courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Police Victims 623dd3bb219f0

N.Y. Labor Department Commemorates Anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Tragedy

March 25, 2010
"We honor the women who died at the Triangle Fire and stay true to our fight for workers’ rights and workplace safety," said New York State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner.

This year marks the 99th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, which led to the tragic death of 146 garment workers and prompted the development of worker protections.

On March 25, 1911, fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, trapping workers on the top three floors of a 10-story building, where exits were locked and fire escapes were defective. The public outcry that followed led New York state to enact many of the first significant worker protection laws in the nation.

New York State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner recently joined state legislative and union leaders to commemorate the anniversary of the fire. She acknowledged the importance of the fire, which significantly changed worker protection laws.

“We are here to see that this tragedy never happens again. By enforcing the state’s labor laws, the Department of Labor ensures safe working conditions for all New Yorkers,” said Gardner at the March 23 ceremony in Albany, New York. “New York enacted many of the first significant worker protection laws in the nation. We continue to lead in protecting the health and safety of employees in the workplace. We honor the women who died at the Triangle Fire and stay true to our fight for workers’ rights and workplace safety.”

Susan John, chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, added, “The Triangle Shirtwaist Company workers will never be forgotten. This tragedy, and the men and women who lost their lives, remind us that we must remain vigilant as a state and as a people to fight for the rights, health and safety of all workers and their families.”

Following the Triangle fire, Frances Perkins served as a member of the Factory Investigating Commission, which successfully recommended stronger safety measures. Perkins was named New York State Commissioner of Labor in 1929. In 1933, she was appointed the U.S. Secretary of Labor, becoming was the first woman federal cabinet official in American history.

At a 50th anniversary memorial observance, Perkins said of the Triangle workers, “They did not die in vain, and we will never forget them.”

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!