On April 28 of each year, we honour workers who have lost their lives as a result of workplace injury or disease with the Day of Mourning. The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, don ribbons or black armbands and observe a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. Businesses are asked to participate by striving to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries, and publicly renewing their commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace.
This day 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.
Although April 28 has been singled out, making workplaces safer should be a daily effort.
Every day, employers are called to provide safe workplaces with appropriate safety equipment and, most importantly, with sufficient training for all workers. Workers must recognize that they have a right to a safe workplace, to educate themselves about safety issues in their industry and to speak up when conditions are not safe.
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor