Workers’ Memorial Day


Breathing Life into the Importance
of Safety on April 28

Each year on April 28 we observe Workers’ Memorial Day. But do you know its origin and true purpose? Here are five things you should know about why we stand in solidarity and remembrance of those lost due to unsafe work conditions and why we fight for continuous improvements in the health and safety of our workplaces.

  1. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was signed into law by President Nixon, it became the responsibility of employers to ensure they provide a safe and healthful environment for their workers.
  2. To help promote and enforce workplace safety, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) declared April 28, 1970 as the first annual Workers' Memorial Day.
  3. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which focuses on health and safety for America's workforce, was established by Congress one year later on April 28,1971.
  4. In addition to OSHA, which is part of the United States' Department of Labor, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission were formed.
  5. International Workers' Memorial Day is observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and is recognized as a national day in many countries.

Safety: By the Numbers

  • Since 1970 the U.S. workforce has doubled with more than 130 million workers at approximately 7.2 million work sites.
  • Yet, the standards, regulations and guidelines in place have dropped fatality and injury rates nearly 60 percent.
  • Approximately one person dies every 10 minutes from hazardous working conditions.
  • Nearly 3.7 million work injuries were reported in 2015, but it's suspected that up to 11.1 million actually occurred.
  • North Dakota and Wyoming saw the highest fatality rates in 2015, each with nearly double the deaths of next highest state.
  • Take Action. Speak Out. Join the Movement.

Events are held worldwide every year to honor individuals and families affected by preventable work-related accidents.

Visit or to search for a Workers' Memorial Day gathering near you.

Want to work safer but not sure where to start?

Become a member of the Great Plains Safety and Health Organization and receive a free new member audit and a plan for protecting your most valuable resource – your workforce. As a part of your membership you'll receive monthly safety posters, our weekly Safety Speaks print outs and timely safety updates via email to promote safety with your team. Other benefits include: discounts on safety activities, cost-effective customized training and information about our annual conference.