April 28 has been recognized as a National Day of Mourning since the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act in 1990. The National Day of Mourning is now observed in nearly 100 countries through safety and education focused events and remembrance ceremonies. The National Day of Mourning is not only a day to remember, but a day to renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace, and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
In 2016, 902 workers died as a result of workplace incidents or illnesses in Canada, six were between the ages of 15-19, and 20 between 20-24 years old. That same year, a total of 241,508 lost time claims were registered with the various provincial workers' compensation boards across Canada.
Although staggering, these numbers do not consider the impact on families, friends and colleagues of those seriously injured or killed as a result of a workplace injury or illness. In many cases, entire communities are impacted by these tragedies. Organizations like Threads for Life, and regional injured worker advocacy groups support those affected by workplace incidents through education and support to those left behind.
It’s important for all of us, as a community and workplace, to come together and pay tribute to those who have died on the job, and to offer our support to their loved ones who must carry on.
This guest post was written by Joe LeBlanc, Safety Manager with Commissionaires Nova Scotia (CNS). Today CNS management attended the third annual Day of Mourning event hosted by Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB). This event allows HHB employees, vendors and contractors to come together in remembrance. The flags are flying at half-mast at CNS Headquarters, in honour of those killed or injured in workplace incidents.
About Joe LeBlanc
Since August 2014, Mr. LeBlanc has worked with CNS to improve their safety culture through education, awareness and strong advocacy for prevention. He ensures all commissionaires have a voice and opportunity to be an active participant in safety.
At the May 2016 Mainstay Excellence in Workplace Safety Awards Celebration, Joe was presented with the Individual Safety Champion Award – HRM. It is an award granted to an individual whose contribution has made an exceptional difference to health and safety in the workplace.