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April 28, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2014 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009
Commissioner of Labor reminds businesses to take advantage of programs that protect workers.
AUGUSTA—In 2013, 22 Maine workers died while at work. Thousands of others were injured.
“April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day around the world, and we pause today to remember those workers who died on the job,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Every worker should arrive home safely at the end of each work day. Maine has a strong commitment to ensuring the safety of its workers through the Department of Labor’s no-cost program that helps businesses be safer places to work.”
Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette stated, “Each person we lose on the job reminds us that everyone deserves to work in a safe place. Workers’ Memorial Day is an important day for the families who have lost a loved one and for workers who have been injured at work.”
“I am proud of Maine’s proven track record and leadership in workplace safety, but we can always do better,” said Commissioner Paquette. “Our goal is to have no on-the-job fatalities every year. We will continue to educate employers and the public on preventable workplace hazards.”
Paquette added, “Preventing injuries on the job not only protects Maine people, it saves Maine employers money that they can put into growing their businesses and hiring more workers. SafetyWorks! provides free services and materials to public and private employers as well as workers. We provided more than 750 on-site safety consultations and trained 8,650 workers last year at no cost to the employer or workers.”
In 2013, Maine continued to lead the New England region in the number of businesses certified under the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), a voluntary protection program that recognizes private-sector employers who have exemplary safety and health programs and have injury rates below the national average for their classification. Maine leads the region with 68 SHARP locations. Fewer than 2,000 worksites in the United States have earned SHARP certification.
In addition to SHARP, Maine’s sister program, SHAPE, recognizes public-sector employers. Forty-four employers have been recognized under the SHAPE program, including five complete towns, as well as individual fire departments, public works departments, schools and other town departments.
Employers interested in learning more about the SHARP and SHAPE designation should contact SafetyWorks! at 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or www.safetyworksmaine.com . SafetyWorks! is not OSHA and cannot issue fines or citations to private businesses. While SafetyWorks! helps businesses of any size, priority is given to small businesses.
More information on workplace safety, including the 2013 report, “Dying Alone on the Job,” and other reports and searchable data on workplace injuries, is available from the department’s Bureau of Labor Standards at http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_stats/research.html .