Workers’ Memorial Day
Workers’ Memorial Day is a holiday observed worldwide on April 28th. Also known as International Workers’ Memorial Day, this holiday serves as a remembrance for all those workers who have been maimed, injured, disabled, made sick, or killed by their job.
It’s a day to highlight the unsafe working conditions that some workers have to endure and to address the need for more workplace safety measures to be implemented to keep workers safe. Although this holiday is used to raise public awareness about the need for better workplace safety improvements, in reality, organizations are pushing for workplace safety all year long.
In most countries around the world, Workers’ Memorial Day is not a public holiday, although it is widely observed. In Gibraltar, however, it is a public holiday, so it’s a day off for the general population. It’s also a day on which schools and most businesses are closed. If April 28th falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be observed as a public holiday.
The History of Workers’ Memorial Day
This holiday was first created in 1989 by the AFL-CIO. They established the holiday to honor the thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year. They placed this holiday on April 28th because that’s the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect in 1971. In Canada, this holiday was established in 1985 as the National Day of Mourning.
Workplace Injury and Deaths Facts
Below are some facts about the injuries, illnesses, and fatalities that occurred during 2019.
- In 2019, there were 5,333 fatal work injuries in the U.S. That’s up 2% from 2018.
- Approximately 40% of workplace deaths occurred in transportation incidents.
- Approximately 14% of workplace deaths were due to worker contact with equipment or objects.
Observing Workers’ Memorial Day
On this holiday, people should take the time to learn more about worker safety and then work towards lobbying for better working conditions. People can also use the hashtag #WorkersMemorialDay to spread the word about this holiday and to put pressure on politicians to pass bills that help to better protect workers in certain industries.