Workers’ Memorial Day is an international day of mourning for those that have been lost to workplace fatalities, as well as those who have been injured or disabled. Thousands of workers die each year in the U.S., and many more worldwide. April 28th, 2021 marks the 22nd annual observance of Workers’ Memorial Day in the U.S. – the date coincides with the formation date of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This occasion is a perfect time for employers to pledge to do more to reduce workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Fifty years ago, on April 28, 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened its doors. It was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and it began a new era in improving the safety of the workplace. While OSHA has helped to reduce worker injuries and deaths on the job, any work-related death is one too many. In 2019, there were 5,333 U.S. work-related fatalities, the most since 2007.
Reducing Workplace Injuries and Fatalities
Workers’ Memorial Day is a reminder that it is up to employers and employees to do more to make their workplace a safe environment. OSHA is one source for safety recommendations, as well as the CDC, NIOSH, and COSH organizations. While all worker safety standards are important, preventing fatalities should be the top priority for all employers. In 2019, the high areas of work-related fatalities according to statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) include:
1. 39.5% of work-injury fatalities (2,122 deaths) were in the transportation category
2. 1066 work-related fatalities occurred in the construction industry
3. 880 deaths were caused by slips, trips, and falls, injuries that can occur at any workplace
4. Drivers – both truck and salesperson – has 1005 work-related deaths; 1 out of every 5 workers who died in 2019 was employed as a driver
5. Workplace suicides and unintentional overdoes accounted for 620 workplace fatalities
Transportation jobs, especially drivers, and construction workers are at the highest risk for work injuries that can cause fatalities. However, every workplace can do a better job of increasing awareness and safety standards to reduce preventable deaths from slips/trips/falls, suicides, and overdoses. Employers have a duty to their employees to provide a safe workplace, which includes giving them the training and resources needed to prevent these unnecessary losses of life.
Making Safety a Top Priority in 2021
The best way to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day is to pledge to do more and to do better for workplace safety in 2021. Reducing the number of workplace injuries and fatalities begins with employers and employees working together to make a change. Focus on injury-related issues within your own business and industry that can be improved to make a difference for your company and your employees.
If you are ready to upgrade your safety compliance and reduce your workplace injuries, SafetyPro Resources can help you meet your goals. We are safety compliance specialists, offering customized safety solutions for all types of industries in the Gulf Coast region. Call our office in Baton Rouge, LA to schedule a consultation with one of our top safety advisors.