April 28th is Canada’s National Day of Mourning

Set-up 40 years ago by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) it aims to recognize those people that have lost their lives at work, and to remind us, and inspire us, to make efforts to stop these tragedies happening.

Every year 1000 people in Canada lose their lives in the workplace, and that doesn’t account for those claims rejected by compensation boards. Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment and return home safely every day to their loved ones.

Why do people lose their lives at work? When all industries have policies and procedures in place to ensure people are kept safe, accidents still happen, sometimes fatally. Perhaps people see something unsafe, but don’t speak up, or they bypass a procedure because it’s seen as too cumbersome and it’s quicker to take an unsafe shortcut.

However, if people were to work in a culture where speaking up about issues seen is not only listened to and accepted by those who manage, but importantly, is acted upon in a timely manner too. Where people stop working on activities if they feel it is unsafe, and not be reprimanded.

Building this safety culture is what Alkoomi refers to as ‘top down, bottom up’: Senior Leadership set out their commitment to a vision of what a safe environment looks like and what they promise to do for their people, and their organization. In turn, people at the workface commit to speaking up, raising issues etc. In an environment where people KNOW that if they raise important issues, they WILL get acted upon.

In this ideal working environment, it becomes possible that everyone does return home safe every day.