On December 29, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act. That law went into effect on April 28, 1971. Since 1989, in town squares and union halls, at worksites and memorials, in community after community workers and local government leaders have gathered to remember those who have lost their lives.
On this 40th Anniversary of OSHA, I will be joining elected officials and labor leaders from around our county in a ceremony to honor the 86 workers who lost their lives on the job in our state during 2010; four of those were from Snohomish County. This day is a chance for business, labor and government to reflect on how continued cooperation and diligent prevention efforts can significantly reduce workplace catastrophes.
Many workplace reforms have been implemented in the last 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, where 146 workers, most of them young immigrant women , were killed; trapped behind locked doors with no way to escape. Even with those reforms, workers still die each year cost at a cost of $20 billion dollars in the United States. Government employers are not immune from on the job deaths; eight public employees died in Washington during 2010. Often, construction workers are killed working on public works projects.
As your mayor, I am dedicated to continuing efforts to improve workplace safety, health standards and enforcement, and I urge employers everywhere to treat workers with dignity and justice and to pursue constant improvements in worker safety.
I have proclaimed April 28th, 2011 Workers Memorial Day in the City of Edmonds and invite you to join me in honoring those who die each year from occupation injuries and disease.
Mayor Mike Cooper