Workers' Memorial Day, International Workers 'Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured or Day of Mourning takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. 

What if we celebrated this day every day of the year; what if we used all the energy, money, media attention, political influence and other resources to make everyday a memorial day for all workers, instead of waiting on thousands of workers killed and injured to celebrate?

What if we focused on stopping the deaths and injuries every day?

What if we all used this energy and focus on each and every day?

What if we all watch OSHA and make the agency do its job every day, and not let it allow bad companies off with a slap on the wrist? What if we make OSHA follow its guidelines and rules?

What if we praised the great companies for taking care of our workers every day and what if we pointed the finger at the bad companies and made sure everyone knew they were not protecting our workers?  

What if we all started doing more and getting more involved to make sure our great American workers were safe and not being killed and injured daily?

Maybe we need to take control of OSHA and make the agency do its job. Maybe Congress should give us the right to sue OSHA when it makes mistakes and lets the bad guys go. I bet if we took a stronger stand we could celebrate life instead of death and injury.

Living with loss 24/7

After losing our son Pat 25 years ago on the job, and OSHA mishandling his investigation, celebrating this special day has been very important. Thanks to the AFL-CIO for starting this whole movement of Workers’ Memorial Day. Still, I am left with more questions than answers. 

Why do we have to have so many people get hurt or killed on the job every year? Why can’t OSHA have some teeth in its regulations? Why do politicians only seem to care this one day a year? Why is electrical death still in the top ten deaths each year? OSHA has had 49 years to figure it out. Most of all I would like to know if the people celebrating this day really know what this day means; they only celebrate one day a year. The rest of us families in grief and injured workers have to live with it 24/7. We don’t have the luxury to just think about it one day a year.

How do they cope?

I wonder how Delanna Miller tells her little children about their dead dad, Justin, each morning as she gets them ready for the day. 

How Mike and Pam handle the loneliness while waiting on Grant to come roaring down their driveway on his motorcycle, now that he has been killed on his job. 

How Mark gets up and gets his broken wrist working so he can make it through the day and hold a simple spoon. 

Or how Lisa Hobbs handles the weight of the farm she and her late husband Eugene built through the years, now that he was killed on the job. Thank god she has her son Jeremy. I know she stands on her porch in the afternoons and watches Jeremy come across the field on that tractor, just like her Eugene did hundreds of times before his preventable death. 

Memories that lock us in a time warp, wanting to forget the pain but afraid if we forget, everyone else will forget also.

Give us our lives back

This is what we families of lost loved ones all handle every day, not just one day a year. Something we all want is our life back, for good or bad, we just want our life back. After 25 years of missing Pat, I would love to sit in a quite room with Pat and just watch him breathe, be at peace with the world, not do or say anything, just be with him. That’s really what we all want.

Maybe we should try more, make more things happen, talk to more politicians, get louder and demand a safer workplace, get up and FIGHT for safe worksites. Maybe it starts and ends with us families that has lost a loved one, we need to do more. We start asking everyone this question? Do you have a workplace safety program because you have too or because you want too.

Maybe the answer to Workers Memorial Day is not having one; not having to have one. What if we go every day with no injuries, no deaths, everyone happy and healthy? Then we could celebrate Safe Workers Day every day.

I could get behind that kind of celebration, couldn’t you?