International Day of Mourning or Workers’ Memorial Day is celebrated every year on April 28. The day’s purpose is to remember and honour those who’ve lost their lives in work-related incidents or to occupational disease.
Although progress has been made in making workplaces safer for workers, more still needs to be done. For example, according to the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, in 2015, there were 852 workplace deaths in Canada.
The province with the most fatalities was Ontario with 281, followed by Québec with 196, Alberta with 125 and BC with 123. Prince Edward Island and the three territories had no fatalities.
As for industry sector, construction had the most fatalities (186), followed by manufacturing (177) and government services (113).
The leading causes of work-related fatalities for 2015 included:
- Exposure to caustic, noxious or allergenic substances (510)
- Highway accident (64)
- Struck by an object (48)
- Fall to a lower level (44).
Also, don’t forget that every death of a worker impacts the worker’s families, friends and co-workers. 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. And learn about the steps you can take to support a worker’s family after a tragedy.
Bottom line: One worker’s death is one too many.
So on April 28, do something to honour those employees who’ve been injured or killed on the job, such as holding a candlelight vigil for those who’ve died or participating in one of the many ceremonies being held across Canada. It’s also a good time to re–new your commitment to creating safe workplaces and to stress the importance of workplace health and safety in general.
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