According to AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job report, 4,340 workers were fatally injured on the job in 2009 – an average of 12 workers a day. In addition, an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases.
In a Department of Labor (DOL) blog post, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis stressed that Workers’ Memorial Day is a time to remember the employees who were injured or killed on the job and to strive to create safer workplaces.
“Today, I commemorate Workers Memorial Day – and stand with every family that has paid the ultimate price for a loved one’s hard work,” Solis wrote. “Their spirit is with us. As long as I am the Labor Secretary, we will fight in their name to make workplaces safer and more secure for every working American.”
DOL to Memorialize Workers
During an April 21 forum hosted by the Center for American Progress, OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels revealed that in honor of Workers’ Memorial Day, DOL would establish “a long-overdue memorial” to fallen workers by planting a tree on the grounds of its headquarters, the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C.
“The tree will be a permanent reminder of those workers we have lost, and it will serve as a call to action: that we must commit ourselves to address the many challenges still facing us today, to rededicate ourselves to the original promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act – to ensure that all workers in the United States come home safely to their families after a day's work,” Michaels said.
“The spirits of those who died and those who lived to fight for better conditions urge us to meet these challenges and achieve the goals that all Americans strive for: healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America,” he concluded.