Workers Memorial Day Statement by Christine M. Branche, Ph.D., Acting Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645
April 23, 2009
Workers Memorial Day serves a somber but necessary purpose: “Never forget.” Remember and honor those who have died on the job. Do not let their memories fade. Find inspiration to redouble our efforts to keep the living both safe and healthy at work.
On Workers Memorial Day 2009, as the nation strives to recover from the present economic crisis, it is also important to note that the human benefits of occupational safety and health are intertwined with benefits for our economy and our social fabric. Proven strategies to help keep working men and women whole and healthy are integral to economic recovery and our national reinvestment in America’s future, as these examples suggest:
- Operating a safe and healthy workplace helps businesses to stay profitable and competitive – a must in today’s economic climate.
- Preventing the death, disability, or impairment of a mother or father averts a loss that can disrupt a working family’s economic security and emotional stability.
- As new technologies and industries emerge with promise for fueling present recovery and future prosperity, good stewardship in safety and health will be key for avoiding potential unintended consequences, and for fostering wise investment and growth.
- Preventing injuries and illnesses that result in costly medical treatment and insurance bills, supporting a robust health-care workforce for today, and helping to train tomorrow’s skilled providers – all are vital needs in health-care reform. All involve substantial occupational safety and health components.
It is as true today as it was in 1971, when the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) opened its doors, that scientific research is crucial for meeting the nation’s safety and health needs. In the 38 years since then, and in the 20 years since the first Workers Memorial Day, our efforts have helped to drive great advancements in worker protection. However, as we are reminded by Workers Memorial Day 2009, much more remains to be done.
NIOSH is proud to strive with our diverse partners to meet this challenge. We remember the victims of workplace death with sorrow, and we look forward to a better future in which no one dies from job-related causes.