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Oregon OSHA, 350 Winter Street NE Room 430, Salem, Oregon 97301-3878

Contact information:
Melanie Mesaros
Oregon OSHA

For immediate release:
April 12, 2012
Elana Guiney
Oregon AFL-CIO
Fallen Oregon workers to be remembered April 26
Workers Memorial Day to be observed

(Salem) – Workers who died on the job in Oregon will be remembered with a ceremony in the state capital. Oregon's Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA), a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and the Oregon AFL-CIO, representing workers from across Oregon, invite all Oregonians to attend the Workers Memorial Day observance on Thursday, April 26, 2012, at noon. The event will take place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building on the Capitol Mall in Salem.

The memorial service will feature the reading of the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2011. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Barbara Byrd will also be among the speakers at the ceremony.

"In many ways, Oregon is a small state," said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. "When an Oregonian dies on the job, it reminds everyone in the community that we must continue to do more to protect each other – and we must continue to work with our employers to raise the bar and develop safer work practices that let each one of us return home at the end of the day. I hope we will see the day when there are no names to read."

The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance. It recognizes the thousands of U.S. workers who die each year on the job and the more than 1 million people in the U.S. who are injured each year at work. The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.

"Workers Memorial Day is an important opportunity to set aside the statistics for a moment and focus on the individuals," said Wood. "Whether rates go up or go down, each of the names we read at the ceremony is an individual tragedy, involving real people with real hopes and dreams for the future. It's those real stories that give the day meaning."

Through a partnership of labor, business, and government working together to improve workplace safety and health conditions in Oregon, the number of fatal workplace incidents eligible for workers' compensation benefits has been cut by roughly three-quarters since the Oregon Safe Employment Act was enacted in 1973.

The Oregon AFL-CIO represents more than 225,000 working Oregonians and their interests, including good jobs, health care, retirement security, and restoring the middle class. The Oregon AFL-CIO – A Strong Voice for Oregon's Middle Class.

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.