The 34 people who died in Nova Scotia workplaces last year were remembered on Monday as Canada marked its National Day of Mourning to honour workers killed or injured on the job.

Half of those fatalities were accidents.

Labour leaders and politicians remembered the workers with a public ceremony at Province House.

Estella Hickey's reflection was more personal.

Her 22-year-old son Kyle Hickey went to work at O'Regan's Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd.'s autobody shop in Dartmouth six years ago and died following an explosion.


Kyle Hickey was severely burned in a March 2008 fire. He died the next day in hospital. (CBC)

His mother is still dealing with the fact he never got home.

"It makes you angry. It makes you sad. It's just a rollercoaster of emotions," she said.

Hickey said she found courage from a support group for families of injured workers. For the first time, she decided to speak at a Day of Mourning event.

"I'm coping better and I can say it without breaking down as much. Of course I cry. I cry all the time, but I need to honour Kyle and I need to get his story out there," she said.

Investigators later discovered that the fatal explosion began in a container of chemicals that wasn't grounded properly. They say a spark caused a blaze injuring two others.

O'Regan's pleaded guilty to having an unsafe workplace and was fined $38,000.

Hickey says that wasn't enough.

"Every time we hear of an accident me and my husband we think, 'Oh, that family now has to go through what we went through,'" she said.

"I just want people to be aware of the dangers in the workplace. Because Kyle would never have died if the barrel was grounded that he washed his paint guns in."

The province has hired a handful of extra workplace inspectors to improve safety.