Today is the 28th of April, the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed at Work.
Each year in Canada workers, employers and citizens gather to pay their respects to people killed at work. This is as important a day in my mind as November 11. Why?
- I believe that everyone who wants to contribute to society should be able to work and be paid a fair wage for their efforts.
- I believe that everyone who goes to work is entitled to a safe workplace.
- I believe that everyone who goes to work is entitled to go home to their lives, their loved ones, their hopes and dreams every day.
- I believe that a safe workplace is a productive workplace.
- I believe that engineers, technologists, technicians, tradespersons and others that design, build, maintain and modify machinery have an ethical and moral obligation to ensure the ongoing safety of those that use the products that result from their work.
Every year in Canada hundreds of people die at work. As you can see, despite increasing efforts to regulate safety in the workplace, the annual toll as shown by the red trend line continues to rise.
These figures come from the National Work Injury Statistics Program (NWISP), and the source chart can be found here.
What can we do to reverse this trend? I think we need to “be the change we want to see in the world’, making certain that we take the time to understand the regulations and standards that apply to our designs, that we implement the best technological solutions in those designs, and that we ensure that we do not endanger others by rendering those safety systems ineffective.
Today, take a moment to pause at 11:00 and be silent. Light a candle or hold a vigil. You won’t be alone. Then, work for change.
These are just some of the reasons why this day is so important to me. What about you? Do you know someone whose life ended at work? Do you know a family that has been affected by a workplace injury or fatality? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments!