Today marks the National Day of Mourning in remembrance of Canadian workers killed either on the job or from work-related diseases. Its a sombre day and an important one. I'll be the first to admit that prior to moving here I didn't really think all that much about safety on the job. Mainly this was because my work environment and the nature of my work were very different from what it is now. I recall a time about 10 years ago when I had to evacuate a school because of a fire alarm. Yes, the building was actually on fire as it turned out but fortunately no one was hurt). Other than this one incident I haven't really run into any other situation that I would consider life-threatening.
Since moving here I have had a couple of scary moments where the risk of severe injury was very real. I came close to potentially losing part of a finger when working closely with a forklift and I've had a truck and trailer back in to me. In both cases they can be chalked up to simple inattention and a desire to "get the job done". I pride myself on a good work ethic, though these were times when it came back to bite me in the ass a bit. Anyhow, needless to say, I appreciate the importance of a strong safety culture and strive towards there never being a "next time."
In my situation, events unfolded well but it is on this day that I am cognizant of the fact that for 145 other individuals in 2012, events did not turn out okay. 145 is the number of people killed on the job across Canada. But it is more than that....what this number doesn't tell you are the number of spouses that were left struggling, the number of people that lost a good childhood friend or the number of kids who now have to deal with the fact that mom or dad isn't going to be coming through that front door after work anymore.
Take a moment, if you will, to think about workplace safety and remember those who lost their lives on the job. Thanks.