Remembering Our Past and Building a Safer Future
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, injured or suffered illness as a result of workplace hazards or incidents.
In 2016, 904 workers died and another 240,682 workers were severely injured.
This is a steep increase from the previous year of 852 workers and 232,629 respectively, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.
This day serves to remember these workers and countless other, it also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about workplace safety.
This is also an occasion for businesses to renew their 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“
The History of Safety:
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 the fire that lead to the creation of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
The National Day of Mourning is tied to Workers’ Memorial Day in America.
April 28th was chosen in Canada by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. The date would coincide with the 70th anniversary of the day the Ontario Worker’s Compensation Act was approved by the government in 1914.
The day became an official national observation in 1991.
An Opportunity for Education:
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 11 am.
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.