On April 28, 1989 the first Workers Memorial Day was observed. Now recognized as an International Day of Mourning, April 28th is the official day when workers who have been injured or killed on the job are remembered. As stated on the AFLCIO website, “Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs. The unions of the AFL-CIO remember these workers on April 28, Workers Memorial Day”
Since the first workers’ compensation law was enacted 100 years ago, employees have seen significant improvements in working conditions. Agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulate employers to ensure workers are not subjected to unnecessary hazards on the job. While the improvements and increased regulation reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the job, the danger remains for many workers.
Because workers continue to suffer from work related injuries, disease or even death- Workers Memorial Day is a time to honor these individuals. Throughout the country each state, agency or organization remembers workers in different ways. Statues have been erected in memorandum, poems have been written in tribute and speeches are given in honor of these workers who have suffered as a result of their performing their job.
In addition to honoring these men and women, Workers Memorial Day serves another purpose. It encourages an open line of communication between workers and employers to promote a safer workplace. By remembering those who have suffered as a result of hazardous working conditions, it becomes possible to prevent additional employees from suffering the same fate.