Commemorating workers whose lives have been lost or injured in the workplace. The numbers are staggering. In Canada, some 786* employees die from work-related incidents each year, averaging more than 2 deaths every day. From 1993 to 2006, 11,002 people lost their lives due to workplace incidents. Another 900,000** per year are injured or become ill.
Making workplaces safer is, or should be, a daily effort. But April 28 has been singled out to offer employees and employers the opportunity to remember the dead, injured and ill as well as publicly renew their commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace.
The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.
The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, don ribbons and black armbands and observe moments of silence. Businesses are asked to participate by declaring April 28 a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety hopes that the annual observance of this day will strengthen the resolve to establish safe conditions in the workplace for all. It is as much a day to remember the dead as it is a call to protect the living.
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