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Workplace safety: Lessons learned from grief

Calgary, AB -- For Maryanne Pope, the issue of workplace safety is a very personal one. Widowed at the age of ...


Calgary, AB — For Maryanne Pope, the issue of workplace safety is a very personal one. Widowed at the age of 32 after her husband, Constable John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service died while on duty, Maryanne knows better than anybody the huge impact preventive measures can have.

In September 2010, Maryanne will observe the 10- year anniversary of her husband’s death. On September 29, 2000, Cst. Petropoulos was called to the scene of a reported break and enter in a Calgary, AB, warehouse. Mere hours later, Maryanne was faced with the heartbreaking decision of removing her husband from life support and donating his organs after he fell through a false ceiling and hit his head while investigating the call.

There was no safety railing in place to warn him of the danger.

Over the past decade, Maryanne has campaigned tirelessly with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund to increase public education, believing that she can play a key role in reducing workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities for emergency responders.

Through initiatives such as the ‘Put Yourself In Our Boots’ public service announcements and her book A Widow’s Awakening, as well as speaking to a range of audiences, from corporate businesses to government agencies, Maryanne advocates the importance of keeping workplaces safe for emergency workers and the public.