“How long, O Christ, shall we wait for thy law to be understood?” ~ W. Frank Hatheway, “The Cry of Labor” (1906)
We all work for a living, we spend the majority of our life employed and we don’t know whether we die on the job. Is today the day we die at work?
God I hope now. I work for a living, not for a dying is what I facetiously tell my friends.
People die at work, and that is a fact. Every day, there are countless of work-related injuries that cause death and the worker will never come home again.
- Dead because their employer failed to ensure a safe work environment.
- Dead because the worker suffered a heart attack or committed suicide due to bullying and harassment.
- Dead because of toxic chemicals exposure.
- Dead because of an attack due to violence at work.
Workplace death or injury is preventable, including violence, exposure to toxic chemicals, repetitive stress injuries, bullying and harassment and poor ergonomics.
To add to the casualties, there are unreported deaths unrecognized as occupational disease or some have resulted in suicide for not receiving proper compensation and care due to systemic problems.
When death comes in the workforce, we mourn. April 28 is a National day of Mourning in Canada. This day is now commemorated worldwide and it began in Canada. It is an annual day of observance to remember family, friends and colleagues killed or injured on the job. It is also a day to organize and mobilize workers and employer to strive for safe work conditions for all.
Praying, remembering, and mourning are not enough.
The government legislated that all employers call to educate, to work, to provide, to dedicate and to manage a safety and healthy work atmosphere to prevent death or injuries at the workplace.
It’s not a matter of should, it’s a must that workers and employers work together in achieving safer jobs and healthier work situations.
I am a casualty of a work injury, and I am in a perpetual mourning ever since. My body and mind are having difficult forgetting that it happened. Unfortunately, the scar of the incidents will remain for the rest of my life. To go through the process of asking for help and restitution are more painful than the injury itself.
This reminds me of the quote from Maya Angelou from this post. It’s hard to overlook the issue especially when I am having trouble to forgive.
To this date, I continue to seek the help of healthcare, labor force and management in providing me with a safe work environment so I may be able to perform my job effectively and efficiently. I am hoping that one doesn’t have to beg or fight for occupational safety because I don’t want to die at work.
But the struggle is far from over.