HEALTH & SAFETY
IN REMEMBRANCE — PEF Vice President Joe Fox and Health and Safety Chair Kathy D’Arminio lay a wreath at the PEF monument in observance of Workers’ Memorial Day. — Photo by Paul Seeger
Workers’ Memorial Day reminds us to keep safety a priority
With a cool wind blowing under a sky dotted with clouds, PEF leaders, staff and others gathered to remember lost brothers and sisters April 27 at the PEF monument in Latham.
It was the day before Workers’ Memorial Day, when those assembled bowed their heads to remember how unsafe conditions and tragedy stole the lives of friends, coworkers and union members.
PEF Vice President Joe Fox and Health and Safety Chair Kathy D’Arminio laid a wreath at the foot of the monument. They spoke about the growing importance for workplace safety efforts.
“An average of 12 workers are killed every day,” Fox said. “If those 12 people all died in the same workplace incident, we would know about it.
Because they don’t all make news, we still need to focus on the fact workers are being killed across the country every day. We can’t let those deaths slip past with relatively little notice.”
Debilitating injuries and deaths cost the nation an estimated $159 billion to $318 billion a year, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.
The AFL-CIO also released its annual Death on the Job report and said that more than 4.1 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported. It also said, due to underreporting, the true toll of job injuries is closer to 8 to 12 million.
“While we have made improvements for the safety of workers, there is more to be done. The advances over the decades are due to labor’s push for more stringent safety regulations,” D’Arminio said. “We must reject the drastic cuts the U.S. Congress wants to impose on OSHA’s budget. Safety inspections and regulations don’t kill jobs, but unsafe jobs kill people.”
— Deborah A. Miles
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