Take Action on April 28 to Prevent Workplace Injury and Death

April 18, 2011, 12:15 PM EST

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The National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured as a result of their job is Thursday, April 28.

CAW President Ken Lewenza is calling for continued vigilance and stricter enforcement of health and safety protections by provincial and federal officials as well as the vigorous prosecution of employers when their actions cause death or serious injury.

"There are approximately one million workplace injuries a year in Canada and over a thousand Canadian families are wrought with pain and suffering when a loved one does not return home from their job," Lewenza said.

CAW locals continue to address hazardous working conditions through joint health and safety committees and through collective bargaining, Lewenza states in an April 12 letter to CAW locals. However occupational hazards remain in workplaces and new risks continue to be identified.

Musculoskeletal injuries remain the single largest classification of worker injuries and violence is spilling into workplaces, counting nurses, teachers, public transit employees, retail workers and many others as victims. Occupational stressors are also becoming more significant, affecting the health of workers in all industries.

Special prosecutors have been appointed in Nova Scotia and in Manitoba, while in Ontario and Quebec criminal charges have been laid against employers. But, Lewenza said, more prosecutions are needed to send a message.

It is at the discretion of law enforcement officers to conclude what charges are laid if any. Provincial and territorial governments must appoint and train special Crown prosecutors to vigorously prosecute employers when their actions cause death or serious injury. All levels of government must commit to law enforcement education and training.

On April 28 Lewenza urged participants to remember those who have lost their lives, have been injured or become ill due to work.

But he also urged Day of Mourning participants to call local police chiefs and commissioners to tell them that employers who kill must have charges laid, resulting in convictions which include jail time.

To read the sample letters to local police commissioners and politicians, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/8782.htm

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