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Workers Memorial Day 2013

Posted on Apr 25, 2013
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Workers Memorial Day Event in Oakland Honors Those Who Died at Work in 2012: Event and annual report mark the 26th anniversary of Workers Memorial Day in the United States

Oakland, CA – Eva Macias thrived for 13 years working at the San Leandro Waste Management recycling and transfer plant. On June 18, 2012, she was hit by a front-end loader and killed. Overly informal driving rules, insufficient training, and lack of a traffic control system were to blame, according to Cal/OSHA.

46-year-old Anita Paratley was one of more than 12 female San Francisco firefighters in the Richmond district to be diagnosed with breast cancer. She began to wonder if her work was related. “When you don’t see the heat and the smoke dies down, you think you’re safe,” she says. But, the process of cleaning up and checking for hot spots after the fire takes several hours, and all the while, workers are exposed to hazardous gases and soot as materials smolder.

These and other stories are profiled in Worksafe’s third annual report, Dying at Work in California: The Hidden Stories Behind the Numbers (PDF), which tallies the costs of job-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses, puts a human face on the assembled data, and offers recommendations for a path forward.

The report will be released at a Workers Memorial Day gathering sponsored by Worksafe and the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP). We will hear from families of killed and injured workers, their representatives, and special guests. The event commemorates those we’ve lost and emphasizes ongoing workplace health and safety issues – issues that caused an estimated 195 work-related fatalities in California last year.

- Report available for download: Click here (PDF) -

What: Workers Memorial Day Commemoration, sponsored by Worksafe and LOHP
When: Friday, April 26th from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: The California Endowment – Oakland Conference Center, Laurel Room
1111 Broadway, 7th Floor |Oakland, CA 94607

“In our report, we list 195 California workers who died in 2012, but we know that number is low,” says Worksafe Managing Attorney and Interim Executive Director Jora Trang. “Even so, it’s 195 too many. Workers Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor these lives cut short, and a call to action. These tragedies can and must be prevented.”

LOHP Director Mike Wilson agrees. Commenting on his work with a community collaborative formed after the Chevron Refinery fire in Richmond, he notes, “These so-called accidents are not accidents at all. They’re what happens when an industry doesn’t pay attention to safety, when managers let money trump safety.” The collaborative’s ongoing efforts to improve health, safety, and environmental practices are also profiled in the report.

Copies of the report will be available at the event, and a digital version will be made available online on Friday, April 26. Advanced copies are available to press upon request.

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Worksafe is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting people from job-related hazards and empowering them to advocate for the right to a safe and healthy workplace. For more information, visit www.worksafe.org.

The Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) is a public service program of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health that educates and empowers workers and communities to take an active role in making workplaces safe, healthy, dignified, and just. For more information, visit www.lohp.org.

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