Albertans remembered those who have been killed or injured in the workplace Sunday as part of the National Day of Mourning.
Roughly 100 people gathered outside a memorial garden at the Alberta Construction Safety Association to remember those who have died from injuries or diseases acquired through their jobs. Last year, 145 Albertans died from workplace injuries.
"It's a pretty serious problem," says Mike Street, co-chair of the Day of Mourning committee. "Every one and a half days, someone loses their life at work."
The event, now in its 29th year, was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1984 as Workers' Memorial Day before becoming a national observance in 1991. It has spread to more than 80 countries around the world since its inception.
"April 28 is just like Remembrance Day," says Wendy Maxwell, chair of the Day of Mourning. "We recognize our loss."
Organizers and participants are calling on employers and the government to do more to prioritize job site safety.
"More attention has to be paid to safety and not just deadlines and the dollar," Street says. "Any occupation has its dangers."
They're also calling on employees to share in the responsibility and educate themselves on how to stay safe while at work.
Part of their emphasis is on instilling workplace safety values in young people before they enter the job market, Maxwell says.
"If we can start training the youth right from the get-go on the right to refuse work, how to look for safety objects, we might have a few less deaths next year."