Anniversary of Deadly Fire Calls for Annual Moment of Silence
146 lives were lost in a deadly fire; ASSP wants the tragedy to never be forgotten.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Mar 23, 2021
March 25th is the 110th anniversary of the New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire costing 146 workers’ lives. The deadly accident eventually led to the creation of the American Society of Safety Professionals, a society which is now calling for a moment of silence on this day to reflect on those whose lives were lost.
ASSP encourages companies and workers to observe a moment of silence at 4:45 ET on March 25th – the exact time the alarm was sounded — to pay tribute to the workers who died in the fire while also refocusing on creating safe work environments
“The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history, and it inspired our country to address workplace safety in an organized way that didn’t exist before the tragedy,” said ASSP President Deborah Roy, M.P.H., RN, COHN-S, CSP, CIT, FASSP, FAAOHN. “The horrific fire led to a series of laws and regulations that improved workplace safety. It also caused a concerned group of insurance company safety engineers to start what is now ASSP."
The factory fire killed mostly women – as young as 14 years old. The fire exit doors were locked and other doors only opened inwards making it impossible for workers to get out. The fire escape didn’t meet weight requirements, and fire department ladders couldn’t reach the top of the 10-story-building – forcing workers to jump out of windows and take elevators, both routes killing them, according to an article.
ASSP has grown into a global membership organization of nearly 40,000 occupational safety and health professionals whose work through the decades has contributed to dramatic drops in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.