As we approach the April 28 Day of Mourning, it is appropriate to reflect on the fact that many workers continue to be killed, infected, or seriously injured on the job. Many more have suffered and died from industrial accidents either caused by workplace exposures or inadequate safety measures. In British Columbia, 173 workplace fatalities were reported to BC WCB in 2020.
This is still the tragic reality in many economic sectors. As COVID-19 rages on, we must also now add health care, long-term care, security, transportation/delivery, retail and banking to that growing list of affected workers. As we mourn those fallen heroes, we stand in solidarity with them, their loved ones, colleagues, and friends.
April 28 is our National Day of Mourning to remember workers who have suffered work-related disability, disease and death. The Canadian Labour Congress first declared the Day in 1984. More than 100 countries now observe the Day. The day of observance was passed into legislation by the Workers Mourning Day Act, and encourages all Canadians to remember workers killed and injured in the workplace, or as a result of occupational disease.
Take time to remember
- Attend the virtual Day of Mourning ceremony which begins at 10:30 am on Wednesday, April 28. Encourage others to attend a local virtual event. We may be separated by this pandemic, but we can still be together in grief, condolence and solidarity.
· Consider changing your Facebook profile picture on April 28 to mark the Day of Mourning. The images you need to do this, along with simple instructions can be accessed here.
· Share the poster to honour the memory of all workers who have been killed and injured in the workplace.
· Draft a message for your organization’s publication or website.
· Coordinate a virtual Day of Mourning event in your workplace.
· Observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m.
· Work with local media to promote and cover the Day’s significance and events.
· Convince employers and public institutions to, among other things, lower flags to half-mast.
· Share stories of workers injured and killed on the job – ensure they are not forgotten.
· Update your health and safety knowledge through virtual training and webinars.
- Video about the history of the Day of Mourning. The Day of Mourning – The Untold Story YouTube 11m:40s
· Learn about the Day of Mourning in Schools Project.
· Learn how the BCFED Health & Safety Centre can support your workplace prevention efforts throughout the year: Virtual course offerings
· Download and print the BCFED OH&S Centre DOM Poster.
Every day of the year
- Educate others about health and safety rights, responsibilities and prevention measures.
· Insist on effective workplace prevention programs developed with full worker participation.
· Create monuments to promote public awareness of workplace health and safety.
· Insist on training that supports the identification, assessment and control of workplace hazards.
· Encourage local media to report on health, safety and environmental issues.
· Press elected officials to support stronger regulations and better enforcement of existing laws.
Make time for prevention
- Demand high quality training that promotes a hazard-based approach.
· Become a workplace health and safety representative.
· Identify and report workplace hazards.