IAPA Press Releases

Press Release
April 19, 2006

Working to Death –
Millions Die Each Year Due To Work-Related Accidents and Diseases
April 28th Is National Day of Mourning and World Day For Safety and Health At Work

Toronto, Ontario – April 19, 2006 – Each year, an estimated two million men and women around the world die as a result of occupational injuries and work-related diseases1. April 28, 2006 is the National Day of Mourning and the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, two occasions that honour workers across the country, and around the world, who have been injured, killed, or disabled on the job, or who suffer from occupational diseases. IAPA (Industrial Accident Prevention Association) asks employers and workers across Canada to make April 28th the day they renew their commitment to making occupational health and safety a real priority in the workplace.

“Health and safety excellence in the workplace doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey that begins with a company taking five simple steps: showing commitment to workplace health and safety at the CEO and senior management level, having the participation of workers, having an effective Joint Health and Safety Committee, complying with legislative regulations, and equipping staff through training and education with an occupational health and safety skill-set,” says IAPA President and CEO Maureen Shaw. “In time, a fully-integrated health and safety culture will develop and enhance the overall quality and productivity of the work environment, which is safer for a company’s workforce and better for a business’ bottom line.”

Nationally2, did you know that:

  • in 2004, more than 900 people died as a result of work-related accidents or diseases?
  • these 900 deaths mean, on average, that close to four workers are killed every working day?
  • in 2004, more than 340,000 workers were injured seriously enough to prevent them from reporting to work for at least one day?
  • nearly one million work-related injuries and diseases are reported each year in Canada?
  • more than $12 billion is the total amount of compensation paid to work accident victims or their families and other economic costs of work-related injuries?

Internationally3, did you know that:

  • each day, an average of 6,000 people die as a result of work-related accidents or diseases, which means there are more than 2.2 million work-related deaths a year?
  • approximately 350,000 deaths are from workplace accidents and more than 1.7 million are from
    work-related diseases?
  • each year, workers suffer approximately 270 million occupational accidents that lead to absences from work for three days or more?
  • approximately 4% of the world’s gross domestic product is lost with the cost of injury, death, and disease through absence from work, sickness treatment, disability, and survivor benefits?

“The sad fact is that workplace fatalities, injuries, and diseases are preventable, but too many organizations haven’t yet made that commitment to making workers’ health and safety a real business priority. It’s shameful in a way, that we need a day to remind society that people are dying or being injured as a result of the work they do and that this is morally, socially, and economically unacceptable” adds Shaw.

As part of the global effort to spread awareness about occupational injuries and work-related diseases, Maureen Shaw will be the keynote speaker at a World Day for Safety and Health at Work conference being held in Valencia, Spain on April 27 and 28, 2006. The conference will be focusing on the protection of workers and Shaw’s remarks will address the issue of corporate social responsibility.

April 28, 2006 is the 22nd year that Canadians have commemorated the National Day of Mourning. In 1984, the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28th as the annual day of remembrance for workers who have been killed and injured on the job. April 28th was chosen because it was on this day in 1914 that the third reading of the Workmen’s Compensation Act took place. On December 28, 1990, the Government of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act, establishing April 28th as the official National Day of Mourning.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is intended to focus international attention on promoting and creating a preventative safety and health culture at work to help reduce the number of work-related deaths each year. World Day for Safety and Health at Work came about in 2001 when the International Labour Organization began to observe the day as an occasion for stressing the prevention of illness and injuries at work. April 28th is also the day that the world’s trade union movement has long been associated with recognizing victims of occupational death, injury, or disease.

IAPA is a not-for-profit, member driven organization operating in Ontario since 1917. Representing more than 50,000 member firms and in excess of 1.5 million Ontario workers, IAPA is Canada’s leading workplace health and safety organization. The association is focused on providing industry-leading training, consulting, educational products, and informational services that meet members’ needs and the needs of those in their communities.

In 2004, IAPA was officially designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in occupational health, one of only three such centres in Canada. IAPA is the only centre among 56 worldwide to assume the title of a "WHO Collaborating Centre for Workplace Illness and Injury Prevention.” IAPA is also an International Labour Organization – CIS Collaborating Centre, a designation received in 2002.

For more information on IAPA’s products, programs, and services, call 1-800-406-IAPA (4272), or visit its website at www.iapa.ca.

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For more information:

Jennifer Pugsley
Communications and PR Specialist
Tel: 905-614-4272, ext. 2233
Toll-free: 1-800-406-4272, ext. 2233
E-mail: jpugsley@iapa.ca


1 International Labour Organization
2 Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (Financial and Statistical Data – Key Statistical Measures 2000-2004)
3 International Labour Organization