Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh says 2020 marks the first time that we are not able to gather and mark April 28, the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed our day to day life in Nova Scotia, Canada and around the world.
“In 2019, 22 workers died in Nova Scotia at or because of work. Twenty-two families suffered through the loss of a family member because of work – a devastating reminder about the importance of workplace safety.
“The number of fatalities in 2019 reminds us just how much work remains and with employers, our unions, workers and our other health and safety partners, we can work towards ensuring every worker returns home at the end of the day safe and sound,” says Cavanagh.
Every year in Canada, almost 1000 workers lose their lives on the job. Their deaths are preventable and should not happen.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought to a harsh light to what frontline and essential workers face every day in their workplaces.
“They are the ones who are going to keep us all safe. If their workplaces are not safe and if they’re not given the equipment they need then the rest of are not going to be safe. We implore all employers to make sure workers on the frontline have the personal protective equipment during this time and for everybody to stay safe,” Cavanagh says.
He said that now is not the time to abandon the tools that we know make workplaces safer, and ultimately save workers’ lives. We will make sure that employers and governments understand that the basic rights that underpin our workplace health and safety systems are more important now than ever. We will stand up for a worker’s 1. Right to know about the dangers in their workplace, 2. Right to participate in workplace health and safety activities, and ultimately the 3. Right to refuse unsafe work.
“But our call goes beyond that. We urge all employers is to keep all workplaces safe and healthy all the time and for governments to make sure that they have the strictest laws and the best prevention strategies, the best enforcement that we can have.
“We will not relent on our dedication to safe workplaces and on this Day of Mourning, we reaffirm our solidarity and commitment to workplace health and safety and as we mourn the dead, we pledge to continue fighting for the living,” Cavanagh says.
The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour will post a Day of Mourning video on April 28 at 11 am on its Facebook Page. We are urging our members to observe a moment of silence to remember the workers we have lost.