More than 100 men and women, including local Building Trades affiliates, gathered in Cleveland to remember those who lost their lives on the job.
A somber Workers’ Memorial Day service was held between Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field on April 28 to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, when employers became responsible for the safe and healthful working conditions of their employees. OSHA works to enforce these conditions, while also offering training, education and other assistance to keep employees safe.
According to Howie Eberts, Area Director of OSHA’s Cleveland Office, when OSHA was created in 1970, an average of 38 workers lost their lives each day in the U.S. Today, the number of those who lose their lives at work has dropped to an average of 12 per day, a number which he says is still too high.
During the service, Taps was played after Eberts read the names of the 14 men and women who lost their lives while at work in the past year within the Cleveland OSHA District.
Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski spoke about how his members have the best safety training available and yet, members may not always follow that training, which has resulted in workplace fatalities.
He told the audience that all it takes is more care and preparation. He also urged members to slow down and not hurry.
“Think back to all your training,” said Wondolowski. “We can’t afford to lose anyone else.”
Tim Linville, Chief Executive Officer of the Construction Employers Association, said the signatory contractors the CEA represents are only as good as their workers and that successful companies treat their employees as people, not numbers.
“Our people go out there every day, day-in and day-out in the northeast weather, including conditions like today, and build our communities,” said Linville. “We are committed to protecting them.”
Following the service, union members, including many affiliated with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, attended the Indians game against the Seattle Mariners. They also walked in an on-field parade around the warning track prior to the first pitch.