May 04, 2010

April 28: Remember the dead, fight for the living

BURNABY—April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured as a result of unhealthy work environments.

This day is particularly important for 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 will mark the 26th National Day of Mourning and it will be recognized in more than a hundred countries around the world.

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.

Today in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, ceremonies are being held to recognize workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace during the last year.

Three CUPE members lost their lives while on the job this past year.

Go to the calendar of upcoming events to check on Day of Mourning ceremonies in your area. Please send photos of events in your area and we will post them to our photo gallery.

COPE 491