On Monday, April 28, organizations and governments worldwide commemorated workers who have died or been injured, disabled, or made sick due to unsafe and unhealthy workplaces. In the United States, April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, and the anniversary of the establishment of OSHA in 1971. In Canada, April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. The International Labour Organization (ILO) recognizes April 28 as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
“Since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act more than four decades ago, we’ve made great strides in making workplaces safer and healthier,” AIHA® President Barbara J. Dawson, CIH, CSP, said in a statement. “However, our efforts to improve occupational health and safety will not be complete until all workers are able to return home safe and healthy at the end of each day.”
In a blog post published on Friday, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels, Ph.D., highlighted the agency’s outdated permissible exposure limits and workplace hazards that he called “silent killers,” such as airborne chemicals and fine particles of dust.
“In the near future, we will be calling on employers, unions, workers, safety and health professionals and researchers to engage in a conversation on how to better protect workers from these serious chemical hazards,” Michaels wrote.
OSHA also released a downloadable poster for Workers’ Memorial Day 2014.
ILO announced that the focus of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work was the use of chemicals at work. The organization issued a report that provides information on the current use of chemicals, their impact in workplaces and the environment, and strategies to achieve the sound management of chemicals in the workplace.
The following links provide more information about Workers’ Memorial Day 2014: