On April 28, take a moment to reflect and observe Canada's National Day of Mourning. This day commemorates and remembers all the workers who have been tragically lost, maimed, or permanently injured while on the job.
The National Day of Mourning traces its roots back to Sudbury, Ontario in 1984 when it was known as Workers' Memorial Day. Since then, it has grown to become a
national recognized day in Canada and is observed internationally in more than 80 countries worldwide.
While workplace safety is a more popular and known topic than it has been in the past, many people are still unaware of the scope and magnitude of the losses faced by working Canadians every year. The Canadian Center for Occupational Safety breaks down the grim statistics for us - between 1995 to 2014, 18,039 people have lost their lives due to work-related causes. That's a staggering number. More than two people never make it home to their families at the end of every work day.
Sadly, those statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands more injured every day, left with permanent disabilities,
life long conditions, and diminished expectations. There is also the ripple effect to consider, everyone else who is affected by a tragedy in the workplace. Spouses, family members, friends, and co-workers, everyone feels the impact of a death or serious injury in the workplace. The damage isn't limited to just one person, it's felt by the entire community.
While Canada's National Day or Mourning is a day to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives or been injured on the job, it also represents an opportunity for businesses everywhere to reflect on their own policies and procedures.
Make April 28 a day to take stock. Review your business' safety measures, identify key risks in the workplace and formulate a plan to reduce the chances of injury or fatality to the smallest degree possible. Take a moment to schedule training refreshers for staff. Develop an emergency response plan that will allow your business to react quickly and efficiently to any sudden crisis or harm. And yes, review your insurance protection to make sure that your business and employees have the best safety net possible if tragedy ever strikes.
We don't need to live in a world where going to work means taking your life in your hands. By working together and taking the appropriate precautions, everyone can make it home alive at the end of a workday.