Workers’ Memorial Day focuses attention on safety
Today is Workers' Memorial Day, established to honor the memory of those workers who have died on the job and those who have become ill due to their work. The events taking place today in the U.S. and around the world will also acknowledge the terrible impact those deaths have on the families of the fallen and the communities in which they lived.
And, according to OSHA, the day is an opportunity “to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.”
Why April 28? That’s the day OSHA was established by Congress in 1971, after President Richard M. Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law in 1970. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
The day is recognized around the globe. In Europe, for instance, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) will be holding its annual Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers. This year, the focus will be on denouncing the impact of discrimination on workers’ health and safety.
Under the banner ‘Unsafe and unfair – discrimination on the job hurts us all’, the ITUC is urging unions to organise activities aimed at raising awareness of the ‘measures needed to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our workplaces, due among other things to gender, origins, class and/or sexual orientation.’
Stateside, ceremonies and speeches, pancake breakfasts and candlelight vigils, poems and plays and the tolling of bells have helped marked Workers Memorial Days.
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