On April 28th, 2018, Canadians took a moment to pause and pay tribute to victims and survivors of workplace injuries. The National Day Of Mourning, or Workers’ Mourning Day, recognizes and honours the thousands of individuals and families who have had their lives irrevocably changed as a result of an occupational disease or workplace accident.
Workplace Injuries By The Numbers
2017 saw 158 work-related deaths and 106,654 disability and health care claims in British Columbia. On average, 3 work-related deaths were reported each week. The numbers break down as follows:
- 87 deaths were caused by occupational disease
- 71 deaths were caused by catastrophic injury
- There were 5,461 accepted long-term disability claims
- There 52,422 accepted heath care claims
A Shift In Perception Of Workplace Injuries
Recently there has been a shift in the way that we perceive workplace injury or death. Where there used to be a commonly-held belief that only workers employed in physically dangerous positions were at risk, we are now realizing that hazards exist across a range of industries. Diseases such as mesathelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis are being recognized as causes of work-related deaths, even years after the worker has left their job.
The Right To A Safe Workplace
The National Day of Mourning shines a light on an issue that needs our continued attention. Every employee has the right to feel safe and secure at their place of work and employers must commit to creating spaces that are safe and healthy. It is imperative that employees understand their rights and that employers remain committed to providing safe and healthy work environments.
No one should have to navigate workplace safety issues alone. An experienced lawyer can provide practical advice and legal guidance to help ensure that employees get the support that they need.