Columbus, OH – Today is Workers’ Memorial Day, a day when workers, officials and community members across the state of Ohio are coming together to commemorate workers who have died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job and to call on policymakers to help create and maintain safe jobs for workers all across the country.
In 2014, 115 Ohio workers died of work related injuries. “That is 115 families that have lost a loved one forever. We have made great strides in safety at the workplace, however much more can be done. Today, we remember the lives of these 115 Ohioans and in their memory call for a renewed effort to protect workers on the job,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.
“Since job safety laws were passed more than four decades ago, we’ve made great progress in making workplaces safer and protecting workers,” said Burga. “And it is by joining together through unions, through collective bargaining, that workers have a voice and a say in safety and health on the job, so they can raise safety concerns and demand that employers protect workers from harm. Virtually every safety and health protection on the books today is there because of working men and women who joined together in unions to win these protections,” he said.
In addition to a number of vigils and ceremonies honoring fallen workers across the state, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, will give a speech at the Cleveland City Club today on current issues and trends in workplace safety. President Burga, who will be attending the speech, said that under the Obama administration, OSHA and MSHA have toughened enforcement for serious violations, particularly for employers that repeatedly violate the law. “OSHA has made it clear that it is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers for reporting injuries or raising job safety concerns, and has stepped up enforcement for these illegal actions,” he said.