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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was “born” nearly four decades ago; the Act signed into law on December 28, 1970 and 90 days later, on April 28, 1971 took its first steps toward establishing regulations and bringing forward enforcement and outreach to help protect America’s workforce.
Workers’ Memorial Day, International Workers’ Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured takes place annually around the world on April 28th, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. April 28th also commemorates the day OSHA went into effect in the United States.
This year, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis commemorated Worker Memorial Day at a groundbreaking ceremony for a workers’ memorial monument at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD. “The bricks and mortar of the monument we build today remind us that we are all connected in this life, and the loss of a single worker is profoundly felt by families, neighbors, friends and communities across our nation,” said Secretary Solis. “As we dedicate the building of this monument to fallen workers, we must also rededicate ourselves to defending and enforcing every man and woman’s rights to a safe and healthful working environment.”
Additionally, Secretary Solis stated, “through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve America’s infrastructure and put Americans to work, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will receive economic recovery funds it will direct toward enhanced and targeted enforcement; technical assistance, guidance, training and outreach; and construction data collection.”
Nearly everyone with a few years of experience in the construction industry knows of someone who was killed or injured on the job and can remember how it affected the injured or deceased’s families, their co-workers as well as the morale on the job. Take a minute to reflect on these losses and make the effort to change your attitude toward safety and recognize that accidents don’t have to be just “a part of the hazards faced in this industry” and that they can be prevented if proper precautions taken. Take the steps today to ensure that no additional employees will need to be remembered on April 28th in the future.