Posts Tagged ‘Workers Memorial Day’

Worker Memorial Day and a voice for the workers

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, a time when workers and their families, labor unions and safety advocates commemorate workers who were killed on the job: 4,800 fatalities per year, or an average of 13 workers who lose their lives every day. The AFL-CIO dedicated the first Worker Memorial Day in 1970 as a day of remembrance for those who have been killed or suffered injuries/illnesses on the job. It also sheds light on the preventable nature of most workplace incidents with its theme of Remember the dead – Fight for the living.

When it comes to work fatalities, numbers don’t tell the whole story. Jordan Barab of the newly resurfaced Confined Space blog profiles some of these deaths in his Weekly Toll. It’s tough but important reading. Those of us who work in insurance can be focused on dollar and cents and lose touch with the real reason many of us entered the workers’ comp arena. And even the most dedicated number-crunchers among us see the wisdom that the least expensive claims are the ones that never happen.

Jordan’s blog focuses mainly on policy and political issues around worker safety, but he explains why he decided to pick up the grim task of compiling this list:

But ultimately, we’re only fighting the policy and political issues because working people are getting hurt and killed every day in the workplace, and more has to be done to stop the carnage. Today I resume a necessary — if depressing — task that I conducted every couple of weeks in the last version of Confined Space: The Weekly Toll, a list of every worker I could find that was killed in the workplace over the previous week or two. The main reason I started the original version of Confined Space in 2003 was that I realized that while a few workers killed in workplace incidents sometimes receive enormous media attention, most workers die alone and unnoticed by anyone except their immediate families and friends. Something had to be done to ensure that these thousands aren’t dying in vain.

Jordan has been a tireless voice for worker safety throughout his career. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA from 2009 to 2017. Prior to that, he worked for the House Education and Labor Committee, the Chemical Safety Board, the AFL-CIO, OSHA and AFSCME. His Confined Space blog was one of the early blogs that inspired us as we launched Workers Comp Insider. He put his blog on ice while working for OSHA, but he has recently relaunched it and is an important voice in looking to the health and safety of workers – particularly in an administration that has pledged to cut regulations and funding for many programs.

We have talked about and are concerned about the defunding and elimination of the Chemical Safety Board. The administration has also rolled back some important albeit controversial OSHA regulations and it is expected that OSHA will suffer further curtailment. Scott Schneider looks at some of the programs that are at risk and why they are important in OSHA Regulations: The Next Target

The President asked businesses and industries for advice on which regulations should be cut and he received 168 submissions from corporations and industry special interest groups.  Unfortunately, eliminating many of these are likely to have a corrosive effect on worker health and safety. Meanwhile, for the voice and interests of the worker and worker safety, Confined Space is an important read.

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day

Friday, April 26th, 2013

WMD+poster
Each year, April 28 is designated as Workers Memorial Day. OSHA says that, “It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.”
Here are some planning resources for marking the event.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health provides links to Workers Memorial Day Events, as well as a Workers Memorial Day Fact Sheet (PDF) and other resources.
AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day has resources at their site, including a toolkit (PDF) to prepare for the event and a Collection of Worker Memorials.
USMWF Worker Memorial Day also has a list of planned events and a touching slide show tribute to workers who were killed on the job.
See 2012 Reports:
Death on the Job – AFL-CIO
Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts Workplaces
California Dying at Work Report
North Carolina Workers Dying for a Job

Health Wonk Review, Worker Memorial Day, OK, Obesity, Appendectomies & more

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Health Wonk Review – Jennifer Salopek and Sarah Sonies have posted Health Wonk Review: Shiny Happy (Mostly) Edition, an excellent hosting debut at Wing of Zock, a blog sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges for practitioners of academic medicine. Make sure you click through to learn the origins of the fanciful name of the blog.
April 28 is Worker Memorial Day – an event dedicated to remembering those who died on the job from workplace injuries and diseases. It’s also a time to commit to doing better, to renew efforts for safe workplaces. The National Council for Occupational Safety & Health has a list of Workers Memorial Day events throughout the country, as well as fact sheets and resources in both English and Spanish.
Oklahoma decides against “alternative workers comp” – Last week, the Oklahoma Senate gave the nod to a bill that would allow some employers to opt out of workers comp system by offering a comparable alternative, but the OK House rejected the opt-out measure. Last week, Senator Harry Coates had issued an editorial discussing the opposition viewpoint: Be careful what you ask for. See Dave DePaolo’s take on OK’s non-subscription model and the recent Walmart opt out in Texas.
Is it OK to discriminate against obese people? – In what may be a first among hospital hiring restrictions, Victoria Hospital in Texas has stated they won’t hire very obese workers. HR pro Suzanne Lucas (also known as “Evil HR Lady”) asks if it is okay to discriminate against obese people, offering 5 reasons why she feels it is a bad policy. In addition to potential illegality, another issue she raises is that many health professionals consider the BMI or Body Mass Index a faulty indicator of health. The first link quotes a physician as noting that “A professional football player might have a body mass index of 32, which is technically obese, but only have 7 percent body fat.” (Be sure to check out the Flickr gallery of real people and their BMIs that Lucas links.) Now whether or not this is the wrong “solution,” the fact that obesity is a workplace problem is not at issue. A new Cornell study says that obesity accounts for almost 21% of U.S. healthcare costs, and “An obese person incurs medical costs that are $2,741 higher (in 2005 dollars) than if they were not obese.”
Usual and customary? – How much will an appendectomy cost you in a California hospital? It might depend on your insurance coverage. In one hospital, the cheapest procedure was $7,504 and the highest cost in the same hospital was $171,696. See more in Merrill Goozner’s post on the Anatomy of A Walletectomy.
Jail time for scofflaws/ – Jon Gelman notes that North Carolina is raising the stakes for employers that don’t carry workers comp – “the first contempt hearing is scheduled for May 22 when 125 uninsured employers have been noticed to appear in court.” The state says pay up or go to jail.
Sex, workers comp & horseplay – Joe Paduda posts about compensable sex on the road, an Australia case where a worker was injured while in flagrante delicto. My colleague discussed this case previously in his post Compensable Sex, Down Under? We don’t get to talk about sex very often on this blog, although there was a spanking incident a number of years ago (sadly the link to the news item appears broken.) The spanking post dealt with an instance of horseplay – an issue that Cassandra Roberts poss about at LexisNexis in her post A Roll In the Hay: Delaware’s Horseplay Defense and Australia’s Sex Romp Case Revisited, where she lists an array of quirky cases in which the horseplay defense failed.
More Noteworthy News

Remembering fallen workers: Workers’ Memorial Day

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Today is Workers’ Memorial Day, both a global and a national day to remember those who lost their lives on the job. April 28 has been an annual day of remembrance since 1989. It is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning.
Here in the US, in addition to remembering the more than 5,000 workers who die on the job each year, we face the fresh and painful large-scale tragedies of the 29 workers who lost their lives in the West Virginia Massey mine disaster, 7 workers killed at the Tesoro refinery explosion in Washington, 6 workers killed at the Kleen Energy Plant in Connecticut, and 11 workers missing and presumed dead from Transocean’s oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana.
These large-scale disasters were played out on a very public stage, with much media attention on the accidents, on the loss of life, and on the grief of the survivors. Less public but no less tragic and painful are the stories of the other 5,000+ deaths: 56-year old father of four James Wetzel, crushed to death in a collapsed trench that was not properly secured; a double fatality at the Kansas MagnaGro International Plant, in which 25-year old Iraq veteran Brandon Pierce and 51-year-old grandfather of four Roy Hillebert lost their lives in a vat of unspecified liquid or 32-year old mother Lori Keen who was killed after being struck by a pallet of bottled water in a Kroger store in Illinois. News reports often paint work-related deaths as freak accidents, but safety experts know that workplace freak accidents are a media myth – most entail preventable safety violations.
The AFL-CIO has amassed resources and information on Worker Memorial Day, including the release of its 19th annual report on the state of health and safety for U.S. workers: Death on the Job Report 2010: The Toll of Neglect. It’s worth reading and passing along. The best way that we can honor fallen workers is to pledge that we can and we will do better.

Worker Memorial Day 2008

Monday, April 28th, 2008

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