April 28 is National Day of Mourning

Remember the dead and take action to save workers’ lives
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April 28, 2010 is the 26th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

List of events marking the Day of Mourning in your community

And health care continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors for B.C. workers. Injury rates in health care are on the rise.

This day is particularly important for HEU/CUPE members as it was CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee, who in 1984, first proposed the idea for a day to honour workers injured or killed at work. This year the National Day of Mourning will be recognized in more than a hundred countries around the world.

HEU’s People with disAbilities Standing Committee (PWD) has chosen the Blue Poppy to represent those workers, and each year promotes awareness of this day by sending Blue Poppy buttons out to all HEU locals.

In preparation for our April 28th Blue Poppy Campaign, our PWD committee is once again sponsoring a contest to raise awareness of people living with disabilities. Many HEU locals will be hosting events on April 28 to mark the Day of Mourning and the committee will be judging the events and announcing the winners after May 14.

Conservative estimates report that on average, three Canadian workers are killed every day. That means in a typical year, there are approximately 1,000 workers killed in Canada. Add these statistics to the approximately one million workplace injuries and thousands of workers that are made sick or diseased by their work or workplaces in Canada.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, reports that more than two million people worldwide die from occupational accidents or work-related diseases every year. The ILO conservatively estimates that there are 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million cases of occupational disease across the globe every year. Many of these injuries are not reported, compensation for workers and their families is limited, and penalties for employers and management are rarely imposed.

But marking the day and remembering the day isn’t enough. Governments everywhere must live up to their obligations to uphold and enforce workplace laws that protect workers’ safety.