US Department of Labor to honor workers whose jobs claimed their lives, recommit to protecting workers as nation marks Workers Memorial Day
WASHINGTON – On April 28, 1970, the nation first observed Workers Memorial Day at a time when an estimated 38 people died on the job in the U.S. each day. More than a half century later, this annual tribute endures as do the determined efforts of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration to help protect the lives of our nation’s workers.
Today, work-related injuries claim the lives of approximately 14 people each day in the U.S., that’s one life lost every 101 minutes. There were 5,190 such deaths in 2021. Workers Memorial Day pays tribute to these people, and all the fallen workers before them, and the survivors who remain to grieve and carry on.
In 2023, families, friends, coworkers, and others will gather on Friday, April 28 at events across the nation to honor people who died at work.
“On Workers Memorial Day, as we remember the people whose jobs claimed their lives, we must recognize that behind these numbers, there are people who mourn each loss. For them, these statistics are loved ones: they’re parents, children, siblings, relatives, friends, or co-workers,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “On this day of remembrance, we should reflect on what might have prevented their loss and recommit ourselves to doing all we can — and all that can be done — to safeguard workers and to fulfill our moral obligation and duty as a nation to protect America’s workers.”
Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker and Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Christopher Williamson will host a national Workers Memorial Day ceremony online broadcast from the department’s Washington headquarters on April 27 at 1 p.m. EDT. They will be joined by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities Vice President Wanda Engracia, whose husband, Pablo Morillo was one of three workers killed in a 2005 industrial explosion in New Jersey.
“On Workers Memorial Day, we come together to remember those workers we have lost, including those who suffered toxic exposures at work that led to fatal illnesses which were entirely preventable,” Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “Repeated and prolonged exposures to unsafe levels of coal dust, silica and diesel exhaust can slowly strip a miner of their livelihood and dignity, and eventually their life. We must honor their loss by doing all we can to protect the health and safety of our nation’s miners.”
Throughout the U.S., OSHA and MSHA representatives will take part in local Workers Memorial Day events. They will join families, workers, labor unions, advocates, and others to remember the lives lost and raise awareness of workplace safety to help prevent future tragedies. Find a local Workers Memorial Day event.