When the nation first observed Workers Memorial Day in 1970, an estimated 38 U.S. workers suffered fatal on-the-job injuries each day, according to the Department of Labor, and many more endured debilitating respiratory diseases and other life-altering illnesses related to workplace exposures.

Today, that number has been cut by more than half, to about 15 people losing their lives on the job. In 2022, a reported 5,486 workers suffered fatal injuries, an increase of 296 worker deaths from 2021.

This year, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration will again remind the nation that protecting workers is critical. To that end, families, friends, co-workers and the larger community will gather nationwide on Sunday, April 28, for Workers Memorial Day events to honor people who didn’t come home at the end of their shift.

“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,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. 

“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,” Parker added. “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.”

Workers Memorial Day in Iowa in 2007.To commemorate Workers Memorial Day, the department will host a week-long series of events from April 22-25 to educate employers on the importance of safe and healthy workplaces. The series will culminate with an in-person — and nationally live-streamed — event at 1 p.m. EDT at its Washington headquarters. OSHA and MSHA leaders will join AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Stacy Sebald with the United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, whose 19-year-old son Mitchell McDaniel suffered fatal injuries in an agriculture incident in 2019.

“We come together on Workers Memorial Day to remember those we have lost in workplace accidents and to prevent work-related illnesses,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. 

“At MSHA, we know a safe workplace isn’t a privilege – it’s every miner’s right,” Williamson added. “It is in the memory of fallen workers that we continue to advocate for each miner’s safety, health and dignity.”

Learn more about Workers Memorial Day events nationwide and view the April 25 livestream HERE.

Photo at left: A Workers Memorial Day event in Iowa in 2007. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Join OSHA and MSHA representatives, families, workers, labor unions, advocates and others to remember the lives lost and raise awareness of workplace safety to help prevent future tragedies. Find a local Workers Memorial Day event HERE.