Worker Memorial Day 2016: Names, Faces, Places, Data

If only The Pump Handle had a crew of correspondents to report from the many Worker Memorial Day events held this past week. If you attended a Worker Memorial Day event, I’m calling on you to share some highlights from it in the comment section below.

I spent time in Houston, TX where Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City Council issued a proclamation to remember workers who were killed, injured, or made ill because of their jobs. Our event featured remarks by Mr. Joseph Reyna, whose son Steven Reyna died in November 2015 while working for Atlantic Coffee Solutions, four workers from La Espiga De Oro, and a representative of the Seafarers International Union in memory of the 33-person crew of the El Faro who perished at sea in November 2015.

Among my favorite part of Worker Memorial Day are the excellent reports prepared by local and national organizations, including MassCOSH (here), South Florida COSH (here), and National COSH (here.)  MassCOSH’s report impressed me with profiles on the occupational health and safety problems faced today by US workers, from climate-change effects, to guns and trouble with “worksite wellness” programs. The South Florida COSH report makes a special point to provide state-specific data on the hazards and industries in which Florida workers are harmed. National COSH's report was enhanced by 10 attention-grabbing infographics. A Worker Memorial Day report for the Houston, TX area, which I co-authored, is available in both English (here) and Spanish (here). It features the names and circumstances of 63 Houston-area workers who were killed on-the-job in 2015, including photos for 33 of them.

I credit the AFL-CIO’s Peg Seminario for starting the tradition of Worker Memorial Day reports. Their annual Death on the Job (DOTJ) report marks its 25th anniversary this year. It is the go-to compendium for national and state-level OHS data. Complementing the AFL-CIO’s report are eye-catching infographics like this one:

AFL Info graphic

Some of the biggest Worker Memorial Day events take place outside the U.S.  Hazards magazine and the International Trade Union Confederation provides information about many of them. For example, here's a photo from a rally in Istanbul:


I’m calling on readers of The Pump Handle to share some highlights in the comment section below from the Worker Memorial Day event(s) you attended this past week.

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Wyoming's fatality rate in 2014 was the worst in the nation, nearly four time the national rate. We've got a long way to go.