How many of you knew that yesterday was the National Day of Mourning here in Canada and Workers' Memorial Day in the United States and much of the rest of the world?
Having a day to remember and honour those who have died while at work was an idea first suggested at the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. By 1989 the AFL-CLC had adopted the idea in the U.S. and in 1991 the Canadian government passed legislation approving April 28th as the National Day of Mourning. Of course this year's ceremonies took place virtually.
Why April 28th? Because on that date in 1914 the pioneering legislation, the first Workers Compensation Act was passed here in Ontario. Today working for greater on-the-job safety is as important as remembering the dead. On-the-job injuries vastly exceed fatalities, and leave behind workers who may be impacted for life.
We feel a personal connection of course as our son William was killed while at work as a water bomber pilot. However, I have the impression the the day of mourning is recognized and remembered mainly by those involved in the labour movement. I was aware of it, but just in passing, 'out of the corner if my eye' so to speak. We think more immediately of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Canadian Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa.
The statistics are frightening. In Ontario there were 81 fatalities in 2018, and 56,000 injuries. There were considerably more deaths from occupationally related diseases. To cite just one statistic, another 12-15 workers will die in the U.S. today, and every day. Thankfully these deaths and injury rates have improved significantly over the past 50 years.
We can add a tragic footnote to this during the current pandemic as health care workers who die or fall ill will be among these numbers.
So think of those health care workers who are literally risking illness or death every time they go to work and don't complain about being asked to simply stay home!
I agree, they are willing to go, risking that virus taking over in their own lives , in some small rest homes the workers moved in during our lockdown, as it is impossible to keep that distance when caring for anyone, they left their own families, in some cases small children, as the Dad would have been at home . Tuesday we went to a lower alert level 3, and there were huge crowds at takeaway places, MacDonalds, Burger Fuel, and more. How hard is it really to go 4 weeks without a hamburger!!!!!ReplyDelete
Work place injuries decreased as laws increased. Now the health workers are at such risk.ReplyDelete
Many of the the advances in Health and Safety are due to the good work of unions and workplace representatives who assist companies in their day today operations.ReplyDelete
Times have changed for the better making everyone aware of workplace dangers.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately the numbers among Frontline workers will Skyrocket due to this Pandemic.
A Day of Mourning must be exceptionally sad for you and your family who have lost so much. I am so sorry for your loss.I hope you stay well.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, all too often deaths, injuries and illness from on-the-job factors are just considered a cost of doing business. For a short while I was the safety officer for the district in which I worked -- but I pointed out too many issues and someone else was given that task.ReplyDelete
I am one of those who did not know about the day of mourning.ReplyDelete
I missed the day of Mourning but your post brings it home. Thankfully, workplace safety practices have improved. Even though when we worked, and we grumbled at some of the procedures, they make total sense.ReplyDelete
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20 I have never heard of the Day of Mourning, but it is one that should be more well known. I spent decades in an aircraft factory – I was never sick, but I did get injured, about 5 or 6 times – brain concussions, metal in my eye, falls because of what had been left on the floor. The worse fall was in 1993 and workman’s compensation doctors did not treat it right so now in my old age my ankle is always painful and it is difficult to walk. I feel for all the health workers right now who do not have adequate protection. I worry about my son-in-law who is an ER physician – he does not come home at night anymore so he won’t bring the virus to the family.ReplyDelete
i did not know...i thought of william immediately!!!ReplyDelete
I spent most of my working life in the construction industry - a deadly occupation if ever there was one.ReplyDelete
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