Worker Memorial Day 2008

April 28th, 2008 by Julie Ferguson

Today is Workers Memorial Day, a day that is dedicated to recognizing workers who have been killed or injured on the job. It was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984 and began here in the U.S. in 1989. Today, it is marked by workers across the globe. It occurs on April 28 in recognition of Canada’s anniversary of the passage of a comprehensive Workers Compensation Act in 1914 and the U.S. anniversary of the effective date of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act of 1970.
Every year, as part of the commemoration, the AFL-CIO issues Death on the Job 2008, an annual report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers, including state-by-state profiles.
Hazards offers a comprehensive Worker Memorial Day 2008 site with links to activities by country, a global image archive, and a news page.
Tami Miser offers The Weekly Toll, a partial listing of recent worker deaths. The litany of deaths includes incidents where workers were trapped or crushed in machinery, fell from heights, were electrocuted, were struck by objects, were involved in motor vehicle accidents or struck by vehicles, succumbed to mining accidents, or were victims of workplace violence.
The Pump Handle posts about the 30th anniversary of Willow Island Disaster where 51 construction workers plunged to their deaths. OSHA Underground notes that 30 years later, there are fewer OSHA inspectors.
Other news and events for the day can be found via Google news search for ‘worker’ and ‘workers’ Memorial Day.
Health and Safety Blogs
The Web can be a valuable tool for disseminating the message of the importance of strengthening workplace safety and providing educational information to regulators, employers, insurers, workers, and the general public. Jordan Barab of Confined Space was one of the blogging pioneers and pacesetters, beginning in 2003. In the same year our Canadian neighbor rawblogXport was also one of pioneers in occupational heath & safety blogs. We also launched our blog in 2003, and while our primary focus is on workers compensation, we try to devote a large percentage of our posts to furthering workplace safety and protecting workers’ health and well-being – first, because keeping workers safe is simply the right thing to do, and secondly because prevention is the most effective workers compensation cost reduction strategy of all – the injuries that never occur don’t cost money.
Since those early days, several others have joined the ranks of health and safety bloggers, and we hope to see more. Here are a few:
The Pump Handle – since November 2006
The Weekly Toll since January 2007
Hazards Recognized – since June 2007
Safety Daily Advisor – since November 2007
OSHA Underground – since December 2007
The Safety Blog -since December 2007
GotSafety Blog – since January 2008

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