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Think of the seventeen Kansas workers who never came home in 2023

Vaseline 2 months ago

On Workers Memorial Day, April 28, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration remembers and honors all workers who have lost their lives due to injury, illness or disease on the job. As we remember the fallen, we reflect on the lasting impact these fatalities have had on families, friends, colleagues and communities at large, and we mourn with them all.

In fiscal year 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the workplace fatalities of 17 workers in Kansas. These fatalities occurred across a wide range of industries, including construction and general industry.

Unfortunately, worker fatalities in America are all too common and a tragic reminder of why better safety and health protections, and increased awareness and education about workplace hazards are critical. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 5,486 people died due to workplace injuries in 2022.

These tragedies are compounded by the knowledge that most workplace fatalities can be prevented if employers follow required safety standards, have the right controls in place, and make safety and health programs a priority. Good jobs change lives. And good jobs are safe jobs.

A safe workplace is not a privilege; it is the right of every employee. On Workers Memorial Day and throughout the year, we must work together to ensure that employers embrace safety and health as a core value in their operations, so that every worker goes home safely every day.

We must remember that each of us has a role to play. If you are aware of or witness hazards in the workplace, or if you feel unsafe at work, do not ignore the hazards. Speak up, share your concerns with your employer and warn your colleagues when you see them exposed to dangers. If nothing changes, contact your local OSHA office. Reports can be made confidentially.

As we honor the workers who cannot come home on Workers Memorial Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that no one sacrifices their life for a paycheck.

Todd Underwood is regional director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Wichita, Kansas