On Wednesday families of Hoosiers who died in work-related accidents, along with Governor Mitch Daniels, Lori Torres of the Indiana Department of Labor, Linda Hamilton of the Workers’ Compensation Board and Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott, gathered in the Statehouse rotunda to observe Workers’ Memorial Day and remember the 91 Indiana workers killed on the job in 2009.
According to the Indiana Department of Labor, there were 132 work-related deaths in Indiana in 2008, and the workplace fatality rate was 4.1 per 100,000 Hoosier workers. The top three industries with workplace fatalities in Indiana were construction, agriculture and manufacturing.
Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott told the crowd gathered in the Statehouse:
It’s clear that workers’ safety and health remain in serious and unacceptable danger. Indiana’s working families need good, safe jobs now. So we’re here to remember and honor those workers who have paid the ultimate price and to call on Congress to create jobs and strengthen job safety laws.
Sally Voland, president of Kids’ Chance Indiana, discussed the opportunity for children whose parent was injured or killed in a work-related accident to receive financial aid for college through the Kids’ Chance scholarship program.
Held annually on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day recognizes and remembers workers who have been injured or killed on the job. April 28 was chosen as the observance day because it marks the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA).
US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued a statement on today’s observance, which began:
Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones once said, ‘Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.’ That call to arms rings especially true today, on Workers Memorial Day, and on the heels of a tragic month for the nation’s working families.
The AFL-CIO reported that in 2008, 14 U.S. workers were killed each day as a result of job hazards. More than 4 million U.S. workers were injured on the job, while 5,214 workers were killed. There were 50,000 to 60,000 deaths resulting from occupational diseases reported nationally in 2008.