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Known in Canada as the National Day of Mourning and in over 100 countries worldwide as Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28th is the day of remembrance for workers killed on the job.
In 2015, 852 workers died and another 232,629 workers were injured severely enough to miss days of work, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.
While this day is meant to remember these workers and countless other, it also serves as an opportunity for businesses to raise awareness about workplace deaths. They can also renew their workplace’s commitment to improving health and safety and prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases.
“The Anonymity of Prevention monument. Part of the art piece ‘The 100 Workers Monument’ in Toronto, Canada“
We’ve covered the history of safety on the site before and identified key moments that shaped the modern workplace — from the rule of eight to a fire that lead to the creation of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). The National Day of Mourning began after the Canadian Labour Congress chose April 28, 1984 to be the first National Day of Mourning in Canada because it would coincide with the 70th anniversary of the day the Ontario Worker’s Compensation Act was approved by the government (1914). In 1991, the day became a part of national legislation.
Young workers are the most vulnerable group for injury in the workplace. One third of all workplace injuries happen to workers aged 15 to 24 and males are twice as likely to be injured on-the-job than female workers.
April 28th can serve as an inspiration for employers to review workplace safety policies, improve safety culture, implement regular training for full-time and senior workers and increase training for new, casual and young workers with the goal of zero workplace accidents.
There are observances across Canada and federal government buildings will be flying their flags at half-mast from sunrise to sunset. Workers and employers can observe the day in numerous ways including lighting candles, donning black ribbons and armbands and reflecting with a moment of silence at 11am.
On the National Day of Mourning we should be remembering, as the Anonymity of Prevention monument in Toronto, Canada says “our past and building a safer future.”
Visit www.wsibdayofmourning.ca for toolkits, resources and events in your area.
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