Workers' Memorial Day, also known as International Workers' Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured, takes place annually on April 28 around the world. It is an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work. Read ahead to know about the history and significance of International Workers' Memorial Day.
International Workers' Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. The slogan for the day is ‘Remember the dead – Fight for the living’. Although April 28 is used as the focal point for remembrance and a day of international solidarity, campaigning and other related activities continue throughout the year around the world.
In 1989, the AFL-CIO declared April 28 as the International Workers’ Memorial Day in honour of the hundreds of thousands of working people killed and injured on their job every year. April 28 is the anniversary of the date the 'Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970)' that went into effect, and when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (1971) was formed. Previously in 1984, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) established a day of mourning. The Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28, which is the anniversary of a comprehensive Workers' Compensation Act (refer to the entry Workplace Safety & Insurance Board), passed in 1914. In 1991, the Canadian parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, later making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day, around the globe.
Workers’ Memorial Day is now an international day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work, and annually on April 28, International Workers' Memorial Day, events are held throughout the world. Some examples include active campaigning and workplace awareness events. Public events include speeches, multi-faith religious services, laying wreaths, planting trees, unveiling monuments, balloon releases, raising public awareness of issues and laying out empty shoes to symbolise those who have died at work.