The National Day of Mourning, held annually in Canada on April 28, is dedicated to remembering workers who have lost their lives or suffered a work-related injury or illness.

Latest Statistics for British Columbia

WorkSafeBC report for 2018 shows:

  • 155,753 injuries
  • 190 work-related deaths
  • 50,000 short term disability claims
  • 2.9 million days lost from work

Young workers are particularly vulnerable

When I read the death and injury statistics each year, the section I always stop on is the one showing the injuries and deaths of young workers. According to CCOHS, in 2018, Canada, 27 young workers under 25 years of age died in workplace tragedies. Each death leaves a family devastated, and the lives of friends and co-workers deeply impacted.

I have an 18-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son. The thought of either of them suffering a severe injury in the workplace is unbearable. I can’t imagine how the parents and families of young people who have lost their lives at work can manage to carry on.

Young people must get the right training for the job they are doing. They need to speak up if they don’t feel safe in their workplace or are uncomfortable with the task they have been asked to do because of a lack of knowledge or training.

Story of an injured young worker

In the words of Jack Thomas – an injured young worker:

“I always used to be one of those people that thinks it’s going to happen to somebody else, not myself. That’s not true at all.”

When Jack was 17, his sleeve got caught in a roller while cleaning around a sorting conveyor. Tragically, Jack lost his right arm. Watch this video to learn how Jack courageously came back from his injury.

 

Workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities

Workers have the right to know the hazards in their workplace and participate in health and safety training. They also have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of getting punished or fired.

Employers have a responsibility to provide adequate training for their workers and provide a safe workplace. Young workers often lack the confidence to speak up and ask for additional training. Employers must create an environment where workers feel comfortable to ask questions and share their concerns.

It only takes a second to suffer from a life-changing accident or injury.

Don’t become a statistic in next year’s WorkSafeBC report.

Don’t be the cause of a statistic in next year’s WorkSafeBC report.

Don’t be a reason for someone to light a candle.