Do you know why April 28 is an important day for your business each year? It’s the national Day of Mourning, an annual event remembering the people who have lost their lives to a work-related incident or occupational disease. It’s also a reminder of how you can make a significant difference in the lives of the people who depend on and work for your business by renewing your commitment to a healthy and safe workplace. The list of those who could be affected include employees and their loved ones, and you and your family.
Last year, 158 British Columbians died from work-related injuries and occupational disease. That’s 158 families whose worlds will never be the same. The workplaces will never be the same either, as employers, co-workers, and customers all feel the impact of loss. A workplace death can be especially devastating to a small business.
The Day of Mourning and Your Business
No matter the size of your firm, you can make April 28 count in your workplace in a number of ways:
- Attend a Day of Mourning ceremony and encourage your staff to do the same. Visit bc.ca for a list of all of the ceremonies in B.C.
- Conduct your annual review of your health and safety programs. This helps ensure that you, and the people who work for you, stay safe on the job.
- Commit to a workplace culture built on health and safety, to reduce injury, illness, and death. Even one work-related death is too many.
Health and Safety is Good Business
Helping people work safely is the right thing to do. It’s also your responsibility as an employer and it adds lasting value to your business.
By preventing incidents from occurring, you can keep your operation running, improve your overall bottom line and — most importantly — keep your employees healthy and safe.
As an added benefit, your health and safety culture can give you a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining staff. People want to work for, and stay with, employers who show they care about the well-being of staff.
How to Get Started
An effective program for your workplace should include:
- Health and safety education and training for new and young workers
- A plan to hold regular safety meetings and safety inspections
- Descriptions of employer, supervisor, and worker responsibilities
- A schedule for regular maintenance and updating of the safety program
Creating and maintaining an effective health and safety plan doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. WorkSafeBC has partnered with Small Business BC to provide the tools and resources you need.
You can get started with these two guides designed specifically for small business owners:
- The Small Business Primer. It explains how WorkSafeBC partners with you to keep people safe and healthy.
- The Small Business Health and Safety Log Book. It’s designed for businesses with one to five employees. Its checklists and blank forms offer step-by-step assistance.
WorkSafeBC’s website offers a variety of other practical and informative videos, meeting guides, and training materials.
Even One Work-related Death is Too Many
National Day of Mourning on April 28 serves as a reminder of the terrible human cost of work-related death. Your business plays an important role in keeping people safe. It’s up to all of us to do everything we can each day to make sure all people in this province go home from work in the same physical condition as when they arrive.