Vernon and North Okanagan
Family dealing with tragic loss
Aug 30, 2013 / 1:37 pm
Shane Gorner was not your average 19-year-old. From starring in local plays and composing folk ballads to writing poetry and serving his community, Shane had planned on living life to the fullest.
It’s an incredible loss, says Shane’s father, Lorne Gorner.
Little information is available regarding the fatal workplace accident that took Shane’s life in Salmon Arm on Wednesday.
He was working at a recycled rubber surfacing plant operated by Dinoflex Manufacturing when he was caught in a piece of machinery and succumbed to his injuries on the scene.
His father says the past few days have been a blur, and each day it unfolds a little bit more as the family comes to the realization of what’s happened.
“Especially with someone so young, you just don’t expect something like this to happen,” Gorner said. “It’s a crazy ride, and it gets harder and harder as you begin to accept that it’s real.”
Shane had been working at the plant for six months, and he was in the process of joining a mission through his church.
“All the paperwork was in, he was getting ready to go. He wasn’t sure yet where they were sending him, it could have been anywhere,” said Gorner.
Gorner says the support in the community, and from the church, has been amazing. He also commends Dinoflex CEO Mark Bunz for meeting with him and his family personally to extend the company’s condolences.
WorkSafeBC Communications Officer, Megan Johnston, says Fatal and Serious Incident Investigators are still in the very preliminary stages of their investigation.
The investigation team attended the scene of the accident on Wednesday. Investigators will continue with interviews and will complete a comprehensive review of all factors that may have contributed to Shane’s death.
Johnston says no safety orders have been issued to Dinoflex as of yet.
“Our goal is to learn what occurred on Wednesday so that we can help prevent this tragic situation from happening again,” said Johnston.
Gorner is the second young worker to die on the job in the North Okanagan over the past few months. 18-year-old Bradley Haslam lost his life after becoming entangled in a conveyor belt while working at Tolko’s Lavington planer mill on June 15.
Kate Rowbottom became a young worker advocate in 1999 when her son, Michael Lovett, lost his leg in a sawmill accident at the age of 18.
“My heart goes out to [Shane’s family]. I can’t imagine what they must be going through, no parent wants to get that phone call,” said Rowbottom.
She says the biggest threat to workplace safety is lack of training and other preventative measures that employers can put in place to make sure these accidents don’t happen.
“It’s so hard to convince employers to put the money out up front, but they need to have a progressive and very aggressive preventative action plan,” she said.
“These kinds of accidents cost employers millions. Even though the money [for prevention] seems like a lot up front, it’s minuscule compared to the alternative end result.”
For Lorne Gorner and his family, although they feel that Dinoflex has shown genuine concern and is taking the incident seriously, they do hope to have some answers about what happened.
“Obviously I would like to know how this happened so we can help prevent it from happening again,” said Gorner.
Gorner says he realizes there’s nothing that will bring his son back, and that being angry about it wouldn’t change anything. The important thing is for people to remember Shane and all that he brought to those that knew him.
“Shane was very involved in the community. He didn’t waste life at all, he took advantage of every opportunity there was,” says Gorner.
Shane graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary in 2012. He leaves behind five brothers and four sisters, ranging in age from 14- to 34-years. Shane’s father says he will always be remembered for his positive outlook on life, and for his ability to stay positive even when things were tough.
“He lived a very full life, even though it was short.”
Read the company's response to the death here.
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