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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

SWCOEH commemorates Workers Memorial Day, striving to improve workplace safety and health

HOUSTON (April 28, 2022) – The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) is supporting Workers Memorial Day, observed annually on April 28 as an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

April 28 is the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect, and when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed (April 28, 1971).

“Workers Memorial Day is the day we pay respect to all who became ill, got injured, disabled, or lost their lives while doing their job to support their families,” said Dr. David Gimeno, Center Director and Occupational Epidemiology Program Director for the SWCOEH. “The impact these tragic losses have on families, co-workers, and communities is unacceptable. At the SWCOEH, this day is a day to reinforce our commitment to improving the working conditions and the health and well-being for all workers.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration, on average, 13 workers die as a result of workplace injuries every day in the U.S. While far fewer than before the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 laid the foundation to better protect worker safety and health, the nation continues to confront the enormous challenge of making sure every worker ends their shift safely.

“Workers Memorial Day serves to remind us that we have much work to do” said Dr. Robert Emery, a SWCOEH faculty member and head of the safety program at UTHealth. “While great progress has been made since 1970, we must re-double our efforts towards the goal of helping everyone go home each day as healthy and as safety as they arrived.”

To mark the observance, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will join with OSHA and some of those scarred by workplace tragedies at the department’s headquarters in Washington on April 28 for an online national Workers Memorial Day ceremony at Noon CDT.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance to employers as well as to workers directly.

The SWCOEH provides a variety of graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®.