As we go through our day taking in the wonders around us with a disinterested eye, we often forget to take the time to remember that there were amazing people and lives that went into building the structure of the society we live in. It wasn’t that long ago that everything from the clothes we wear to the buildings we inhabit were built in highly dangerous conditions lacking the rules and regulations that serve to keep workers safe in modern industry. Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates the lives that have been given in the pursuit of modern comfort and convenience, and stands for the worldwide efforts to create safety in the workplace.

History of Workers’ Memorial Day

During the 1950’s an organization was established that stood to unite the Labor Unions in a single unified goal. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) was established in 1955, comprised of union organizations from many different nations. There were two organizations, the AFL and the CIO that came together to create this organization with the purpose of representing workers all over the world in creating a safe workplace.

In April of 1970 Workers’ Memorial Day was established to bring awareness to the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who had died just trying to get through another workday. This holiday was established in the same year that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) came into effect in the United States, an event that helped to both standardize safety protocols and create an organization that would visit sites to enforce them. It didn’t take long before this same practice was picked up and implemented in multiple industrialized countries all over the world.

How to Celebrate Workers’ Memorial Day

Celebrating Workers’ Memorial Day can be an important part of promoting safety and honoring those who have given their lives to the job. Whether you work in a simple manufacturing facility or in the far more dangerous fields that require you to put your life on the line in a daily basis, you can spread awareness of the OSHA requirements that govern your industry. If you’ve had workers die on the job, spend some time to remember them and share their stories (and what mistakes may have cost them their lives) as a cautionary tale to your co-workers, but also as a way to motivate people to report unsafe conditions and get management involved in resolving them. Everyone deserves to come home at the end of the work day, Workers’ Memorial Day reminds us of those who didn’t, and encourages us to take steps to make sure there’s less of them in the future.

Extra Information

Dates
Hashtag
Founded by
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

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