Throughout the world each day, thousands are diagnosed with a terminal illness, become disabled, are injured or die due to workplace conditions.
Each year, April 28 is recognized as the Day of Mourning — a tradition that began here in Canada. It is a day when unions, governments and businesses publicly acknowledge workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.
Many flags fly at half-mast to recognize the lives needlessly lost and the tremendous suffering of those who must cope in the wake of workplace tragedies. April 28 is also a day when together we renew our commitment to improving workplace health and safety rules and legislation to bring an end to such needless suffering.
This coming May 9 will mark 25 years since the Westray mine disaster in Plymouth. more
As part of a Workers’ Memorial Week activity, you can join the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) in paying attention to noise on the job. On International Noise Awareness Day, they’re crowdsourcing workplace noise measurements on Wednesday, April 26.
To contribute, use their links to the better apps for Android and iPhone. And keep using them once you discover how easy they can be. For more info, see http://www.ohcow.on.ca/avoidnoise/.
The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job. This annual event was initiated by the labour movement 33 years ago to increase awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents. This day of remembrance was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, more than eight years after it was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to raise awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents.
While the National Day of Mourning is now recognized in over 100 countries, including Canada, and is observed each year, there is still a lot of work to accomplish to improve workers’ safety. A number of Canadian legislative provisions dealing with occupational health and safety are deemed exemplary internationally, but most Canadian governments have not provided the necessary resources to ensure they are applied.
At Canada Post, we’ve mourned the loss of workers. We’ve had to go through the grief and pain associated with the death of a sister or brother. This year, on April 28, the CLC will commemorate the Westray Mine disaster, in Nova Scotia, where 26 miners lost their life at work following a methane gas explosion. This tragedy led to the adoption, in March 2004, of Bill C-45 that provides for the attribution of criminal liability to organizations and their representatives who fail to abide by their health and safety obligations.
On April 28, we take the time to remember those who lost their lives, suffered injuries or became disabled on the job. We must all commit to continuing the struggle to force employers and governments to fulfill their obligation to make every workplace a safe and healthy one. We must also continue seeking stronger health and safety standards and protection, and better enforcement in our workplaces.