By Susan Haldane
Special to Ontario Construction News
For Eugene Gutierrez and his family, there’s one reason and many reasons to be involved in Steps for Life. Eugene’s father Eulogio was killed when he was struck by a piece of mobile equipment while working in an underground mine. Eugene participates in Steps for Life on behalf of his dad and to protect other workers.
“Every worker has the right to go home to their family safe and healthy at the end of the day,” Eugene says. He is serving as a spokesperson for Steps for Life – walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy this spring.
“Being a spokesperson allows me the opportunity and privilege to not only share my family’s personal and painful experience with loss due to a workplace fatality, but to ensure that my father’s passing was not in vain; to honour and remember him by reminding others and by raising more awareness around the critical importance of workplace safety – to prevent these types of tragic incidents from ever happening; to prevent further pain and suffering on other families,” he says.
Steps for Life is a five-km walk to support families like Eugene’s who are affected by work-related fatalities, life-altering injuries or occupational disease. Created in 2005, Steps for Life is the flagship fundraiser for the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support (known as Threads of Life). In 2018, 5,000 participants raised more than $750,000 in communities across Canada. This spring, 25 communities from coast to coast will play host to Steps for Life.
The annual event raises money to provide peer support programs and services for families, and raises awareness about the importance of workplace health and safety. Steps for Life is also an opportunity for companies and communities to show their commitment to health and safety. Companies sponsor local walks, allow their employees to volunteer, and enter teams.
Every year in Canada, close to 1,000 workers die as a result of their jobs. Every year more families need the support offered through Threads of Life. There are a thousand reasons – and more – to be part of Steps for Life.
For more information and to register for the 2019 walk on May 4 or 5, visit www.stepsforlife.ca.
Steps for Life 2019 is sponsored by BCRSP, CannAmm, Flynn Group, Graham Construction, NOVA Chemicals, PCL Construction, SPI Health and Safety, Stantec, Terrapure Environmental and Vale, as well as many companies and organizations at a local level.