Thousands of workers in a variety of industries die and millions more are seriously injured or sickened every year while on the job. The primary culprits are employers who cut corners in protecting the well-being of their employees and outright violate the law. Profits come at the expense of people.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 5,000 workers were killed on the job and nearly 2.9 million suffered non-fatal injuries or illnesses between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016.
In recognition of the workplace tragedies that have occurred, the labor movement will observe Workers Memorial Day on April 28. Established in 1971 by OSHA, the annual event focuses on revitalizing the continuing battle over workplace safety and commemorates those who have been injured or killed on the job.
The theme of this year's event is appropriately titled, "Safe Jobs, Every Worker's Right." The labor movement is making it clear that it will defend the basic right of every employee to a job that is safe. Ensuring these conditions requires setting and enforcing standards while providing training, education and assistance.
Oklahoma City will commemorate Workers Memorial Day with a candlelight vigil displaying 26 wooden silhouettes in memory of workers killed while on the job this past year. Oklahoma City Area Director David Bates will also speak at the event and recognize the value of those workers lost in fatal accidents.
While one day of the year honors workers injured or killed, the other 364 should continue to not only commemorate them, but also continue the fight for safe workplaces.