(Salem) – 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 reflect on – and renew – our responsibility to build and preserve safe and healthy workplaces.
Oregon workers who died on the job will be honored with a ceremony Friday, April 26, at noon in Salem. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite 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 Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
“No family can feel stable and secure when they’re worried about the safety of their loved ones. And no job is worth the cost of a life,” Gov. Brown said. “I want every single worker to return home safely at the end of their work day. The best way we can honor our family, friends, and colleagues who have died earning a living is by ensuring a safe workplace for every Oregonian – and putting an end to workplace fatalities.”
State Rep. Tiffany Mitchell and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle will read the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2018. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain will also be among the event speakers.
“On April 26 we mourn the fallen, and fight for the living by recommitting to fight for stronger workplace safety protections,” Chamberlain said. “Each of the names we read on April 26 has family, community, friends, co-workers – people who miss them dearly. These are preventable deaths, workplace accidents. We have to do more as a state to protect working people.”
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. And recent data suggest the overall downward trend appears to have flattened out.
“This year, as we look upon the families and friends of those lost on the job, we must do so with a renewed commitment,” Wood said. “We must do better, because it is not enough to mourn and remember. We must face forward. We must fully confront the risks of death in our workplaces and fight like never before to identify and eliminate their causes.”
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.