April 28th is soon approaching and in Canada it is the day of mourning for workers killed or injured in the workplace.
I recently posted some promotional material for North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, which is being held on May 1-7, 2011. Another date to remember here in Canada is April 28, the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. This is an important event for those with an interest in safety in Canada. It is our somber reminder of the personal, family and community impact of under- and un-controlled workplace hazards.
The Day of Mourning has been observed in Canada for many years as a result of the leadership of the Canadian Labour Congress. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), the Day of Mourning was recognized by the Government of Canada in 1991 and on this day every year the flag is lowered to half mast on Parliament Hill.
Over the years, many employers have felt uncomfortable honouring this day, but today more and more workplaces and communities take part. It’s not about who’s to blame, it’s about who’s going to stop the tragedy in Canadian workplaces. We all have a role to play in making work safe.
A recent focus by the CLC and other labour groups in Canada is the need to enhance accountability through greater enforcement of health and safety laws. I believe that accountability is a key factor in motivating individuals and organizations to act as they should. While health and safety laws in Canada are based on the principles of internal responsibility and voluntary compliance, the threat of enforcement and its subsequent impact on organizational stability and reputation drives a lot of due diligence and injury prevention in workplaces across the country. There are quite a few other very good reasons for protecting people on the job, but knowing that someone is watching is a good thing.
Here are a few other links that you might want to check out for information about the Day of Mourning:
- Government of Canada – Day of Mourning Page
- BC Day of Mourning - www.dayofmourning.bc.ca
- National Day of Mourning Wiki – Canadian Observance
- Alberta WCB – Day of Mourning Page
- Workers Health and Safety Centre Events Page
- Day of Mourning Facebook Page – Ontario WSIB/CUPE
- Nova Scotia Day of Mourning Page
I really like what BC and Nova Scotia have done with their Day of Mourning websites. Please do check them out.
Another interesting take on April 28th is from the International Labour Organization (ILO). They have taken the Day of Mourning and turned it into World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The theme this year for the ILO observance is “OSH management system: A tool for continual improvement”.
Please do mark April 28h on your calendar to observe a moment of silence and remembrance for those killed or injured at work. Also, take a moment to think about those who are still with us and what you can do to keep them coming home at the end of the work day. The Day of Mourning is a reminder of the importance of our work and it is our call to action to save lives and make work better.
Cause safety to happen on April 28th and every other day in your workplace…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy
The Wednesday of NAOSH Week is a special day – Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day. This day is celebrated across North America and it recognizes the amazing contribution of safety professionals in workplaces and communities.
Safety professionals are tasked with guiding organizations, leaders and workers to an understanding of workplace risks and required control measures so that the health and safety of people, property and the environment is protected. Every day, hundreds of thousands of companies and institutions in Canada and the United States rely on these professionals as internal resources or external advisors to make sure their people get to go home at the end of the work day.
Safety professionals save lives, improve working conditions and are a vital part of an organization’s corporate social responsibility promise.
Here’s a short video from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) about the value of OSH Professionals:
…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy