April 28, 2016: International Workers’ Memorial Day

Each year on April 28—the International Day of Mourning or Workers’ Memorial Day—organizations and individuals remember those who’ve lost their lives in work-related incidents or to occupational disease.

Despite changes in the OHS laws, improvements in technology and PPE, and other developments and updates that should make workplaces safer, workers continue to die in Canada in significant numbers.

For example, in BC alone, 122 workers died in 2015. According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, in 2014, 919 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada—more than 2.5 deaths every day.

And in just the last month or so, workers across Canada died in these incidents:

  • In Alberta, a 29-year-old welder at a pipeline construction site died after falling about 20 metres from scaffolding.
  • In BC, a city worker was killed when a branch of a damaged tree he was pruning fell on top of him.
  • In Québec, a window-washer died and his son was seriously injured when the crane they were using toppled over; three other workers were treated for shock.
  • In Ontario, a large piece of ice fell from an excavation wall and onto a worker inside a massive pit at a construction site. He died from his injuries.
  • Again in BC, a worker at a pulp mill fell while working around a pile of wood chips and died from his injuries.

Go to the Threads of Life website to read about what Day of Mourning means to families affected by workplace fatalities, life-altering injuries and occupational disease.

The Day of Mourning is also a good time to re–new your commitment to creating safe workplaces. So do something to honour those employees who’ve been injured or killed on the job and stress the importance of workplace safety in general.