The tragic death of Dallas Hardy, a 19 year old young man, at Rimex ten days ago brought up a wide range of emotions for me. The first one, obviously, is one of great sadness for Dallas’ parents, relatives, co-workers and friends.
In a small community like ours, we all get to be affected somehow by such a sudden and tragic accident.
Then, there is incomprehension. I kept wondering how his death happened, and if this fatal accident could have been avoided.
At the same time, I am also angry at Rimex. Finally, disappointment grew more and more as I read the story in the news.
It seems after reading the Agassiz-Harrison Observer that the accident is no big deal. In that regard, I see the coverage of the story in our local paper pathetic and disrespectful.
On average, there are 2 fatal workplace accidents in BC per year amongst workers aged 15 to 19 years. That data alone should have triggered some thorough journalist investigation into the deadly accident at Rimex. Instead, the news is put on page 5 of the newspaper. It is difficult to understand how the Agassiz-Harrison Observer chose to bury the story so far down in the paper. Although, I would love a water park in Agassiz, I felt that it was not appropriate to make it the weekly front page given the traumatic event at Rimex.
Also, there were so many questions to ask. I was also irritated by the lack of content of the article. I found it to be without much substance. It gave me the impression that I was reading no more than a press release from WCB and one from Rimex.
As an example to illustrate my discontent, Jessica Peters wrote that WCB is investigating the accident. We knew that, we did not learn anything new here. WCB is legally mandated to conduct an investigation every time there is a fatality.
The article is, with all due respect, so meaningless that it does not even report on the circumstances of the accident. If the family wanted to keep the matter private I don’t have any issue with this, but, I would have thought that the article would have said so if that was the case. It is the best kept secret in town on how this accident occurred. We are such a knit-tight community that we all quickly learned of the tragic accident. Although, we all hear things ‘through the grapevine’, is it again unreasonable to expect our local journalist to investigate and report?
It is not good enough for the company and the newspaper to mention that WCB is investigating. The death of a young man in a workplace is unacceptable and clearly not a normal occurrence. As such, I would have expected the Agassiz-Harrison Observer to question how did the accident occur but most, importantly, could it have been preventable?
I am left with a sour taste and the impression that the journalism practiced at the Agassiz-Harrison Observer is one of complaisance.
For instance, the article said that Rimex workers had the opportunity to talk to a grief counselor, made available by Rimex.
However, one would have expected Ms. Peters to question the company, and perhaps ask them what they are doing for the family who lost their son so abruptly and unjustly. Another good question the journalist should have asked is whether or not WCB interviewed Dallas’ co-workers.
The article reports that WCB was at Rimex on Friday while the workers were given the day off. This raises suspicions.
One could wonder if managers could be attempted to only share partial information with WCB in order to protect the company. That would have been an excellent question to ask. It is certainly what my neighbors and I wonder.
If it was my child that died in similar circumstances, I would be outraged by the lack of concern and interest from our local newspaper.
I would conclude by saying two things. Again, I want to offer my deepest and most sincere condolences to the family. I can’t imagine the courage and force needed in such circumstances while a child is taken away so brutally and without warning.
Secondly, April 28 is the National Day of Mourning (Workers’ Memorial Day). There are activities held at various workplaces in Agassiz.
However, this year, we should all unite and gather together in memory of Dallas Hardy.
No more workplace fatalities in Agassiz, no more avoidable deaths of our youth, no more killing.