Workers Memorial Day: UAW-GM Promotes a Culture of Safety

April 28, 2008
While observing Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, General Motors (GM) locations represented by United Auto Workers (UAW) will reaffirm a commitment to workplace safety and encourage employees to extend their safety practices into their personal lives.

Workers’ Memorial Day was established in the United States in 1989 to recognize workers who were killed or injured on the job and has since become an international day of remembrance. In honor of this day, UAW-represented GM facilities across the country will hold events to promote workplace safety; commemorate workers who lost their lives or were injured on the job; and take the opportunity to advance safety message throughout the facilities.

For example, UAW members and GM employees will view a special health and safety video featuring Cal Rapson, UAW vice president and director of the GM department, and Diana Tremblay, vice president of labor relations for GM North America.

Ken Been, co-manager of public relations at UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, told that Rapson and Tremblay use the video to discuss the importance of following through on specific safety protocols.

“They talk about the importance of a culture of safety, specifically a culture of safety that supports all people looking out for each other,” Been said. “Additionally, Cal and Diana both talk a great deal about the importance of safety 24/7, and taking all of the safety elements that we stress so strongly in our locations and to practice them at home.”

An Everyday Commitment

In addition to the safety video, flags at UAW-represented facilities will be flown at half-mast, and employees will observe a moment of silence in memory of workers who died from work-related injuries.

“We firmly believe that every working person deserves a safe and healthy work environment,” said Rapson. “Workers’ Memorial Day offers an opportunity to learn from past incidents in order to prevent future accidents or fatalities.”

“Our workplaces are already benchmarks for occupational safety, and, on this Workers’ Memorial Day, our pledge is to keep improving our record,” added Tremblay.

While Workers’ Memorial Day provides a timely forum to reinforce GM’s approach to workplace safety and focus on ways to keep workers safe, it is not the only day of the year that such issues are addressed.

“It’s not just on Workers’ Memorial Day that we focus on this commitment,” Been said. “It’s every day. It is indeed our No. 1 priority.”

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