Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2014)
Police in Nanaimo, British Columbia have laid criminal charges against a local man in connection with an early morning shooting at the Western Forest Products sawmill in late April, 2014.
Constable Gary O’Brien, media relations officer with the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, reports that 47-year-old Kevin Addison, was charged two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Addison was arrested and taken into custody on April 30, 2014 following a shooting that killed two mill workers: 61-year-old Michael Lunn and 53-year-old Fred McEachern. Two other men were shot at the mill and suffered significant injuries, O’Brien says.
Nanaimo RCMP detachment Cmdr. Superintendent Mark Fisher says police responded after receiving several 911 calls about shots being fired at the mill. “Early indications are that there may be a connection between the suspect and the company,” Fisher says, adding that four individuals sustained gunshot injuries.
Following the incident, Western Forest Products closed all of its mills and timberlands operation on Vancouver Island, out of respect for its colleagues. Critical-incident stress counsellors were also brought in to work with employees.
Western president and chief executive officer Don Demens says the company is working closely with its colleagues at local 1-1937 of the United Steelworkers (USW) to review the security of its workplace. “We will make any changes needed to ensure our colleagues are confident of the security of their work environment,” he adds.
Operations at all mills, with the exception of the Nanaimo sawmill, recommenced on May 5, 2014.
Brian Butler, president of USW Local 1-1937, says the union and company will ensure that workers and affected families receive help through grief counselling and other measures.
Here we have a Canadian example of a workplace situation with a mass gun shooting. We do no have these as common as our neighbour to the south but we have them all the same.
It just goes to show that we need to keep the unrestrictive gun laws down south and not let us slip into the phrase, which is continually being used, we send our thoughts and prayers. If this is all we send as a message, we will end up like our friends down south and will have a free-for-all-workplace-deaths due to more gun violence.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.