“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, famous US labor leader.
Today is Worker's Memorial Day. Today (April 28) in 1971 OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) became Federal law. The OSH Act provides standards that should be used to protect the lives of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives when they go to work. Sadly though with the safety standards in the OSH Act, which should protect us while we are at work, thousands of workers still die or are injured on the job each year. There are many reasons why standards aren't followed, “it's too expensive to put in a proper guard, just be careful”, and “it takes too long to fully power down the machine, it’ll only take a minute”. “Just be careful” and “it’ll only take a minute” are seemingly harmless words but they do nothing to protect you from getting injured or killed while you’re working on the job.
Unfortunately there were four UAW members who were killed on the job since last Worker’s Memorial Day.
May 5, 2015 a UAW brother was killed while he was working and was crushed between filter plates. The guard that was supposed to protect him from being killed was disconnected.
May 6, 2015 a UAW brother was killed when he was pushed by the vehicle conveyor he was working near and he fell head first into metal lockers.
January 22, 2016 a UAW sister was killed on the job for the lack of a guard to keep her from getting caught in a crush point.
February 2, 2016 a UAW brother was killed from injuries he sustained from a fall.
All of these union brothers and sister died on the job. They left behind loved ones and no reason for why they had to die on the job. These deaths are only four deaths out of the thousands of workers who die on the job each year. There were 4,821 deaths in 2014, the latest year with final results. Here is a link for the 2016 AFL-CIO report of worker health in the United States. See the AFL-CIO link below.
So what are you going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you or your union brother or sister? Please think about your family before you perform a seemingly safe job. Maybe even ask yourself this question before performing a seemingly safe job, would you want your son or daughter, wife or husband to do this job that you might believe is safe? Please work safe for your family’s sake. Know the safe job procedure for your job. If there is something that needs to be fixed or there is something you believe is unsafe inform your supervisor of your concerns and be active in trying to find a solution to the issue. Remember you are the first line of defense in your safety, be active with your safety and with the safety of those around you. Here is a link to the OSHA website that is very helpful with knowing your safety rights in the workplace. See the OSHA link below