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Solemn Reminder of Need for Workplace Safety in Ohio

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Monday, April 28, 2014   

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Many Ohioans work in dangerous situations and each year, dozens lose their lives in workplace-related accidents. For Workers' Memorial Day, ceremonies around Ohio and across the nation today will honor the thousands who have died, as well as those who have been injured on the job.

Mike Gillis, communications director, AFL-CIO in Ohio, said family members, workers, and local leaders will gather to pay their respects.

"They're very solemn occasions. It's something that we take very seriously," Gillis said. "We take the time here at these events to memorialize those who've lost their lives and also to fight for those who still need a safe workplace."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 154 fatal occupational injuries in Ohio in 2012. An estimated 5,000 workers die on the job in the U.S. each year, and tens of thousands more die from illnesses they contracted at work. The construction industry accounts for 19 percent of the fatalities, with falls as the leading cause.

Worker's Memorial Day is held in part to recognize the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in 1970. Gillis said today they will also focus on the importance of collective bargaining in establishing and maintaining workplace safety.

"That's one thing people really do not realize," he explained. "Oftentimes, workplace safety standards are negotiated through collective bargaining, and that happens outside of the government and other government agencies that might otherwise be enforcing workplace safety."

A measure that would have restricted collective bargaining in 2011 was overturned in Ohio, but Gillis warned of attempts to bring similar measures back.

Events today are being held in Cincinnati, Canton and Lorain.





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