|On the National Day of Mourning tomorrow, April 28, Canadians will pay tribute to workers who have been killed, injured or made ill in the workplace and to renew our commitment to preventing further tragedies.
It is also a day on which to renew organizational commitments to preventing future workplace tragedies, says Anne Tennier, president and CEO at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) in Hamilton, Ont.
“On this day, we encourage workplaces to renew their commitment to safety as we remember those touched by tragic events from their work,” says Tennier.
Injuries and deaths in the workplace continue to be a matter of important concern across Canada. Many Canadians members work hard each day in an effort to minimize accidents and incidents. Risk is an inherent element of many jobs, and this is why safety should be one of the core values in any workplace.
The purpose of Day of Mourning is twofold in that we remember and honour those lives lost or injured in the workplace showing respect for the fallen, while serving as a reminder of the importance of occupational health and safety. An opportunity to renew our commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace – to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work. Injuries can result from inadequate training, orientation, and supervision; inexperience; and lack of awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities.
This year is also especially poignant as we pay tribute to those essential and frontline workers who fight for us, sacrifice their health — and even their lives — as they continue to serve during the pandemic.
This fight is being waged in large measure by frontline responders, from the medical workers risking their lives to the delivery people, aviation inspectors, health and safety officers, airport employees, grocery store workers to food processors, all have spent much of the pandemic worried about their safety. Our hardworking public servants have always played an essential role but have never had such public acknowledgment of their value.
For instance, many people went to the grocery store each week and never really considered the person who was inspecting the food, putting the food on the shelf and checking them out or making sure there was fresh meat and produce on the counter; or the employees working to keep the airports and trains running safely. COVID has exposed the importance of this work.
The pandemic highlighted not only the essential role of front-line workers but also some of the gaps in support for them. From staffing shortages in long-term care homes that amplified the devastation of the disease to pushes for national sick pay and child-care programs, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change.
The Regional Health and Safety Committee encourages all PSAC members across the Prairie Region to attend local National Day of Mourning observances. The below events that have been confirmed will be held via Zoom or other online platforms.