US Department of Labor to honor workers whose jobs claimed their lives, recommit to protecting workers as nation marks Workers Memorial Day

Original article published by OSHA

Photo: United States Department of Labor

OSHA, MSHA administrators, AFL-CIO president to join national ceremony online

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.

View the online Workers Memorial Day event from Washington on April 27.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Annual ‘Death on the Job’ report part of Workers’ Memorial Week

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: AFL-CIO

Washington — “The nation must renew its commitment to protecting workers from job injury, disease and death, and make this a high priority,” the AFL-CIO says in its annual report on the state of safety and health protections for U.S. workers.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect is published annually during the week of Workers’ Memorial Day – observed on April 28 to honor people who have lost their lives on the job. It highlights state and federal data on work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, as well on worker protections.

In 2020, the number of workplace deaths decreased to 4,764 from 5,333 in the previous year, while the national fatality rate dropped to 3.4 per 100,000 workers from 3.5, the report states. However, AFL-CIO points out that the total excludes the “many thousands who died from being exposed to COVID-19 at work,” in part because “employer reporting of COVID-19 cases still is mandatory only in a few states with specific standards or orders.”

Also from the report:

  • Workplace violence accounted for 705 deaths, including 392 homicides, and was the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths behind transportation incidents (1,778 deaths); slips, trips and falls (805); and contact with objects or equipment (716).
  • Black and Latino workers were at greater risk of dying on the job. The fatality rate for Blacks (3.5 per 100,000 workers) and Latinos (4.5) remains higher than the national average, with the rate for Latino workers climbing 15% over the past decade.
  • A third of the deaths involved workers 55 and older, while those 65 and older had a fatality rate of 8.6 per 100,000 workers.
  • The agriculture, forestry, and fishing and hunting industry had the highest fatality rate, at 21.5 per 100,000 workers. Transportation and warehousing (13.4) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (10.5) followed.

“Employers must meet their responsibilities to protect workers and be held accountable if they put workers in danger. Only then can the promise of safe jobs for all of America’s workers be fulfilled,” the AFL-CIO said. “There is much more work to be done to ensure the fundamental right to a safe job is a reality for all.”

In a press release recognizing Workers’ Memorial Day, Labor Secretary Mary Walsh said that although each workplace death is tragic, lives “taken in incidents that might have been prevented – had their employers followed required safety and health standards – are especially painful.”

He continued: “While we have made much progress toward safer workplaces, we must do more to ensure that employers understand and take responsibility for addressing workplace hazards and keep them from causing workplace fatalities. As our economy continues its recovery, we are determined to empower workers as well so they can recognize the hazards around them, and demand their rights to a safe workplace without fear of retaliation.”

Other prominent voices from the occupational safety and health community offered their views on Workers’ Memorial Day.

“As we commemorate Worker’s Memorial Day, we remember that behind every fatality number is a worker,” NIOSH Director John Howard writes in an agency blog post. “Someone who has family, friends, community and a life. NIOSH remains committed to protecting workers across occupations and industries, addressing threats to workers’ safety, health and well-being, and collaborating with partners to address emerging and long-standing risks.”

Chris Cain, executive director of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, said in a press release that the observance “offers people and organizations two important opportunities: to remember those who have died and to strengthen their commitment to make sure every worker comes home safely every day.”

Cain added: “Remember that workers alone cannot create safe jobsites – it also takes the dedication of owners, contractors, managers, government officials and many others.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

US Department of Labor to Mark Workers Memorial Day

First published by OSHA

Remembering lives lost; stress the high cost of ignoring workplace safety, health standards

Online event to be broadcast live on April 28 from Washington

WASHINGTON – Each year, the families and friends of fallen workers, and organizations, including the U.S. Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration sadly observe April 28 as Workers Memorial Day.

On average, 13 workers die as a result of workplace injuries every day in the U.S. While far fewer than before the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 laid the foundation to better protect worker safety and health, the nation continues to confront the enormous challenge of making sure every worker ends their shift safely.

In communities across the nation, the people these workers left behind come together to remember them and raise their voices in the hope that – by helping others understand the nature and impact of their tragic losses – the hard work of preventing others from sharing their pain can be done.

To mark the observance, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will join with OSHA and some of those scarred by workplace tragedies at the department’s headquarters in Washington on April 28 for an online national Workers Memorial Day ceremony at 1 p.m. EDT.

“Workers Memorial Day allows us to remember those whose lives were claimed by their jobs, in too many instances, because required safety precautions were not taken to prevent tragedy,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Every year, thousands of workers are unable to return home to their families and their communities because workplace safety and health were overlooked. We must never underestimate the importance of ensuring OSHA requirements are met and followed as the law requires. As we are sadly reminded again, peoples’ lives depend on it.”

The event will include remarks from the following guests:

  • Jesse Stolzenfels, a coal miner at the Sago Mine in West Virginia, where an explosion and collapse claimed the lives of his 12 co-workers in 2006.
  • Rena Harrington, whose son was fatally injured in 2018 at a Massachusetts construction site.
  • Alejandro Zuniga, an advocate with the Houston-based Faith and Justice Worker Center, who will discuss workers’ rights and the impact of worker fatalities on their families and communities.

As part of its commemoration, OSHA representatives from across the country will participate in local Workers Memorial Day events in April and stand with families, workers, labor unions, advocates, and others as they honor fallen workers and raise awareness of workplace safety to help prevent future tragedies.

Find a local Workers Memorial Day event near you.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Workers’ Memorial Day: ‘This year, our hearts are especially heavy’

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Photo: inga/iStockphoto

Washington — This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day, marked on April 28 each year to honor those who have lost their lives on the job, served as a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by the many workers providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) reports that more than 22,000 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 70 have died,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in a press release. “Meanwhile, thousands of workers in meat processing plants, grocery stores, prisons, nursing homes, postal facilities and other workplaces (are) falling ill and even dying.”

The Department of Labor issued a joint statement from Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt: “As we memorialize workers who have lost their lives, we are mindful of the U.S. Department of Labor’s important role in working with employers and workers to create a national culture of safety. We are dedicated to working diligently every day to keep American workers safe and healthy on the job.”

In lieu of traditional events to mark the day, the AFL-CIO called for a virtual candlelight vigil and recommended the use of online resources and social media to push for “stronger safety and health protections.” The labor federation’s president, Richard Trumka, also sent a letter to Scalia, calling for emergency temporary standards “to protect health care workers, first responders, essential workers and other workers returning to work from COVID-19 exposure and infection.” The letter includes a list of members who, the federation claims, died of COVID-19.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries canceled its in-person events at its headquarters and around the state, and encouraged all workplaces to participant in a moment of silence.

“We had no choice but to cancel this year’s ceremony,” Washington L&I Director Joel Sacks said a press release, “but it doesn’t diminish the importance of remembering fallen workers and continuing our efforts to reduce to zero the number of people who die in connection with their job.”

National Safety Council President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin urged business leaders to “commit to do more to protect the workers of tomorrow.” This includes ensuring protections for workers already on the job and those returning as the pandemic wanes. To help in this effort, NSC has launched SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a nationwide task force that brings together Fortune 500 companies, safety organizations and public health experts.

“Every year on April 28 we observe Workers’ Memorial Day to remember and honor those who lost their lives on the job,” Martin said. “This year, our hearts are especially heavy as the safety of so many loved ones working on the front lines is impacted by this pandemic. I am calling on my fellow business leaders across the country to ask what more we can do to make sure our workers get home safely at the end of the day.

“We need to keep our workers safe today so we can have a healthy workforce when it comes time to return to our usual work environments and routines.”

Fatal workplace injuries totaled 5,250 in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest total since 2007, when 5,657 workplace deaths were recorded.