Each April 28th serves as an opportunity to pay our respects to the thousands of workers that have been killed, injured or suffered illness resulting from work-related incidents and to reexamine the safety practices in our workplaces.
The National Day of Mourning was established in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress and was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991. The observance of this day, also known as Workers' Memorial Day, has spread to over 80 countries worldwide. Observance of this day is being heavily promoted by the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) on radio and television.
This holiday remains important because despite increased health and safety awareness, workplace accidents and fatalities still happen. This week alone, a collision near a construction site near an Ottawa highway killed one worker and left another in critical condition. Also this week, management at a Cochrane, Ontario mine were charged with criminal negligence causing death following an accident in 2015.
In 2014, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada recorded 919 workplace deaths in Canada. That represents more that’s 2.5 deaths every day according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. In Ontario, a total of 1,147 critical injuries (not necessarily fatal) were reported to the Ministry of Labour in the period of 2014-2015.
Ontario's WSIB encourages businesses to participate in this day by observing a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.. The goal of this annual observance is to create awareness about the importance of Health & Safety Programs in the Workplace and establishing safe work conditions for all. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety states: "It is as much a day to remember the dead as it is a call to protect the living."
Maintaining a "culture of safety" at your business is critical for protecting the well-being of your employees and for creating a productive, effective working environment. Not meeting the required standards can result in fines, lost productivity and direct involvement by the Ministry.
Clear Path recommends the following tips for implementing and managing your Health & Safety Program:
• Create and Maintain a written health and safety policy and program
• Ensure that your company complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations
• Documented system for identifying, reporting and responding to hazards
• Establish safe practices, procedures and controls for the hazards identified
• Provide training to all employees: managers, supervisors and workers
• Communicate regularly with employees about foreseeable health and safety hazards
• Allocate adequate time and resources to the health and safety program
• Monitor and audit your program on a regular basis
If you have questions about your company's Health & Safety program or would like to speak to an expert, please don't hesitate to contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (519) 624-0800.
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