This memorial wall was erected to honor the 29 miners who died in the Upper Big Branch Mine South explosion on April 5, 2010. (MSHA photo)

Many Organizations Marked Workers' Memorial Day 2019

ASSP is encouraging widespread involvement in upcoming workplace safety campaigns that began April 28 with the observance of Workers' Memorial Day. "We often take for granted that our families will be safe and healthy at the end of the work day," ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, said. "But that assumption is far from reality, given the many who are lost every day around the world as a result of work-related incidents."

Leaders of OSHA, NIOSH, the American Society of Safety Professionals, and many other organizations called for stronger efforts to prevent workplace fatalities and illnesses, as they marked Workers' Memorial Day 2019.

Loren Sweatt, acting assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, issued a statement saying in part, "Today is a day to remember that since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working to help make workplaces safer. OSHA has aided in the creation of a safe culture for American workplaces because every worker in America should return home at the end of each and every workday, safe and unharmed. Workplace safety is everyone's business, and must be everyone’s priority. Safety must start on day one and be a continuous process. OSHA will continue to work with its partners across the country – employers, workers, trade associations, labor unions, and safety and health professionals – to ensure that every workplace is safe and healthful."

ASSP is encouraging widespread involvement in upcoming workplace safety campaigns that began April 28 with the observance of Workers' Memorial Day. "We often take for granted that our families will be safe and healthy at the end of the work day," ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, said. "But that assumption is far from reality, given the many who are lost every day around the world as a result of work-related incidents."

The society's release noted that the International Labor Organization reports there are nearly 2.8 million deaths globally each year – more than 7,600 each day – for reasons attributed to work. "These campaigns draw attention to the responsibility we all have to make our jobs safer and healthier," Medina said.

The society also marks May 5-11 as Safety and Health Week, encouraging grassroots efforts at every organization in all industries to bolster workplace safety. (#SafetyAndHealthWeek); May 6-10 as both Construction Safety Week (#ConstructionSafetyWeek) and this year's National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction (#StandDown4Safety); and Aug. 12-18 as Safe + Sound Week (#SafeAndSoundAtWork).

NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard posted a Workers' Memorial Day message on April 26, noting that in 2017, work-related injuries killed 5,147 U.S. workers, which represented less than a 1 percent decrease in the fatality rate from the previous year. "We can do better," he wrote. "Together, the occupational safety and health community—including government, labor, academia, and industry—must address both the persistent risks to workers and proactively mitigate novel risks that are arising in a complex, evolving work environment being shaped by technological innovations such as nanotechnology, additive manufacturing, and robotics; shifting employment relationships with no one 'standard' work arrangement; and changing demographics. This is the future of work."

April 28 is called World OSH Day by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which this year also observed the day with a focus on the future of work.

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