Apr 28, 2009

Workers' Memorial Day

Today, April 28th, is recognized around the world as Workers' Memorial Day.
Each year, 6,000 workers loose their lives on the job. Today, the National Labor College is breaking ground for a memorial to these everyday heroes in recognition for the sacrifice they have made.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Workers' Memorial will be attended by the new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, America's new Secretary of Labor who is committed to putting the needs of working people at the heart of her Department.

UFCW members, young and old, work around dangerous equipment and in hazardous conditions. Like many workers, we work under immense pressure to get the job done and may not always have enough help. As a result, injuries occur. Sometimes these injuries are minor, but all too often they may result in death or traumatic injuries, such as amputations. Learn more about how you can Stay Safe at work.

According to the International Labor Organization:

-Each year, more than two million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
-Workers suffer approximately 270 million occupational accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of work-related illnesses
-Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives
-One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. Work kills more people than wars.

According to the AFL-CIO blog, two congressional hearings today will focus on strengthening the nation’s workplace safety and health protections. The House Education and Labor Committee’s hearing is “Are OSHA’s Penalties Adequate to Deter Health and Safety Violations?” and the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Worker Safety’s hearing is “Introducing Meaningful Incentives for Safe Workplaces and Meaningful Roles for Victims and Their Families.” This is a significant change from the Bush administration. A report released April 1 revealed the Bush administration’s OSHA systematically failed to perform follow-up inspections for employers who put workers in serious danger. At 45 work sites where OSHA oversight was deficient, 58 workers subsequently were killed by job hazards. Click here to read the report. [pdf]