According to data from WorkSafeBC and the Day of Mourning BC website:

In 2022, there were 181 deaths related to work. Out of these:

  • 107 resulted from occupational diseases, with 61 linked to asbestos exposure.
  • 5 deaths involved young workers under 25.
  • Males accounted for 172 of the deaths, while females accounted for 9.

Additionally, in the BC public school sector, there were 4,126 Short-term Disability/Long-term Disability/fatal claims in 2022, an increase from 2,085 in 2019. These claims included:

  • 2% from young workers.
  • The primary accident types were “Exposure to Toxic Substances” (19.7%), “Fall on Same Level” (19.0%), and “Overexertion” (14.4%). Surprisingly, “Acts of Violence, Force” accounted for 13.9%.
  • There were 2 work-related deaths in the education sector.

According to Government of Canada report on COVID-19 long-term symptoms among Canadian adults:

  • 19% of infected adults (3.5 million people), had longer-term symptoms.
  • 58.2% of adults in Canada who had longer-term symptoms (2.1 million people), continued to have them.
  • About 600,000 adults in Canada had missed time from work or school due to longer-term symptoms. On average they missed 24 days.
  • About 100,000 adults were unable to return to work or school because of their longer-term symptoms.
  • 66.4% of adults who sought healthcare services reported not receiving any treatment, services or support for any of their longer-term symptoms.
  • 49.2% of all adults had received 4 or more COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Please continue to file a 6A Form (Workers’ Report of Injury or Occupational Disease to Employer) for COVID-19 infections. Should you ever need to file disability claims, it is better to protect yourselves with records.

Every workplace fatality is unacceptable. While schools may not be deemed high-risk for such incidents compared to other sectors, it’s essential to recognize the potential risks to both physical and mental health for education workers. It’s imperative to uphold effective occupational health and safety programs and exercise workers’ rights, including:

  • The Right to Know
  • The Right to Participate
  • The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
  • The Right to No Retaliation

Working with school-based health and safety representatives, consider the following actions schools can take:

  • Lower flags to half-mast at district offices and school sites on April 28.
  • Incorporate Day of Mourning elements into classroom activities using materials from the Day of Mourning Website.
  • Coordinate with administration to include Day of Mourning announcements and a moment of silence in daily routines on April 26, 2024.
  • Encourage staff and students to visually observe the day, such as by wearing high-visibility safety gear or bright-colored clothing to school on April 26, 2024.

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