NSC Business and Industry Division news NSC Construction and Utilities Division news NSC Labor Division news Federal agencies Statistics

Workers Memorial Day: Agencies mourn, AFL-CIO releases report

Photo: OSHA

Washington — OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration honored fallen workers this week – ahead of Workers Memorial Day, which takes place April 28. 

This year’s events culminated with a wreath-laying ceremony April 25 at the Frances Perkins Building, home to the Department of Labor.

“As we honor our fallen workers on Workers Memorial Day, we must remember that behind each workplace fatality there are loved ones enduring unimaginable grief,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in a press release. “It is for the lost workers and those left behind that we continue to fight for every worker’s right to a safe working environment. Our mission at OSHA is to ensure that when someone leaves for work, they know they’ll come home safe at the end of the day to the arms of their families and loved ones.”

The agencies’ scheduled events began April 22 with OSHA’s virtual Awareness Conference. The following day, OSHA and MSHA hosted virtual sessions focused on the family members of fallen workers, as well as post-incident mental health and other topics. On April 24, the agencies hosted a Workers Memorial Expo, which featured presentations from different agencies and organizations.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO has released its annual Death on the Job report. The labor federation’s report states that 344 workers died every day in 2022 because of hazardous working conditions and an estimated 120,000 died of a work-related disease.

Overall, 5,486 workers were killed on the job in 2022, the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was an increase from 5,190 deaths in 2021. The job fatality rate also increased to 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 per 100,000 in 2021.

“Despite workers’ hard-won safety and health rights, this report shows the fight is far from over,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a press release. “Too many workers face retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions or injuries, while low penalties fail to deter employers from following the law.”

The report also emphasizes that Latino and Black workers are dying at disproportionate rates. “Black workers are facing the highest job fatality rates in nearly 15 years and Latino workers continue to face the greatest risk of dying on the job, compared to all other workers,” the press release states.

Adds AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond: “This report exposes an urgent crisis for workers of color and reaffirms what we’ve long known: When we talk about justice for workers, we must prioritize racial equity.”

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)