The sister of a Missoula man killed in an explosion at an auto body shop in Missoula late last year organized a Missoula Memorial Day event held on Saturday. Laura Hall’s brother, Bruce Hall, died after pouring lacquer from a barrel into a smaller container. Investigators say the fumes exploded, partly because of inadequate ventilation.
The event was designed to honor her brother and many others who have died in workplace-related incidents over the years.
"I wanted to really raise awareness. It was important to me to bring this issue to the forefront, about workers' safety. So, I just decided to face my fears and do it, and feel the community really reached out to me and offered to come help and it worked out really well," said Laura Hall.
Speakers included Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials, who spoke about how people can contact the organization confidentially to report hazardous work conditions. Montana is part of OSHA Region 8, which includes Montana, the Dakotas, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. OSHA officials say there were 61 workplace-related deaths in the region last year.
"We're remembering those who have passed away in workplace-related fatalities, and we are doing everything we can to raise awareness about safety and health...what we can do to identify hazards and get them corrected before individuals are hurt or killed at work," said OSHA Billings Office Director Jeff Funke.