Today, the Canadian flag is flown at half-mast on all federal buildings across Canada, companies and workers will observe moments of silence, candles will be lit, and some workers will don ribbons and black armbands. All to commemorate the workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness due to workplace related incidents or hazards.
Workers Memorial Day began in Sudbury, Ontario in 1984, and the Canadian Labour Congress official declared it an annual day of remembrance in 1985. It later became a nation observance with the passing of the Workers Mourning Day Act in 1990, and has since grown to be observed in over 100 countries including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Today serves two purposes- remembering and honouring those lives lost or injured on the job and to renew the commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace, preventing future injuries, deaths, and illnesses.
Make time Today
If there’s an event near you, take some time to attend it in honour of those who died or were injured on the job, also make sure to partake in and promote the day in your workplace.
Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and are subjected to some 160 million incidents of work-related illnesses; more than two million men and women die as a result of these work-related accidents or illnesses each year.
Use this day as a reminder of the importance of safety in the workplace, take a look at your own workplace and identify and fix hazards before they result in injuries or fatalities. As important as it is to remember those who have been injured or killed, prevention is also very important because it can help lower these numbers in the years to come.