April 28, 2023
For Immediate Release: April 28, 2023
Maine Dept. of Labor Commemorates Workers Memorial Day
At least 20 Maine workers died while either on the job, traveling to or from the job, or as a result of an injury or illness connected to their work in 2022.
MAINE - April 28 is nationally recognized as Workers Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have died on, or as a result of, their job.
"In 2022, at least 20 Maine workers died while either on the job, traveling to or from the job, or as a result of an injury or illness connected to their work," Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "We mourn each of these lost lives, we reflect on the impact their loss has on their families and communities, and we recommit ourselves to our duty to protect the workers of Maine. Safety is everyone's business, and everyone deserves to go home to their families at the end of the day."
Today is also the fifty-second anniversary of the federal Occupational Safety & Health Act going into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job. This was following decades of tragic and preventable losses of American workers lives.
In 1970, it is estimated, around 14,000 American workers were killed on the job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2021, the last year for which there is a complete record, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States.
While an improvement from 1970, this is a fatal work injury rate of 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, an increase from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE in 2020 and up from the 2019 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5. The 3.6 fatal occupational injury rate in 2021 represents the highest annual rate since 2016, and means that in the U.S. a worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021.
The Maine Department of Labor works to evolve with the needs of todays workers and employers. Some steps the Department takes to improve workplace safety and health are:
- Hold classes through the SafetyWorks! Training Institute to help employers and workers learn how to use equipment safely and correctly
- Provide no-cost safety consultations for employers
- Increase awareness through messaging and publications about workplace hazards
- Collect data on deaths and injuries in order to see trends
- Administer the Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program (SHARP) and Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE) to promote workplace safety and health
- Collaborate with other agencies, from federal partners such as OSHA to local industry alliances, to provide Maines employers with information, guidance, and access to training resources to protect workers
The Department encourages any employer or worker who has questions or concerns about workplace safety to reach out to the Workplace Safety and Health Division, 207-623-7900.
For more information on Maines SafetyWorks! Training Institute and how to sign up for no-cost consultations and trainings, visit: https://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/
For more information on Workers Memorial Day events and initiatives happening nationwide, visit: https://www.osha.gov/workers-memorial