Public invited to observe Workers Memorial Day during Salem event
Salem, OR — It’s a day to remember those who died on the job. It’s a day to grieve with families, friends, and communities. It’s a day to renew our responsibility to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces. Oregon workers who died on the job will be honored with a ceremony Friday, April 27, at noon in Salem. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite all Oregonians to attend the Workers Memorial Day observance.
The event will take place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, on the Capitol Mall. The memorial service, coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, will feature remarks from State Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon and Elana Pirtle-Guiney, workforce and labor policy advisor to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
The ceremony will include the reading of the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2017.
“We must continually renew our efforts to seek stronger safety and health protection and improve standards and enforcement so that we can prevent tragedies like these in the future,” said Gov. Brown.
“Oregon’s workers make significant sacrifices every day to serve their communities and their state,” Alonso Leon said. “I am honored to be reading the names of our fallen workers to recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. As a legislator, I am committed to serving Oregonians and their families to ensure that they are safe and healthy in the workplace.”
Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byrd will also be among the event speakers.
Oregon workplaces are safer today than in previous decades. Yet, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year.
“On Workers Memorial Day, we mourn fallen workers and members of the armed services who died in the line of work and duty,” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. “Through that mourning, we will reinvigorate our commitment to fight as hard as we can for the living by making sure Oregon's workers are getting the right gear, the right training, and the right precautions to do their jobs as safely as possible.”
Through a partnership of labor, business, and government working together to bolster on-the-job safety and health, Oregon’s fatality and injury and illness rates have steadily declined for decades.
Nevertheless, there is room for improvement.
“Each name that will be read during Workers Memorial Day tells a story of dreams lost, of family, friends, and co-workers grieving the untimely death of a friend or loved one,” Wood said. “And each story is a reminder that we must strengthen our efforts to fully confront the risks of death in our workplaces, and to identify and eliminate their causes.”
The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance. It recognizes the thousands of U.S. workers who die each year on the job and the more than 1 million people in the U.S. who are injured each year at work. The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.