Kathleen Flanagan Photography
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Sacrifices on the Job: Honouring Nova Scotians killed at work

Photographs by Kathleen Flanagan

Artist Statement

The photographs in Sacrifices on the Job depict examples of public art which acknowledge and honour people killed at worksites across Nova Scotia, in events that occurred over the last two hundred years.  The oldest event depicted in this photo exhibit took place in 1797 when the ship The Tribune sank near Herring Cove, and most of the crew drowned or were dashed on the rocks.  The most recent event took place in 2003 when Hurricane Juan struck the Halifax region, downing trees all over the city, included one that fell on the ambulance of John Rossiter, a paramedic who was on duty at the time, who was killed instantly. 

Some of the events commemorated in this exhibit are well known, such as Westray Mine tragedy in 1992 and the Halifax Explosion in 1917.  Others are relatively obscure, not widely known outside of the families and communities directly involved.  All of the photographs present the names and dates of specific individuals who lost their lives on the worksite. 

Public art includes objects that are created for permanent display in a public location, such as plaques, monuments, memorials, and even gravestones.  Public art is one of the ways that a society celebrates its history and honours its losses.  Many of the tragedies in Nova Scotia have occurred when a ship is lost at sea or a mine collapses.  But death at the worksite can happen in many ways. 

In most cases, worksite deaths are not accidents.  With better training, better equipment, better working conditions, and a safety-conscious mind-set that encompasses everyone, including managers, supervisors, workers, and the general public, occupational deaths, injuries, and diseases are preventable. 

Kathleen Flanagan
April 28, 2012

An injury to one is an injury to all.