Workers' Memorial Day on April 28, 2020, is an annual International day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
Fifty years ago, on December 29, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act into law, with the purpose of ensuring every worker in the United States "safe and healthful working conditions". Since the Act was signed, deaths have declined drastically. However, there is still much more that lawmakers, OSHA, and employers can do.
Workplace fatalities are unacceptable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the total U.S. workplace fatalities reached 5,147 in 2017 - the second consecutive year surpassing 5,000 deaths. Preventable workplace deaths continue on an upward trend, increasing from 4,398 in 2016 to 4,414 in 2017.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. Employers are responsible to provide a safe work environment, the financial support, management oversight, tools and training workers need to do their jobs safely. Both management and workers need to do their part to make safety a personal priority. Together, these elements are part of a greater safety management system - one which aims to continuously identify hazards and reduce risks to an acceptable level thus lessening the likelihood of an incident occurring on the job.
I pledge to:
- Never compromise my own safety or the safety of my co-workers to get the job done
- Actively look for hazards, promptly report them, and take appropriate action to warn others
- Be a good safety role model for my friends and family even when off the job