Public invited to remember as Workers Memorial Day on Tuesday approaches
Salem, OR — It’s a time to remember those who died on the job. It’s a time to grieve with families, friends, and communities. It’s a moment to reflect on – and renew – our responsibility to provide and maintain safe and healthy workplaces.
Oregon workers who died on the job in 2019 are being honored with an online video ceremony as the official observance of Workers Memorial Day – Tuesday, April 28 – approaches. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite Oregonians to view the 2020 ceremony in an online video, which was created in light of the public health crises triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The video of the memorial service, coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, is now available:
State Sen. Shemia Fagan reads the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2019. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood, Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor, and Rev. Richard Davis of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem also make remarks.
“On April 28, we remember and mourn the Oregonians who died on the job as a result of workplace injuries and illness in 2019, and we recommit ourselves to protecting working people from injury and disease on the job,” Trainor said. “This issue has never been more relevant than it is right now amidst a global pandemic, and Oregon’s unions will never stop advocating for the safest workplaces possible. Today, we mourn the dead, and we commit to fight like hell for the living.”
Driven by efforts on the part of labor, business, and government, Oregon has seen its workplace fatality rate steadily decline for decades. Yet, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year.
“We are all in many ways more isolated than we could have imagined just a few short months ago,” Wood said. “But that is also why it is important that Workers Memorial Day not simply pass by unnoticed. Because for the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in Oregon workplaces last year, the crisis did not begin a few weeks ago. They have already experienced the greatest loss many of us will ever experience – the unexpected loss of a father, of a daughter, of a mother, of a son, or of a friend.”
The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance. The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.