“Every day, 12 people go to work and don’t come home. This is intolerable.”
With that blunt comment, OSHA Administrator David Michaels last week marked Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual event that honors and remembers workers who have lost their lives while on the job.
Photo by Koralie Hill
| An image from OSHA’s new STOPFALLS web page.|
In a recorded audio message posted prior to Workers’ Memorial Day on Saturday, April 28, Michaels said: “On this solemn occasion, we urge everyone to raise their voices in support of workers’ rights and to remember those who have paid the ultimate price of unsafe working conditions.
“Making a living shouldn’t include dying.”
Also last week, Michaels’ boss Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis delivered a message of her own about safety, with an announcement on the launch of a new campaign led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry.
The awareness campaign will provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs, OSHA said.
In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and another 255 workers were killed, the Labor Department said.
| Poster available for download from OSHA’S STOPFALLS web page.|
OSHA said the fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) program. OSHA and NIOSH will work with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-based organizations, and consulates to provide employers and workers—especially vulnerable, low-literacy workers—with education and training on common-sense fall prevention equipment and strategies.
Fall-Prevention Web Page
OSHA said it has created a new fall-prevention web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall-protection standards at STOPFALLS. NIOSH and NORA also have created a page on the Centers for Disease Control website at CDC STOPFALLS, and a joint website on fall prevention at STOP CONSTRUCTION FALLS, which will be maintained by the Center for Construction Research and Training; that site contains information from industry, non-profit and academic sources.
Solis made the announcement at the Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health at East Los Angeles Community College, one of multiple events last week marking Workers’ Memorial Day. The Labor Department sponsored the summit in coordination with the University of California, Los Angeles’ Labor Occupational Safety and Health program, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“The best way to honor Workers’ Memorial Day is to make sure that another family does not have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one because of preventable workplace injuries,” Solis said. “Falls are the most fatal out of all hazards in the construction industry, accounting for almost one in every three construction worker deaths. Our simple message is that safety pays, and falls cost.”
Workers’ Memorial Day is observed annually on April 28 across the country to remember workers who lost their lives as a result of preventable injuries.
“The busy summer months in the construction industry are upon us, and now is the time to ensure that workers and employers understand what is required to prevent falls,” said Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “When working at heights, everyone needs to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely.”
Michaels’ audio message can be heard at Workers’ Memorial Day Message.