This Day in Workplace History: Workers Memorial Day
“Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones once said, ‘Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.’ That call to arms rings especially true today, on Workers Memorial Day, and on the heels of a tragic month for the nation’s working families.
“In April, our nation’s consciousness was jarred by the loss of workers in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia, an oil rig explosion south of Louisiana and a refinery fire in Washington state.
“The pain brought on by each of these tragedies is beyond comparison, and we should not think of the incidents as isolated. The fact is they all involve worker safety issues, which merit national attention and point to a disturbing pattern of deadly neglect that our country can no longer tolerate.
“More than 4.6 million workers suffer serious injuries each year. And, every day across America, more than 14 men and women lose their lives in preventable workplace incidents. That’s nearly 100 preventable deaths per week!
“No one — regardless of his or her occupation — should have to be injured or killed to earn a paycheck.
“No worker’s loved ones should have to wake up to news of trench cave-ins, scaffold collapses, amputations or electrocutions. We don’t need more refinery fires or mine explosions.
“On this Workers Memorial Day, the mission of the Department of Labor’s worker safety and health protection agencies — MSHA and OSHA — is clearer than ever. And, our effort to save lives — through enhanced enforcement, a forward looking and progressive regulatory agenda, expanded outreach and a relentless commitment to enforcing the law — has never been more necessary.
“So, let us honor the memory of fallen workers, and the pain of their families, by gathering our collective strength and making injury, illness and fatality prevention activities a priority — today and every day.”
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