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On Workers Memorial Day, safety leaders urge greater prevention efforts

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Washington – Although the number of workplace deaths has declined over the past four decades, too many people in the United States die on the job, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said April 28 on Workers Memorial Day.

The annual commemoration day is for mourning workers who have lost their lives and for recommitting to on-the-job safety, Perez said in a statement.

“As we mourn the lives lost on the job, we must make sure workers know their rights and employers know their responsibilities. In doing so, we can prevent tragic loss and ensure every worker goes home safely at the end of every workday,” Perez said.

Several Workers Memorial Day events took place throughout the country. At the Oklahoma State Capitol, OSHA’s Oklahoma City Area Director David Bates said the 12 daily worker deaths and the millions of injuries every year are preventable through “basic” safety and health techniques. “No job is a good job unless it’s a safe job,” he said.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka likewise urged continuing efforts for safer jobs, and for employers to address hazardous conditions. He also called on lawmakers to create jobs that “ensure the dignity and safety every worker deserves.”

On the global front, the International Labor Organization on April 28 commemorated World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The agency encouraged the creation of a national culture of prevention that includes respecting the right to a safe and healthy working environment, and active participation from stakeholders.

“Each and every one of us can contribute to the prevention of occupational deaths, injuries and diseases,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in a statement. “Together we can build a culture of prevention on occupational safety and health.”