April 28 is Workers Memorial Day

April 28, 2009
In honor of Workers Memorial Day on April 28, organizations, individuals and occupational safety advocates across the nation pause to remember workers who died on the job and call for improved workplace safety.

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) President Warren K. Brown noted that while workplaces are safer today than they were a century ago, there is more work to be done.

"In the U.S. alone, 5,840 workers died from on-the-job injuries in 2006 and millions more suffered workplace injuries and illnesses," Brown said. "These can be prevented. When someone dies on the job, we all hurt. Families, friends, and co-workers of victims of on-the-job incidents suffer intangible losses and grief. This grief lasts a lifetime. We can and do work to prevent these incidents from occurring."

According to Brown, workers and businesses should turn to their occupational safety, health and environmental safety professionals for workplace safety information, guidance, training, and more. Additionally, more businesses should adopt safety into their business culture and strategy.

In her comments about Workers Memorial Day, National Safety Council (NSC) President and CEO Janet Froetscher encouraged all Americans to take a moment to reflect on the millions of hard-working people who were injured or killed on the job and consider ways to improve today’s employee safety.

"We are indebted to those who have lost their lives in ways that illustrate where change is still needed," she said.

Taking Action

Change to Win Executive Director Chris Chafe proposed several actions that could help keep American workers safe:

  • Strengthen laws to protect more workers by ending government indifference and corporate misbehavior;
  • Improve safety and health standards, close the loopholes in OSHA’s inspection programs and mandate strict follow-up enforcement actions against employers where workers were killed or injured;
  • Congress must pass the Protecting America’s Workers Act to give OSHA the authority necessary to make sure that employers who flagrantly violate the law not only comply with safety and health standards, but also finally face the consequences of their lawlessness; and
  • Congress must assure that OSHA has the resources to do inspections before more workers die from employer negligence.

"…[W]e are excited to welcome a new administration and Congress dedicated to protecting America’s workers," Chafe said. "From Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, to President Obama and the Democratic-led Congress, it is clear that we have entered a new era of government for America’s workers – one that is strongly committed to protecting the interests, health and safety of all working families."

Honoring Workers Memorial Day

AFL-CIO produced a Workers Memorial Day flier offering several suggestions for honoring this day, such as holding a candlelight vigil or memorial service; organizing a rally to draw attention to safety and health problems; contacting members of Congress to support stronger workplace safety protections; and more.

In conjunction with Workers Safety Day, the AFL-CIO also released "Death on the Job
The Toll of Neglect," a national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health in the United States. This is the 18th year AFL-CIO has produced the report.

"Very simply, workers need more job safety and health protection," the report said. "The Obama administration must restore the commitment to protecting workers, provide strong leadership at both OSHA and MSHA and move forward on a new course."

Read the report.

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Work Safety Tips: 5 Tactics to Build Employee Engagement for Workplace Safety

March 13, 2024
Employee safety engagement strategies have become increasingly key to fostering a safer workplace environment. But, how exactly do you encourage employee buy-in when it comes ...

Voice your opinion!

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