Workers Memorial Day 2010
Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645
April 22, 2010
Workers Memorial Day 2009 2010 also will commemorate the thirty-ninth anniversary of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor.
STATEMENT BY JOHN HOWARD, M.D.,
DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH),
FOR WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY 2010
On Workers Memorial Day, April 28, we honor men and women who have suffered job-related injury, illness, and death. We recognize the immense toll that a loved one’s impairment or death imposes on families and communities. We rededicate ourselves to our national mission of eliminating dangerous conditions in the workplace.
Although we have made great strides collectively since the passage of historic safety and health laws in 1969 and 1970, we are still far short of victory, as the nation was reminded this month by the deaths of 29 men in the catastrophic explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. On average, more than 5,000 workers die each every year across the U.S. from fatal injuries. Some 49,000 workers are estimated to die every year from occupational illnesses that may take decades to develop after first exposure.
As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, the challenges and opportunities that we face as occupational health and safety professionals are clear:
- We must work to eliminate, once and for all, the hazards that still persist in the industries on which our economy is built. No one should suffer a job-related injury or illness.
- We must anticipate and engage the health and safety needs of the changing workplace. A rising generation of strong, capable workers is vital for America’s economic recovery and prosperity.
- We must develop and use new technologies and methodologies that will shape more rapid, more effective workplace interventions.
Scientific research is a fundamental driver of progress. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is honored to lead the strategic efforts that contribute to better recognition and understanding of occupational hazards, development and application of new preventive measures, and evaluation of those measures. We are committed to working with our diverse partners in those endeavors as wisely and as diligently as we can. In memory of the men and women who are honored on Workers Memorial Day 2010, we can do no less.