is the underway the second week in May with events throughout the province.

In the Vancouver area on Sunday May 7th the Steps for Life Walk at Burnaby Lake Park starting at 11 am (Registration at 9 am) will be held in support of surviving family members.

Close up of the wording on the Memorial Cairn:

Click here for more photos from the 2017 Day of Mourning

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the OFAAABC

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 23, 2013

#108 – 2323 BOUNDARY ROAD, VANCOUVER, BC

Dinner will commence at 6:00pm The business meeting will be called to order at 7:00pm

All Professional members are welcome to attend, participate and socialize.

Please confirm your attendance to the office by phone (604-294-0244), toll free (1-800-667-4566) or e-mail (ofaaa@ofaaa.bc.ca)

 

EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 8:00pm

#108 – 2323 Boundary Road,   Vancouver, B.C.

This meeting is for all Members, for the purpose of choosing nominees to run for the 2013 OFAAABC Board of Directors.

Whether you are interested in being nominated, wish to nominate someone or just to observe, you are welcome!

Please advise the Office by phone or e-mail if you plan to attend.

Refreshments will be served.

 

September 2012 – Announcements

Deadline extended to October 12, 2012 for Consultation on Proposed Changes to Two Occupational Health and Safety (“OHS”) Policies – Click Here

Reminder to provide feedback on Proposed New Occupational Health and Safety (“OHS”) Policies Regarding Workplace Bullying and Harassment – Click Here

WorkSafe Update

 

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