WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today issued the following statement on Workers’ Memorial Day:
“Every day, millions of Americans leave their homes and report to jobs that provide for their families, strengthen our communities and grow our economy. Too many of them – on average, 13 workers a day – don’t make it back at the end of their shift. On Workers’ Memorial Day, we honor our fallen workers, and we renew our commitment to unwavering vigilance on workplace safety.
“Over the last half century, we have made great strides on occupational safety and health, most recently with the completion of a groundbreaking standard to improve protections for millions of workers exposed to respirable silica dust, which can cause death and disabling lung diseases. But, notwithstanding significant progress, more than 4,500 workers still die from preventable workplace incidents every year, with 50,000 more succumbing to work-related illnesses.
“A nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people. For everything they do to drive American prosperity, for all their heroic efforts to pull us out of the worst economic crisis in generations, our workers deserve nothing less than rigorous adherence to essential safety standards.
“Ensuring that everyone can make it home safely after a hard day’s work – that no one has to give their life to make a living – is our unfinished business.”