International Workers Memorial Day 2009

April 29, 2009

28 is International Workers Memorial Day. This is a day for honoring
the loss of workers worldwide who are injured and killed on the job as
well as those who suffer injury or sickness due to unsafe working
conditions, industrial accidents and abusive management practices.

It is also a time to rededicate ourselves to the struggles for
workplace safety and health, for environmental protection, for just
compensation, medical coverage for all and protection for immigrant
workers who often receive the most dangerous and deadly jobs or are
forced to work without even basic safety tools, equipment, and training.

The International Labour Organization,
the international body of the United Nations that addresses issues of
work and workers rights released a report yesterday that reveals key
facts about workers safety and health worldwide:

  • The ILO estimates that each year about 2.3 million men and women
    die from work-related accidents and diseases including close to 360,000
    fatal accidents and an estimated 1.95 million fatal work-related
  • This means that by the end of this day nearly 1 million workers
    will suffer a workplace accident, and around 5,500 workers will die due
    to an accident or disease from their work.
  • In economic terms it is estimated that roughly four per cent of
    the annual global Gross Domestic Product, or US$1.25 trillion, is
    siphoned off by direct and indirect costs of occupational accidents and
    diseases such as lost working time, workers compensation, the
    interruption of production and medical expenses.
  • Hazardous substances cause an estimated 651,000 deaths, mostly in
    the developing world. These numbers may be greatly under-estimated due
    to inadequate reporting and notification systems in many countries.
  • Data from a number of industrialized countries show that
    construction workers are three to four times more likely than other
    workers to die from accidents at work.
  • Occupational lung disease in mining and related industries
    arising from asbestos, coal and silica exposure is still a concern in
    developed and developing countries. Asbestos alone claims about 100,000
    deaths every year and the figure is rising annually.

The picture is often grim for workers around the world as well as hear
in the United States. This Workers Memorial Day, we take a moment to
remember those who have passed and encourage everyone to fight to make
work safefor you, for your families, your neighbors and the

For more on Workers Memorial Day, visit the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
or read the annual ‘Death
on the Job’
report  prepared by the AFL-CIO.

Photo: billjacobus1
under Creative Commons Attribution license


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