For anyone who has had a loved one killed or injured in a workplace incident, it must be hard to think that their death or injury was somehow preventable. But invariably, that’s the case, and that’s why we can never stop looking for ways to make our workplaces safer.
Day of Mourning is being observed across Canada today, April 28. Locally, the Nanaimo-Duncan and District Labour Council is hosting three gatherings on the mid Island today including one at Nanaimo’s Bastion Square Park at noon.
Day of Mourning was first recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984 and was officially proclaimed by the federal government in 1991. It is an occasion for workers and their families and employers to remember those who were killed, injured, or suffered an illness on the job, and it is also a day to renew our commitment to creating safer workplaces.
According to WorkSafe B.C.’s most recent available statistics, 151 workers in B.C. died from workplace injury or disease in 2020, with 63 deaths due to traumatic injury and 88 deaths due to occupational disease. That year there were also more than 90,000 disability and health-care-only claims made, and workplace injury and illness resulted in more than 3.5 million lost days of work. The industry with the highest number of workplace deaths in 2020 was general construction, but WorkSafe B.C. counted one or more workplace deaths in nearly two dozen sectors.
At Day of Mourning gatherings today, people will speak about workplace safety and listen, and take a moment of silence to remember and mourn. Those are some of the things we can do that day. But it will take care, attention, prevention, advocacy and action year-round to ensure that we always come home safe after the work day is done.
-files from Black Press Media