Pausing to Reflect on Workers’ Memorial Day
At the Law Office of John J. Sheehan, a major part of our practice focuses on representing individuals who have been injured at work. In the worst of situations, we also represent the families of workers who have suffered fatal injuries on the job. While these cases are undeniably tragic, we are passionate about helping our clients through their most difficult times – and we take pride in fighting for the compensation that they simply are not equipped to recover on their own.
It is with this background that we pause to reflect on an important day of observance: Workers’ Memorial Day. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has designated April 28 as Workers’Memorial Day in order to recognize the suffering of families who lose loved ones to job-related accidents, and to re-energize workers, employers, and community leaders to take action to promote workplace safety. This is an important message that bears the will of anyone willing to lend a voice to the cause of avoiding unnecessary workplace injuries and fatalities.
Facts and Statistics on Workplace Fatalities
The statistics on workplace fatalities are stark: 4,585 workers were killed on the job in 2013. This means that, on average, more than twelve workers die every day of the year as a result of job-related injuries and illnesses. These are deaths that can – and should – be avoided.
It goes without saying that these deaths have immediate and lasting financial and emotional impacts on the families that these workers leave behind. Fortunately, under both U.S. and Massachusetts law, in most circumstances these families are entitled to receive workers’ compensation death benefits from their loved one’s employer. This is true regardless of whether or not the employer was at fault in the incident that caused the worker’s death.
These death benefits can provide financial relief for families struggling to get by without their loved ones’ income, but they are limited by law. These limits are placed in exchange for the “no fault” system that allows recovery for all work-related injuries and deaths. However, many workplace fatalities result from dangerous tools and machinery, negligent driving, and other forms of third-party negligence. When this is the case, workers’ families may be able to recover compensation for all of their financial and emotional losses.
Observing Workers’ Memorial Day 2015
On April 28, 2015, organizations across the country took time to observe Workers’ Memorial Day. Here in Massachusetts, OSHA’s Springfield Area Office held a ceremony at Northampton City Hall followed by a commemorative march down Main Street. An OSHA officer read the names of all of the Massachusetts workers who lost their lives on the job over the past year.
The unions of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) observed Workers’ Memorial Day as well. This year, the AFL-CIO also published a number of useful resources on its website, including a Fact Sheet that you can use to promote workplace safety throughout the year and plan for next year’s observance.
Did you do anything to recognize Workers’ Memorial Day 2015? If so, we’d love to hear your story.
Experienced Representation for Victims of Job-Related Injuries
Massachusetts native John J. Sheehan and the team of attorneys in our Boston law office have decades of experience representing clients in workers’ compensation and personal injury matters. We have recovered millions of dollars through settlements and litigation. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury, call us at 877-762-9510 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.