Workers’ Memorial Week is a week of action planned around Workers’ Memorial Day, which is commemorated on April 28th each year. During this week we remember those who lost their lives, were injured, or suffered illnesses at work.
Workers’ Memorial Week is a chance to encourage healing, build worker power and community, and escalate your campaigns. Worker leaders, organizers, surviving family members and activists around the world come together during Workers’ Memorial Week to take action and renew their commitment to fight for safe workplaces.
International Workers’ Memorial Day
International Workers’ Memorial Day is also known as International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured, takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work.
The slogan postulated by the late Hazards Campaigner Tommy Harte for the day is
“Remember the dead – Fight for the living”
In Canada, it is commemorated as the National Day of Mourning.
Workers’ Memorial Day ribbon
Significance of the Workers’ Memorial Day / Week
Workers’ Memorial Day / Week is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organization in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.
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 right around the world.
Health Act went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job—a fundamental right. The law was won because of the tireless efforts of the labor movement, which organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from the government to protect working people. Since then, unions and their allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives.
- In 1989, the AFL-CIO declared April 28 “Workers’ Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of working people killed and injured on the job every year.
- April 28 is the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect.
- 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, passed in 1914.
International Recognition to Workers’ Memorial Day / Week
For years Workers’ Memorial Day events have been organized in North America. Since 1989, trade unions in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa have organized events on April 28.
April 28 is well recognised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as International Workers’ Memorial Day. In 1996 the ICFTU commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day and began to set annual ‘themes’.
During 2001 the ILO, part of the United Nations (UN), recognised Workers’ Memorial Day and declared it World Day for Safety and Health at Work and in 2002 the ILO announced that April 28 should be an official day in the UN system.
Events Carried out During Workers’ Memorial Week
Annually on April 28, 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 symbolize those who have died at work.
But our work is not done. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury and illness because of dangerous working conditions that are preventable. Together on this Workers Memorial Day, we raise our collective voices to win stronger safety and health protections in our workplaces and stronger job safety and health laws. We hold employers accountable to keep workers safe.
We demand action on critical safety and health protections against preventable workplace hazards: heat illness, workplace violence, infectious diseases, silica in mining and toxic chemical exposures. We demand more resources from Congress for our nation’s job safety agencies to hold employers accountable. We demand dignity at work.
We will organize and fight for the fundamental right of every worker to a safe job until that promise is fulfilled.
To fight for the fundamental right of every worker, for the top-level safety training, more advice on OHSE or any personalized information get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org