There are around a million
workplace injuries a year in Canada
— a compensable injury occurs
every seven seconds each
■ Deaths from workplace injury
average nearly a thousand a year. In
Canada, one worker is killed every
two hours of each working day.
■ Deaths from workplace diseases go
largely unrecorded and
uncompensated; they likely exceed
deaths from workplace injuries.
■ Despite this, many governments are
weakening health and safety rules
and their enforcement.
The Day of Mourning was declared by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. Steve Mahoney, chairman of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, said yesterday's occasion was especially sad with the death of a worker in Mississauga on Thursday and the TTC maintenance driver killed Monday. "Sadly it is a normal week. We lose two workers every week.
Every year on April 28th, the national Day of Mourning is observed to commemorate those killed or hurt by workplace injuries or disease. Last year, 101 people died in Ontario because of traumatic workplace injuries; and more died due to occupational disease.
The numbers are staggering. In Canada, some 855 employees die from work-related incidents each year, averaging more than 2 deaths every day. In fact, in 2005 the average increased to 3 fatalities a day. From 1993 to 2005, more than 11,123 people lost their lives due to workplace incidents. Another 900,000 per year are injured or become ill.
"In 1984, there were 744 workplace fatalities recognized by compensation boards across
Canada," Moist said. "In 2005 there were 1,097 recognized fatalities. As
horrendous as these statistics are, the real picture is even worse because
compensation boards do not recognize a number of occupational illnesses."
Since 1984 more than 19,000 Canadian workers have been killed on the job
and more than 20,000,000 have been injured. The Centre for the Study of Living
Standards reported that in 2005 the incidence of workplace fatalities in
Canada was 6.8 per 100,000 workers, up from 5.9 per 100,000 workers in 1993.
"This workplace carnage has to stop and it can stop if governments put
their efforts into prevention programs and enforcing legislation," said Claude
Généreux, CUPE national secretary-treasurer.
In 2005 1,097* workplace deaths were recorded in Canada - up from 928
deaths the previous year. This 18% increase was driven mostly by the
rise in fatality rate from occupational disease, which accounted for
50.8% of all fatalities. Asbestos-related deaths make up more than half
of this number - as well as almost a third of all workplace fatalities.
SFL Lending Voice to Mourning Day Protest
100-thousand people a year die from exposure to Asbestos. That's according to the World Health Organization.
Canada exports over 200-thousand metric tonnes of Asbestos, mined in Quebec, to poor Asian countries that have few regulatory systems in place to deal with protecting those who work with the product.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is supporting an American protest at the Canadian Embassy in Washington Saturday against the use of asbestos in third world countries.
Today is the International Day of Mourning for workers killed in their workplaces.TRAIL, B.C. -- This year's day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job will be particularly emotional given Monday's railway tragedy, say local organizers.
It is a really sad situation any time you have someone die on the job or any other place," said Al Graham, president of the West Kootenay Labour Council. "To have it happen only days before makes (the event) all the more sad and poignant."
The death of Lonnie Plasko in Monday's CP Rail accident in Trail will be noted at Saturday's ceremony, but the focus will remain on the safety of all workers, added Graham, a Teck Cominco plant worker and Trail city councillor.
"There are no accidents on the job site, only mistakes . . . Lonnie rode the train to the end to prevent others from being injured. Only time will tell what caused the problem. Our condolences go out to his family, and to all the families."
The international day has been marked for 25 years, "and the message is always the same: mourn for the dead and fight for the living," Graham said.
In B.C. last year, 160 workers died on the job or from occupational diseases, including four people who were asphyxiated in May at Teck's closed Sullivan Mine in Kimberley. There were 188 deaths in 2005 and a 10-year average of 150.
"Alberta has little to boast about in the area of workplace safety," says
AFL President Gil McGowan. "Workplace accidents are on the rise, despite - or
maybe because of - the boom."
"Alberta workplaces kill 2 1/2 workers each week. Is that the price of
prosperity?" McGowan asks. "If so, it is too high for me."
In 2006, 124 workers were killed due to work, and an additional 20
farmworker fatalities, who are not included in official figures. "There were
over 181,000 reported accidents last year in Alberta," observes McGowan. "An
increase of 7.4% in one year."
"Why do so many workers die, year after year, with apparently little
progress? The answer I come up with is because none of us make occupational
health and safety the priority it needs to be."
"The government is in denial, and employers are too interested in their
growing profit margins to take safety seriously," notes McGowan. "To hear
government spin doctors' talk, you would think we have the safest workplaces
in the world. However, their rhetoric is made up of misleading statistics and
McGowan argues accidents are on the rise because workplaces are too busy
and corners are being cut on safety. "Employers have the money right now to
ensure safety equipment and procedures are in place. By not doing it, they are
failing in their legal and moral responsibility."
Alberta Workplace Fatalities
- In 2006, 124 workers were killed, plus 20 farmworkers
- In 2005, 144 workers were killed, plus 14 farmworkers
- This is the 10th straight year with more than 100 fatalities
- 613 workers have been killed in the last five years
- Since 1905, 9,466 workers have been killed due to work (not including
- According to Statistics Canada, Alberta has the fourth highest
fatality rate in Canada (deaths per 100,000 workers):
- Territories: 27.4
- Newfoundland: 11.7
- B.C.: 8.9
- Alberta: 8.0
- Ontario 6.5
- Quebec: 6.0
- PEI: 1.5 (lowest in Canada)
Alberta Safety Statistics
- Number of reported workplace accidents, 2006: 181,159
- An increase of 7.4% from 2005
- Up 23.8% since 2000
- Number of person/days lost to injury, 2006: 1,477,000 (up 9.7% from
- Percentage drop in WCB Premiums 2005 to 2006: 9.0%
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